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Volume 99, Number 1

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Prayer — Does it Make any Difference? (continued)

Other Prayers in the Bible

Philip Yancey and Alecia Ramos
Following commencement Philip Yancey meets  2007 grad Alicia Ramos.

While working on The Student Bible my colleague and I made a selection of great prayers of the Bible, which can be read in a two-week period, one prayer a day. Some are intimate and private while others were delivered in a very public setting. Each gives an actual example of a person talking to God about an important matter and teaches something unique about prayer:

Genesis 18: Abraham’s plea for Sodom.

Exodus 15: Moses’ song to the Lord.

Exodus 33: Moses meets with God.

2 Samuel 7: David’s response to God’s promises.

I Kings 8: Solomon’s dedication of the temple.

2 Chronicles 20: Jehoshaphat prays for victory.

Ezra 9: Ezra’s prayer for the people’s sins.

Psalm 22: A cry to God for help.

Psalm 104: A prayer of praise.

Daniel 9: Daniel’s prayer for the salvation of Jerusalem.

Habakkuk 3: A prophet’s prayer of acceptance.

Matthew 6: The Lord’s prayer.

John 17: Jesus’ prayer for his disciples.

Colossians 1: Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving.

Besides teaching the “grammar” of prayer, studying the Bible affords a glimpse of the broad sweep of God’s actions in history. It gets my own life off center stage. I learn the wisdom of reviewing the big picture, of placing my own small story in the context of God’s story. I learn that I am not the only one who has wrestled with God or who has endured a time of wilderness and testing. I learn how to adore God, something that does not come naturally to me. Prayers based on the Bible help me recognize God’s voice.


Philip Yancey, Messiah College’s Commencement speaker, has written 20 books including the award-winning titles Where Is God When It Hurts?, The Student Bible, and Disappointment with God, which have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide. In addition to Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?, his most recent books are The Bible Jesus Read, Reaching for the Invisible God, Soul Survivor, and Rumors of Another World. Yancey currently serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine.

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