Monday, August 24, 2015

When I Pray What Does God Do? by David Wilkinson

Prayer is hard for many Christians. Wilkinson suggests that is because of the way we think God answers prayers. As a physicist and theologian, he shares his insights from his own journey of prayer.

Wilkinson shares his experience with prayer. He has had some surprising answers and all too often no answer. Concentrating on how we understand God, he looks at some popular myths about prayer, such as the slot machine view, the prosperity contract with God, and others. He also looks at biblical passages and what they tell us about God and prayer.

He has a good discussion on science and miracles, looking at the arguments rooted in the scientific worldview of Newton. He then discusses quantum theory and chaos theory and the arguments of Hume. He reminds us of the folly of saying that our scientific understanding rules out miracles. Scientists continue to modify laws. “It may be that some phenomena appear miraculous not because they are breaking scientific laws but simply because they reflect a deeper, truer reality that our present understanding does not reach.” (165)

Wilkinson notes that this book is not a definitive work on God and prayer. It rather reflects his own personal journey in trying to understand prayer as a scientist and Christian. His emphasis is that the key to prayer is our understanding of God. “It is not how we pray but who we pray to and how we think God can respond.” (183) Models of how God works in the universe may be developed in the future. Then again, God and his actions may always be beyond our ability to comprehend.

This book leans a bit toward the style of an academic investigation. Wilkinson does add some humor as well as personal experience, however. I recommend this book to those who are particularly interested in science and prayer. Wilkinson has done a great job of exploring the relationship between the two, often referring to previous books on the subject. I appreciated his insights.

My rating: 4 stars.

David Wilkinson is Principal of St. John's College, Durham. He has earned doctorates in both astrophysics and theology.

Lion Hudson (distributed in the U.S. by Kregel), 224 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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