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  • Janyne McConnaughey, PhD

Book Review of Sorts: Divine Echoes by Mark Gregory Karris

Have you ever prayed and not had your prayer answered? Well of course. We all have. It is a fact of life that every person, but especially, every Christian must resolve within themselves. Most of the time, my resolutions to the problem of unanswered prayer were quite unsatisfactory. I had to accept that I tended to attempt to make more sense out of life than was humanly possible. I never felt like most who wrote on the topic of petitionary prayer ever really wrestled it to the mat--until I previewed this book by Mark Gregory Karris. Not far into the book, I thought, "Now this is someone who can wrestle a thought to the mat." That was so refreshing!

This was the review I wrote for the book, Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, on Amazon:

Karris thoroughly wrestles with the issues that surround traditional views on petitionary prayer. He deconstructs and reconstructs prayer through the lens of an uncontrolling God and provides a framework for ‘conspiring prayer’ in which believers join God in both relationship and action. The reader, if willing (and even if partially disagreeing), is provided a path to a paradigm shift which will enable them to embrace the uncontrolling character and power of God. This book has potential for transforming the prayers of the church and believers.

I was actually relieved. I had "met" Mark in a discussion group and volunteered to write a prayer for possible inclusion in his upcoming book. Since I hadn't read the book (but understood the premise based on the book, The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence by Thomas Jay Oord), I hoped once my prayer had been accepted, I would actually agree with and like the book. I am a little particular that way. I found the book to be engaging, thoughtful, and was profoundly excited to find a book that placed the answers to prayers not in a superhuman god who sometimes chose to reach down and stop human suffering, Instead, the power of God can be seen in humans who truly live out God's love in the lives of other humans. My story is both a tragedy and a miracle because of human choices--for evil or for good. My prayer was a great fit for this book! It is a call to action that will achieve so much more than prayers that depend on God to step in and care for the brokenhearted.


Written by Janyne McConnaughey

Originally published in Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God

by Mark Gregory Karris

God, wherever we go, we walk among

those who hide unspeakable pain.

In our desire to give hope, help us to

create safe spaces for the hurting.

May this space also be a place where they

can seek help and share their pain.

Empower us to be Jesus to the broken.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and

saves those who are crushed in spirit.

We all have stories. Every story is important.

Our stories mold and form us.

Our stories break and transform us.

God, help us to value the stories each other holds.

Help us to create sacred spaces to hold those stories in safety.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and

saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Help us to be your tangible love through

the conscious choices we make.

Help us to courageously enter into the other’s pain.

Help us wisely tell the victims that their

wounds were never part of your plan.

Allow us to share your love in creative ways.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and

saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Let us pray this prayer of dedication,

asking God’s guidance for seeing others’ brokenness

as our opportunity to show God’s love.


God, help me to see others for who they are

and not what has happened to them.

Help me to see their pain without judging their behavior.

Help me to act in ways that will be a bridge

of trust between you and the hurting.

Help me to hear your prompting, demonstrate your active love,

and step into broken lives in ways that make a difference.

Help me to not control behavior in others

but instead love them to wholeness.

Allow me to speak hope into their lives.

We are the eyes that see the pain.

We are the feet who walk beside.

We are the ears that listen.

We are the arms that hold them as they heal.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and

saves those who are crushed in spirit.


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