No Such Thing As a Bad Prayer: A Q&A With Rick Hamlin

7. Why did you write this book?

I would hear often enough at work, people writing to us, "How do you pray? I wish I could learn how." I wanted people to know they did indeed know how. It's not hard at all. In fact, it's a lot of fun. It's meant to be a pleasure. And for those of us who feel we always need to be doing something, it's a great excuse to do nothing. To do nothing with a purpose!

8. How do you pray for others?

Once people know you're a praying person, they will ask you, usually when some sort of crisis comes up, "Will you pray for me?" or will you pray for their cousin/uncle/daughter/best friend? You say, of course, "Of course." I used to think that with each name and need I collected I would have to visualize the person and do some sort of elaborate mental dance. No longer. Geez, God knows what they need better than I know what they need. It is enough to say their name and to say whatever they have told you: "Cancer," "money," "new job," "freedom from addiction," "peace of mind." Praying people pray better when they pray for others. It helps them with their own prayers by getting themselves out of the way. See what I said about the Lord's Prayer.

9. Are all prayers answered?

Yes. I know what people say about God saying "Yes," "No" and "Wait." But when you pray and pray over a long time, when you feel frustrated, when you are stymied, when you are lost, when you don't understand, you keep at it and the answers all turn to some sort of yes. I don't know how or why. And sometimes, they are a wonderfully bold YES.

10. What do you do when a prayer isn't answered?

You keep praying and find a community to pray with and you read and you sleep and you yearn and you get silent and you get angry and you get doing. And you give up and you get back and you go on. You sing because singing helps, even if you can't sing. And you put shoe leather on all those prayer you have been saying. And you remind yourself that you do this because it is your delight to delight in the Lord.

3/1/2016 5:00:00 AM
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