Why Believers Struggle With Prayer: A Q&A With Thomas R. Yeakley

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
Praying over God's Promises:
The Lost Art of Taking Him at His Word
By Thomas R. Yeakley

From your years of helping grow disciples in the areas of faith and prayer, why do people struggle so much with Prayer?

There are probably several reasons why many believers struggle with the personal discipline of prayer – both spiritual and practical. Spiritually, our adversary knows the power we have when praying in the name of Jesus and according to His will. Thus, he will do everything he can to discourage or distract us from this powerful exercise of faith. Practically, it can sometimes be difficult to connect the activity of prayer with results in our life, especially when answers are long in coming. That's why the promises are so essential for our prayer life. They provide anchors of hope and reference points when He does answer according to what He has promised.

How can we balance the tension between praying and trusting God vs. doing something for myself?

When I speak on the subject of faith and praying over God's promises inevitably I'm asked, "Are you saying that all I have to do is pray and ask and God will do it?" The answer is an unequivocal, "No, that's not what I'm saying!" We are commanded to pray about everything (Phil. 4:6-7) and live a life of complete faith and trust in God our loving, Heavenly Father. And yet, we still have to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12), but He works in us "both to will and to act according to His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13). Life is both work and faith in Him. But when God delivers on His promises, we don't praise our hard work, for even our ability to think and act finds it ultimate source in Him. Rather, we praise Him for His answers and faithfulness, for He alone is worthy.

What makes Praying Over God's Promises different from other books on Prayer?

There are certainly a multitude of wonderful, helpful books on the subject of prayer. Why add another to the volumes already published? I believe that the unique contribution of this work lies in two areas. First, this book seeks to motivate and provide practical help in a challenging personal discipline (prayer) by helping the reader discover how to unleash the power of God through praying over His Scriptural promises. Secondly, when we discover the connection between praying in faith over God's promises we will develop testimonies of God's faithfulness that will demonstrate to an unbelieving world that He is the one true, living God.

I'm not suggesting that the Lord will always say "yes" when we pray over His promises (even Jesus was told "no" three times during His prayer in the Garden), but we will know God in a new, intimate way and His faithfulness will astound and amaze us. Psalm 119:140 says, "Your promises have been thoroughly tested and your servant loves them."