Monday 25 November 2019

Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work - Nick Donnelly - CTS Finding God Series

Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work
CTS Finding God Series
Nick Donnelly
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784695934
CTS Booklet PA50

This is the third book in the ‘Finding God Series ‘ that I have read from the Catholic Truth Society. It is also about the 100th book from CTS that I have read over the last 2 years. I read this one with more of an academic, perspective. Because I have not had this struggle myself. I guess I was always taught God has three answers to prayer; Yes, No, and Not Right Now. And even in my times furthest from my Catholic faith I would pray Hail Mary’s an the rosary. But I know many who have gone through dry spells, and experienced difficulties in prayer so I wanted to give the book a read. In part as a resource to know about, and in part because it is an excellent series. The chapters in this small volume are:

This World was Made for Prayer
The Battle of Prayer
Our Lord Knows We Find it Hard to Pray
Famous Christians Who Had Problems Praying
What to Do When Prayer Doesn’t Work

I greatly appreciate the examples from the life of C.S. Lewis in this book. The book begins with a Lewis quote:

“The world was made partly that there might be prayer; partly that our prayers…might be answered. But let’s have finished with “partly”. The great work of art was made for the sake of all it does and is, down to curve of every wave and the flight of every insect.”
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, p.59

We are then told by Donnelly that:

“Friends suggested the book should be called, Finding God when Prayer Doesn’t Appear to Work. My approach throughout is that prayer is as important to our existence as breathing, eating, drinking and loving. The explanation for this essential role is that prayer works on many different levels in our lives and in the world, “prayer is a vital necessity” (CCC, 2744).”

He also states:

“However, we must also take absolutely seriously the pain and desperation of people whose prayers have not been answered – those who have seen their loved ones suffer and die despite their desperate prayers for help. How do we say that ‘prayer works’ to the parents of children who have suffered and died despite their bedside prayers? Or to the spouses of husbands or wives who have suffered and died despite their prayers during sleepless nights? How do we make sense of Our Lord’s teaching that the Father will always answer the prayers of his children, giving them what they need? Jesus’s parables about prayer can become a hard stumbling block to those in desperate situations whose prayers have not been answered.”

This book addresses those examples and more in a serious and direct manner. The author draws examples from friends and family. He also has a strong focus on prayer as battle or prayer as spiritual warfare. This was a book I did not think I needed to read. I read it more to keep reading the series than anything else. But what I discovered was an excellent resource for my prayer life. I am certain that any Christian who reads this book will benefit from the reading and that their prayer life will be changed. It is a book I know I will read again, and that I will read with my children when they are a little older. The author gives examples of fictional books that can serve as examples and tools in prayer. Including Michael O’Brien’s A Cry of Stone and the novels of Robert Hugh Benson. 

There is much that I learned while reading this book. This was an excellent read. And one that I really needed, even though I did not know that when I began. I look forward to reading more in the ‘Finding God Series’. But now I have three different series from CTS on the go. So many books so little time.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Nick Donnelly:
Finding God Series:

Finding God in Anger and Bitterness
Finding God in Doubt and Disbelief
Finding God When Prayer Doesn't Work
Finding God When a Loved One Loses Faith

Other Books by Nick Donelly:
Living with Illness and Suffering
Hope and Healing: Living with Illness and Suffering
Prayers for Grieving Parents: Help After a Miscarriage or Still Birth
Praying the Rosary with the Martyrs
Praying The Creed In The Year Of Faith
Praying the Rosary with the Saints

With Pope Francis Series:
Loving Mary: What Pope Francis Says
Finding Forgiveness with Pope Francis
Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis
Who Is the Devil? What Pope Francis Says
Our Journey to Christmas: With Pope Francis

Fiction by Nick Donnelly:
Ben Armstrong Adventure Series Series:
Curse of the Seawolf
Snare of the Demons
Faith of the Armstrong
Fury of the Dragons

Unattributed books cowritten\ghost written by Nick Donnelly:
Priesthood Today
Fit for Mission? Church
Fit for Mission? Schools
Fit for Mission? Marriage
Fit for Mission? A Guide

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