Book Review: Ten Prayers God Alway Says Yes To by Anthony DeStefano

I open up my Lenten reading for 2008 with a book about prayer. Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To (2007) by Anthony DeStefano, despite it’s 10-step-program title, is really about simplifying one’s approach to prayer and understanding it as conversation with God.

Below are the ten prayers and some of my favorite passages from each chapter:

  1. God, Show Me That You Exist
  2. When we take the initiative by asking him a question, instead of treating him as a question, we have actually entered into a dialogue already — whether we know it or not. And dialogue — back-and-forth conversation — is the heart and foundation of any relationship (p. 13-14).

  3. God, Make Me an Instrument
  4. Christ was making a specific theological point. He was teaching us the true meaning of love. When “two or three” people are present in a particular place and a particular time, it is possible for one of those people to give himself away in love. In other words, it is possible for that person to “love his neighbor”. And it is when you love your neighbor that God is most truly and fully present (p. 29).

  5. God, Outdo Me in Generosity
  6. You can always afford to give something away — and that something should always be more than you can afford. It’s just that you shouldn’t be so extreme in your giving that it’s impossible to fulfill your other legitimate responsibilities. You should never be reckless (p. 54).

  7. God, Get Me Through This Suffering
  8. God says yes to all who come to him for help and comfort when they are in the midst of such trials. Notice I did not say that he promises to stop the suffering, or prevent it from happening in the first place, or alleviate it in any way. This may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith, but we have to face it, head-on: God allows terrible things to happen (p. 61).

  9. God, Forgive Me
  10. Forgiveness has one meaning: wishing a person the greatest possible good — which basically means wishing them salvation and heaven (p. 85).

  11. God, Give Me Peace
  12. Suffering, turmoil, conflict, and indecision are all realities, and we have to deal with them. You can’t just pray to God and expect him to make all your problems magically disappear. That’s not the way to true peace. That’s only a way of avoiding responsibility. When bad things happen to us and other people, we have a moral obligation to get involved. We have a duty to fight evil and alleviate suffering. We have a responsibility to look adversity squarely in the face and struggle against it with every fiber of our being. It’s just that in our effort to deal with these external challenges, we can’t ever allow ourselves to focus on them to exclusion of what’s most important in life — our relationship with God (p. 107).

  13. God, Give Me Courage
  14. The reason is that when we are weak, we’re in the perfect position to receive abundant graces from God. It’s when when we are filled up — with pride in our skills and natural abilities — that we have no room for God’s gifts. But when we are “empty,” there is plenty of space for God to work in. He can come in and literally pour his spirit and his power into us (p. 128).

  15. God, Give Me Wisdom
  16. When you ask God for wisdom, you are essentially asking him for the gift of himself. And as we’ve seen elsewhere in this book, that’s something he’s always eager to do. Remember, the goal of authentic spirituality is to be in union with God. That’s what the whole spiritual life comes down to. When you’re in union with God, you have direct and immediate access to all of the things that God is, and that includes peace, courage, love, wisdom, and truth. God wants you to have these things; he wants to shine his light on humanity, to speak his word unceasingly. Therefore he wants to pour out wisdom on all of us. This is not profound theological thinking, it’s simple common sense (p. 134).

  17. God, Bring Good Out of This Bad Situation
  18. Every one of your tears, every one of your weaknesses, every one of your humiliations, every one of your failures — every single bad thing that ever happens to you in life — can be transformed. Out of every advertisity, God can produce some higher good. Out of every loss, God can find some marvelous gift to give you. Out of every death, God can bring forth new life — if only you ask him.
    If you come away from this book with only one thing, let it be this: “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (p. 163).

  19. God, Lead Me to My Destiny
  20. There’s a reason that God doesn’t always tell us our destiny right away but prefers instead to reveal it to us little by little. It’s because he’s interested in not only what we’re going to accomplish but also what kind of person we’re going to be at the time we accomplish it. And sometimes the “journey” is what helps mold us into better human beings. Indeed, the journey is often what makes life enjoyable. All of the things we experience in life … can help prepare us for the greatness God has in store for us. Even the bad things … can help lead us to our destiny. God wastes nothing (p. 179).

This book is a good introduction to prayer for the newbie as well as good reminder of prayer as finding the way to the will of God.

Ireland/Britain 1998 day 22: Inverness

Passing the halfway point of my holiday, 11 February 1998 became my second vacation from vacation day. I slept late, and when I awoke I finally made it to the laundromat. Unlike Glasgow, the laundrette woman was cheerful and helpful. I also found a copying machine and a post office so I could send off the dispatch letters I was sending to all my friends (this is what we did before blogs).

The only site I took in that day was another brilliant museum The Balnain House Home of Highland Music. The exhibits included numerous video and audio stations with examples of Highland music of different styles and eras. My favorite part was the room with actual musical instruments for visitors to try out. Blowing a bagpipe is harder than it looks, and I could only make it produce a sickly moan. Two American woman Holly and Lori were there at the same time, and since they were studying music at college, they could make much nicer sounds on the instruments. Then we all jammed together playing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

In the evening I tried to take the “haunted tour” of Inverness but no one was there. I wandered about the city looking for signs of nightlife but found nothing, so I returned to the hostel and was in bed by 8:30. I awoke in the wee hours and went to the lounge to write in my journal. There I met Richard, a drunken middle-aged Scotsman who worked at the hostel and attend a local college. He cheered my up with his friendliness and compliments, and just being an all-around good-hearted guy.

Learning that I wanted to visit Loch Ness he recommended Gordon’s Minibus Tour led by a local historian and biologist who takes his groups out of the van to hike around and study the flora. This sounded like just my type of thing so I thanked Richard for planning out my next day, and went back to bed.


Be very happy that there’s no audio accompaniment to this photograph.

Bridge over River Ness

I loved the River Ness which rushed through the city with a glossy, reflective surface. The pedestrian bridge is rather bouncy which is either fun or terrifying depending on your temperament.