Self Help: Praying Through Hard Times

By Rick Hamlin, As seen on

How do you pray through bad economic news? How do you find spiritual comfort when there are hourly updates of scary yo-yo stock market swings, unsettling unemployment reports and national debt downgrades? How do you pray when you’re worried about your job, your savings, your security?

This might seem counterintuitive, but the best thing I’ve found to do when I get too worried about myself is to pray for someone else.

Get a scrap of paper (I use a Post-it note) or send yourself an email or put it on your phone. You’ll hear about someone who needs prayer almost immediately. In less than 24 hours, I got an email from a fellow whose grandchild had cystic fibrosis, my mom had a doctor’s appointment for a bum knee, a friend told me about a job interview coming up, I got an update about a colleague’s cancer treatments and I heard about another friend’s heart surgery.

The next morning, when another headline pulled me down, I pulled out my Post-it note. Here were people who needed immediate help. I could replay a conversation and recall an email. I could picture family members and friends. I know some people who like to visualize who they’re praying for. If that works for you, go ahead. I find I don’t need to spend a long time praying for others. Going through that Post-it note list is enough. By the time I’m finished, my troubles shrink into something manageable, not scary.

There will always be bad news. There always is bad news. But do you want to be one of those gloomy sad sacks who is consumed by it? I don’t. I want to be a person full of faith. Praying for others is one of the best ways I know how. “Let me pray for you” is one of the finest sentences in the English language. I believe those prayersmake a difference to the ones I pray for. They always help me.

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