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The Cleansing Power of Public Prayer


After a week in the world, worshipers may need our prayers as much as our preaching.
—Gordon Macdonald

Years ago, I became friends with a man who'd retired after many years as a reporter and editor for a major newspaper. Over the years he told me stories from his journalistic career—many of them humorous, others indescribably sad. My friend was a reluctant but frequent observer of human cruelty, greed, exploitation, and immorality. When I mentioned that fact to him, he did not disagree.

"After you've been in the news business forty years," he said, "you tend to develop a cynical and suspicious edge. You've heard every kind of lie, you've seen every species of corruption, and you've been witness to the sleaziest sorts of performances by folk the public thinks are saints and heroes."

I asked him how he maintained his spiritual life amid such an environment: "Don't you feel sometimes as if you're living in a cesspool? How do you avoid becoming polluted inside?"

"I'm not sure I've always kept ...

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