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A Blessing and a Prayer

My talks about prayer are supposed to be inspirational, but I always wonder if I’m really helping…

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

What is the greatest fear for most people? We talked in the office about this the other day. “Public speaking” is the answer.

People are terrified of speaking before a crowd; their minds go blank, their mouths go dry, their knees shake, their hands twitch. They’d rather do anything else but give a speech.

I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking lately, promoting my book 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without and talking in general about prayer, my own prayer life and people who have helped me in my prayer life. The talks are supposed to be helpful, inspirational, and I’m always flattered to be asked to speak. I figure it’s something I’m meant to be doing. But do I get nervous? Do I wish I could collapse right there at the podium and disappear?

Yes. All the time.

This weekend I was at an event in Nashville, speaking with wonderful, delightful, bestselling author Debbie Macomber at a retreat of her readers and fans, some 400 of them. Sunday morning we were slated to do an inspirational chat for the group in a hotel ballroom.

My mind didn’t go blank. I didn’t stumble over my words. They laughed at my jokes. They looked like they were listening closely to the both of us. I even led them in a couple of songs, “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace.”

I realized in the midst of the event, listening to Debbie, looking out at the appreciative audience, that the thing I worry about most, and wish I didn’t worry about as much, is if I’m really helping. Am I being authentic? Am I saying what I’m meant to be saying? Have I reached that one person I’m supposed to reach? Oh Rick, let it go, I said to myself.

Afterward, people came up to me to tell me their stories, to have books signed, to ask me to sign their copies of Guideposts. But one woman, God bless her, didn’t have any questions, any stories to tell, any books to sign. She simply walked up, took her index finger to my forehead, made the sign of the cross and said, “Bless you.” Wow, that was terrific. It was as though my prayer for myself was being answered, a reminder, Rick, you’re fine as you are.

A blessing. It was better than any talk I could give, a prayer that hit its mark. I can still feel the spot on my forehead. Thanks.

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