The Only Little Prayer You Need: Read the Preface

Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
The Only Little Prayer You Need
The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance, and Peace of Mind
By Debra Landwehr Engle
Foreword by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Book Excerpt

 I'm not the type of person who typically asks someone to pray. That's always seemed preachy, personal, and presumptuous. In fact, I've even bristled slightly at the word "prayer"—along with "God," "Jesus," and the "Holy Spirit"—because those words have such particular meanings to each individual, and my understanding might be very different from my neighbor's.

But about thirty years ago, I started studying A Course in Miracles, which is described as "spiritual psychotherapy." While this course includes Christian language, it's a path not to religion, but to peace of mind—a deep peace that resides inside each of us with help from a higher power.

Even though I've studied and taught the Course for years, I still learn more about its teachings every day—and sometimes not in the most comfortable ways. Following any spiritual path typically is like a maze. As we make forward progress, we're likely to take a lot of detours along the way. We don't get all the answers at once. And even when we do have an "ah-ha" moment, we may find ourselves in a new and tricky part of the maze that we've never seen before.

We're at a time on this planet when we need to make a leap forward, skipping over years of wandering so we can move more directly toward peace—both within ourselves and within our world.

And that's why I'm writing this book. This story is about a seemingly small event in my life that took on miraculous significance because of the lessons that came with it.

I'm not a theologian; in fact, I've found most of my spiritual sustenance outside traditional religion. But I believe we're returning to a time when we "remember" and understand our individual connection to the divine. Each of us has a direct relationship with a higher power, and it's by calling on and developing that relationship that we can experience what might be called miraculous changes in our lives.

My husband, Bob, and I have had our share of tragedies and hurts in our lives. Both of us have gone through divorce. Bob lost his elder son to an illness no one could ever identify. We've both known times of financial struggle. And, in my capacity as co-founder of a spirituality and personal growth program, I've worked for years with women who are experiencing everything from the lifelong effects of early sexual abuse to the uncertainty of their primary relationship, their stage of life, or their children's futures due to mental health or drug abuse issues.

The way we deal with all of these challenges defines the quality of our life and our peace of mind. And with the help of the Course, I also know that trying to do it without help from a higher power is not going to get us where we want to go.

I believe that when you use the prayer in this book, you'll experience steady progress toward a life of greater internal peace. Much of the drama and chaos around you will subside. And what remains will have less impact on you, bouncing off of you because you're no longer a willing host.

As crazy as it sounds, I think this prayer is an answer to prayer. It's a path to a better life. And it's the simplest thing possible. Now all we have to do is actually use it.

So here I am, asking you to pray.

Reprinted with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC., The Only Little Prayer You Need by Debra Landwehr Engle is available wherever books or ebooks are sold or directly from the publisher at 1-800-423-7087 or  

10/1/2014 4:00:00 AM
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