"GRAY MATTER", by Dr. David Levy, with Joel Kilpatrick

Dr. David Levy, a neurosurgeon in San Diego, CA, and his journalist/writer, Joel Kilpatrick, wrote what I believe will be a very popular book in both Christian and secular circles.  "Gray Matter" is a term that refers to the mass of matter God created inside our skulls, and Dr. Levy's work focuses on this one vital area of life -- the brain.

To read the first chapter, click here.

If you ever liked watching "ER", you'll love this autobiographical account of life behind the mask of a neurosurgeon.  "Gray Matter" is not simply a book written by an egotistical surgeon bragging about his difficult, but successful, life-saving brain surgeries.  Instead, it's a humble account of a doctor professionally using his hands and brain the way God gifted him, as he struggles with an issue of faith -- to pray, or not to pray. 

As a member of the medical community, Dr. Levy admits that his job as a neurosurgeon transcends the most challenging surgeries.  He believes his ultimate purpose as a surgeon is to make people well -- physically, mentally, and spiritually.  So the journey began when he started talking with patients about other life-issues that may have been aggravating the symptoms of the aneurysms they faced.  What he found was patients carrying baggage of unforgiveness and bitterness with people who have hurt them in their past.

Stepping out in faith, Dr. Levy decided to ask if he could pray with a patient as they sat in his examination room -- one-on-one.  He tells about his inner struggle with the pro's and con's of asking such a question: will I be disciplined or fired?; what will my co-workers think of me?; will my patient think I lack confidence in my abilities and therefore need to ask for God's intervention?  He finally works it out and boldly asks, "Can I pray with you?"  More often than not, the patients looked at him with tilted head, confused, like a dog that tilts its head when interested in a strange noise, and more often than not their reply is, "Sure."

Over time, Dr. Levy grew in boldness, although not without inner turmoil, to pray not just privately with patients in the exam room, but with them in the pre-op room with nurses and doctors around.  He even progressed to the point that patients asked him to pray with them, that nurses and doctors expected him to pray, and that those same nurses and doctors would join hands with Dr. Levy and family members to pray with the patient.  It is a fascinating account of one doctor's courage in the medical field to give people wholeness in life.

"Gray Matter" contains the right amount of real-life cases and surgeries mixed with matters of faith.  Kilpatrick and Levy brilliantly weave and build these stories and his issue of prayer together into a crescendo where the reader is greatly inspired to put aside foolish pride and embarrassment and pray in all matters.  I have already incorporated Dr. Levy's approach in some ways I handle my own professional affairs.

"Gray Matter" is not a "preachy" book, and Levy never forced prayer on any one of his patients or staff members.  But, neither is it a bland medical journal.  Although 300 pages long, it reads like a page-turner.
There's no doubt in my mind that "Gray Matter" is a must-read for anyone who struggles with his/her prayer life.  It's a 5-star piece of work, and I'm excited that I had the opportunity to read it. 

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.  I was not threatened or coerced in any way to provide a positive review.  The opinions herein are entirely mine.


  1. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I am a nurse in the OR and have worked with one neurosurgeon who prayed with his patients. I can tell you from experience how prayer completely changes people and situations.
    This book is incredible! I finished it in a day.
    Thank you Dr.Levy for opening up about your faith and prayers.
    GOD IS GOOD! :-)

  2. And thank you for the work you do!!!

  3. Anonymous5:27 PM

    When I become a RN someday, I will follow the godly example of Dr Levy.

  4. Anonymous1:51 PM

    I was moved to the core of my soul. Your book is so inspirational that i have recommended it to anyone and everyone. Dr are heaven sent. yup an angel.

  5. Mike, I hope someday you can compile all your stories and blog posts in a book. Keep it in mind someday when you're retired and looking for something to do.