Why do some prayers go unanswered -- even fervent, heartfelt requests for another's well being? Does our prayer truly influence God, or is its real purpose to change the one praying? As Calvin College professor David Crump probes Scripture for answers to questions like these, he never strays far from his own personal and pastoral experience in order to remind us what's at stake. Too many Christians, he says, lose faith in the promises of the New Testament ('ask and ye shall receive,' 'faith like a grain of mustard seed can move mountains') by reading passages in isolation and out of context. Starting with Jesus' Gospel pronouncements, followed by key passages in Acts and the Pauline letters, Crump explores the intimate dynamics of petitionary prayer and how a personal God responds. Through careful and detailed exegesis, he dispels the notion that unanswered prayer indicates lack of faith or persistence in the petitioner. Likewise, despite his Reformed perspective, he rejects the claim that all outcomes are foreordained by God, which reduces prayer to a mere spiritual exercise that conforms us to God's will. Eschewing tidy answers and uplifting anecdotes, this book offers insight, encouragement, and clarity to any Christian who has ever struggled with prayer in the midst of tragedy. 345 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
How are we to understand petitionary prayer? This is a key question for any thoughtful believer who desires to take both the Bible and experience seriously. Some believe God answers any prayer as long as the one praying has enough faith and/or persistence. Others conclude from experience that prayer is really for our benefit and has no impact on God's actions. According to David Crump, both views are extreme and potentially harmful.
While books that deal with prayer from a devotional or experiential perspective have their value, "Knocking on Heaven's Door "takes a different approach. Crump carefully studies every New Testament passage that has to do with petitionary prayer and draws conclusions that are both theological and pastoral to help us understand the great mystery of prayer.