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Rick Hamlin
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Entries by Rick Hamlin

Is It Okay to Pray for the Same Thing Over and Over Again?

(16) Comments | Posted July 16, 2013 | 2:42 PM

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a prayer loop, asking for the same thing or bringing up the same issue to God over and over again? You wonder if he doesn't get tired of it. I mean, you try not to bore your friends, and your spouse is already...

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Give the News Back to God

(7) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 3:06 PM

My father's rambling graces were famous in the neighborhood. Whenever one of us invited a friend over for dinner we usually warned them, "Dad always starts dinner with a prayer. Just bow your head and wait. It could go on for a while."

Dad came in from his commute on...

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To Sing Is to Pray

(16) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 4:25 PM

When I was a kid there was a sign on the wall in the choir room at church with its message written in ecclesiastical Gothic script -- it's still there, I'm told -- that said, "He who prays sings twice." As a kid I scratched my head, wondering what it...

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What to Pray in a Crisis? Just say "No!"

(10) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 1:51 PM

All sorts of terrible words come to mind, curses and imprecations, when I take in a disaster like the bombing at the Boston marathon. I can hear my unbelieving friends say to me, "Rick, why bother to pray at a time like this? If God is in charge, why should...

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Jesus Lives!

(4) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 12:44 PM

Jesus lives!

It's a phrase we usually associate with Easter, the words we sing in an old hymn on Easter Sunday: "Jesus lives! Thy terrors now can no longer, death, appall us." The awkward 18th-century diction can't take away the awesome, heart-stopping reality of it: Jesus lives! The rafters...

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The Truth About the Lord's Prayer

(524) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 3:58 PM

I'm not the first person and I certainly won't be the last to point out that the Lord's Prayer is largely in the first-person plural. "Our Father ... give us this day our daily bread ... forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us ... lead...

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What Can Bring Christians Together?

(22) Comments | Posted January 19, 2012 | 3:54 PM

"That we all may be one." We pray it almost every Sunday. The other Sunday as we were saying it, something clicked in me and I thought, "Wow. This prayer is a huge challenge for all of us Christians." Maybe especially me.

Christians come in many different...

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Psalms on the Subway (VIDEO)

(19) Comments | Posted November 4, 2011 | 11:06 AM

People do tons of things on the New York subway: eat, sleep, read tabloids, gossip, watch movies, play games, work on their laptops, put on makeup (I wince every time I see this, sure some woman is going to poke out her eye). They also pray.

I...

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Include Religious Women in Peacemaking

(5) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 12:17 PM

When I look at religion in the world today I ask myself if it's part of the problem or part of the solution. The headlines can be disheartening. I have to remind myself there were saints in the past who changed the world for the good and brought peace. John...

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Pray for the Unemployed

(15) Comments | Posted July 25, 2011 | 4:19 PM

If you want to know what people really care about and where they're really hurting, look to their prayers.

I wouldn't normally have privy to that information but through my involvement in a website called OurPrayer.org I see the requests for prayer on the site, people asking for...

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Passing Along Faith, Father to Son

(14) Comments | Posted June 19, 2011 | 1:00 AM

On the morning I flew home to be at my father's bedside for the last time, I took a jog in the park. Running along the cold asphalt beneath the bare trees, I remembered walking there years before with my very pregnant wife in the same dank season....

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Military Chaplains: Should Taxpayers Support Religion in the Military?

(55) Comments | Posted May 17, 2011 | 1:40 PM

Not long ago there was an article in The New York Times about soldiers looking to have atheist military chaplains in the armed forces. An atheist chaplain? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? And come to think of it, what does a military chaplain do anyway?

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Do You Need to Believe in God to Pray?

(1001) Comments | Posted April 8, 2011 | 9:01 PM

My very thoughtful 20-something son, Will, asked me the other day, "Dad, how do you pray for somebody if you don't really believe in God?"

Ouch. I know where this one was coming from, and I wanted to help, while respecting his beliefs. He's somewhere on the...

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What Saying Grace Says About You

(157) Comments | Posted March 9, 2011 | 7:45 PM

Do you bow down before you chow down?

Do you say grace before mealtime? (By grace I mean saying any prayer from any faith tradition before you eat.) Do you? Turns out this is a major indicator of your political bent, Republican or Democrat, according to authors Robert D. Putman...

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Foxhole Faith: The Value Of Prayer When We Are Vulnerable

(327) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 5:59 PM

I paused when I read the playwright Matthew Lopez refer to himself in The New York Times as a "foxhole Episcopalian."

Not that the expression was hard to parse but I hope he didn't say it apologetically, as in "I don't ever darken the door of a...

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Forgiveness Might Still Be Possible in the Digital Age, But How Do We Forget?

(5) Comments | Posted January 14, 2011 | 7:27 AM

Evidently, Sarah Palin, or at least her minions, have been trying to take down the now-notorious map of 20 congressional districts targeting representatives to challenge in the 2010 elections. Call them crosshairs, call them surveyors' marks, but as Josh Bernoff at Adage.com has pointed out, you can't take...

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The Point of Christmas Pageants

(2) Comments | Posted December 16, 2010 | 12:48 PM

'Tis the season for Christmas pageants, the boring, the brief, the touching, the sweet, the maudlin, the flawed, the ill-sung, the ill-starred, the much-photographed and the heart-wrenching after all. We can all remember cringing when some poor Joseph forgot his lines or a wise man tripped just as...

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Prayer 101: An Attitude of Gratitude

(31) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 5:46 PM

For years we've had a tradition around our Thanksgiving table. Before we dig into the meat or take that first forkful of mashed potatoes, before the stuffing and the cranberries and long before the pecan pie, we go around one by one and each person, no matter how old or...

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Is It Okay to Pray for Material Things?

(311) Comments | Posted October 22, 2010 | 7:41 AM

If you want to make quick work of this article, the answer is yes. You don't have to read anymore. Done.

But why ask such a question and why even get a little wigged out over admitting to the answer? Doesn't the Lord's Prayer say, "Give us this day our...

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When We Promise to Pray for a Friend, We Should Do It!

(551) Comments | Posted September 25, 2010 | 7:56 AM

The message came in a flurry of emails on a day that was no busier than usual. It was bad news. An old friend was letting me know that her long-time babysitter had just been diagnosed with colon cancer and was going into the hospital soon for surgery.

"Prayers!" I...

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