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Seeing things God’s way

Philip Yancey

There was “special significance” to inviting best-selling Christian author Philip Yancey back to campus, said President Kim Phipps when introducing Yancey at his April 7 lecture in Brubaker Auditorium. Between being incredibly well received when he delivered the 2007 Commencement address to writing numerous books that have “touched our souls and minds,” Phipps noted that Yancey was the perfect choice to deliver the last keynote lecture on the Centennial celebration’s calendar of events.

Power of prayer

Yancey, speaking primarily on the topic of prayer, began by examining prayers in the Bible, stating that he challenges any atheist to come up with an original argument against God that isn’t already included in a prayer in the Bible. Citing examples from the life of Job and David’s many psalms of lament, Yancey illustrates that many Biblical prayers offered by faithful believers were prayers of doubt and lament, not necessarily the “thank you, thank you” or “help me, help me” prayers that many believers and non-believers alike resort to today.  The Biblical prayers were honest and sincere—qualities, Yancey says, that God desires from his people.

Prayer is really in two parts, Yancey adds. The first is inviting God into our individual lives and the second is inviting ourselves to be involved in God’s life. Our desire, as Christians, he said, should be to Philip Yancey signaturesee things God’s way, and sometimes that means asking the Lord where and how we can join his work. Yancey noted how rock star Bono’s involvement with Africa and the AIDS epidemic was borne from spending six weeks at an orphanage in Ethiopia and crying out to the Lord to intervene in the lives of the suffering children there. Sometimes, Yancey said, we become the answer to our own prayers. And, in this case, Bono used his contacts to raise funds (more than $15 billion) and to create awareness of the crisis.

Mountaintop view of God

Much of Yancey’s understanding about prayer was realized on mountaintops, he said. An avid climber, Yancey has summited all of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. One of his more memorable experiences, he recalled, was getting stuck in a nasty storm that blew in quickly and left him and his wife huddled together amongst streaks of lightening, pounding rain, and freezing sleet.  It was then, he said, that he was reminded that he is not in control; God is.

Throughout the evening, Yancey regaled the audience with funny anecdotes, poignant memories, and faith-deepening challenges. Our ultimate goal, the very thing that should drive our prayer lives, he said, is to “make his [God’s] presence known to a world that may not even know it’s thirsty.”

See photos from the Philip Yancey lecture and book signing.

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