Reviews

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Five Books for Believers Struggling with Unanswered Prayers

Chosen by Jason Hague, author of "Aching Joy: Following God through the Land of Unanswered Prayer" (NavPress).
Five Books for Believers Struggling with Unanswered Prayers

Disappointment with God

Philip Yancey

Yancey puts three troubling questions on the table, examining them with both a scholar’s eyes and a pastor’s heart: Is God unfair? Is he silent? Is he hidden? Yancey frames his answers from scriptural arguments, personal stories, and the puzzling account of Job. While the book won’t satisfy every doubt we might bring to the table, it makes a powerful case for God’s goodness in the face of mystery.

Here and Now: Living in the Spirit

Henri Nouwen

When God isn’t answering the one big question gripping our hearts, it is tempting to let that silence dominate our perspective. We would do well, then, to open our eyes to all the ways he is still present. Nouwen’s meditations in Here and Now are short, simple, and thoroughly nourishing. When I read them, my heart finds calm, and I reawaken to the small, daily blessings God provides, even here in the land of unanswered prayer.

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms

Timothy and Kathy Keller

When we are offended by God’s inaction, the psalms provide the raw language we need for prayer—language worthy of our bruised and broken hearts. Blessed with Tim and Kathy Keller’s warm, pastoral wisdom, The Songs of Jesus helps us savor the psalms in slow, small bites. As I walk through Jesus’ own songbook, I am reminded that, whether in sorrow, anger, or joy, I can entrust God with every emotion and fear.

The Road

Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy’s stark, gritty novel is not for everyone. The world has been ruined by disaster, and the surviving population is dominated by cannibals. In that setting, a man and his son wake up each day and carry on down the road. Where is God? They don’t know. Where is goodness? The boy has never seen it. So why do they push on? Because they “carry the fire.” As the reader, I am left questioning why I push on—and whether I carry hope inside my chest.

The Last Battle

C. S. Lewis

Lewis wrote plenty about pain, grief, and prayer, but this book works a deeper magic. Here, in the final Narnia installment, Lewis provides a stunning vision of eternity. It is easily the darkest book in the series, but the searing conclusion makes us remember the soaring truths of our faith: Our lives—our unanswered prayers—are a breath, but the kingdom of God is everlasting. The promise of Christ’s return is an evergreen source of hope for his followers.

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