Book Review: Does Prayer Change Things?

DOE03BP_200x1000Prayer is a central practice in Christianity. However, many Christians have unanswered questions about prayer. How do I pray? Why do I pray?  Today I’ll be reviewing Does Prayer Change Things? by R.C. Sproul, an entry in the Crucial Questions series.

I’ve remarked before that the CQ series books seem to fit into two broad category. The first is what might be called “Theological Questions.” That is, questions that are answered by giving a systematic theology kind of answer. The second is “Practical Questions.” These questions are those that play more into how we are to live as Christians, what we are to do.

This small booklet is a delight as it weds those two broad kinds of questions together. Sproul begins the book with a discussion of God’s immutability, and how we need to be aware of the fact that our prayers do not, and cannot, change God. They do not change his nature, his plans, or his mind. However, he carefully explains that prayer does change events. God works through means, and  it may be his plan to work through answering our prayers to accomplish a particular purpose. The question “Would X have happened if we did not pray for it?” has a real possibility to be answered with a “No.” God may not have done X had we not prayed for it. However, we must remember, an Sproul effectively communicates, that even though X may not have happened had we not prayed for, if X happened God always intended it to happen. He just intended it to happen with our prayers as one of the causes.

Another important answer to the titular question of the book is that prayer changes us. God has given us prayer as a means of sanctification. When we speak with God, we grow to know and love him more. This changes us.

Sproul the proceeds to give an exposition of the Lord’s prayer which is concise and clear. It is extremely helpful, and serves as a great primer to understanding how God would have us to pray. As a follow-up, he also discusses the popular A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) method of prayer. Finally, he explains that prayer is only effective when it is done so according to God’s will.

This small book makes a great gift for someone who is a new Christian, or is looking for a short devotional book that focuses on prayer. It would make a great addition to the church library, or in the arsenal of the pastor to give to struggling sheep.

Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.