God on Mute (Fully Revised and with a New 40 Day Devotional)

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


God on Mute (Fully Revised and with a New 40 Day Devotional)


Pete Greig


Zondervan Reflective

Publication Date:

September 22, 2020 (first edition 2007)




352 pages


Almost twenty years ago, Pete Greig’s wife Sammy fell into a health crisis caused by a brain tumor. The tumor was eventually removed, but seizures became a regular part of their life, in spite of many prayers (and ironically, Grieg founded a ground called the 24/7 Prayer movement). Years of struggle, research and searching for hard-won yet honest answers resulted in God on Mute, a book that faces the question, “why are some prayers not answered?” Grieg looks at the journey he and Sammy have taken, the wise counsel they’ve received over the years and the often surprising answers the Bible gives about pain and suffering.

Grieg does a great job of introducing readers to the classic questions that unanswered prayer bring up, and then using stories and anecdotes from his journey to illustrate and ruminate on those questions. The book goes between memoir-like storytelling that captures the messiness and sadness that comes with fighting disease and wondering why God isn’t more overtly present in one’s life, and solid teaching that leads readers back to what the Bible says on the topic. This mixture is very important, because it’s easy for Christian living books to just talk about the solutions and come across as flippant. Nothing could be more insensitive (or unhelpful) that giving flippant answers to people struggling with unanswered prayers. Grieg’s choice to face messiness and complexity allows him to connect with readers going through similar struggles, showing them someone else has a similar story and giving them the catharsis they need.

Grieg is also careful to not comment too much on what he doesn’t know or the Bible doesn’t make clear. He alternates between talking about the idea that evil is allowed to exist and how God often directs it in new directions, and the idea that perhaps God brings certain struggles into our life to make room for growth. At this point, some authors would take the next step and talk about how they believe God brought disease into their family to create growth; Grieg doesn’t say that, because he has no confirmation of that yet. He also doesn’t say which side of the God allowing struggles/God introducing struggles debate he falls on; the Bible arguably references both ideas. This modesty makes the book more useful than so many Christian living books that try to promise what the Bible doesn’t promise for people.

Perhaps most interestingly, Greig structures the book in four sections based on the four days of the Passion of the Christ (Thursday when Jesus was in Gethsemane, Friday when he was crucified, Saturday when he was in the tomb, and Sunday when he rose from the tomb).  Western readers often don’t think about the fact that Christianity gives a shocking and counter-intuitive answer to life’s struggles: a moment where incredible pain occurred and new life was birthed from it. Life proceeding from pain, not in its absence. Recognizing that life can happen within and come forth from pain is vital to Christianity, and radically changes how people approach the problem of pain. Thus, Greig takes readers back to the heart of Christianity, back to the cross and to resurrection.

Thoroughly compelling and always honest, this book takes readers to the answers they desperately need when facing the hard reality of unanswered prayer.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers struggling with why their prayers are apparently not being answered, or what looks like God’s silence as they experience difficult struggles (medical emergencies, chronic illness, natural disasters, etc.).

Christian Impact

Grieg pushes past easy answers to help people see how chaotic life can be and yet how God is present in the midst of that chaos, which allows for hope and peace that is past understanding.

Note: This author is also known for writing How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Everyday People. To read ECLA’s review of that book, go to:

God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer

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