Steven Waldman Interviews Rick Warren

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose of Christmas," spoke with Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman at the offices of our partner, The Wall Street Journal.

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So what’s your advice to people about how they should pray?

I definitely say, pray for healing because twenty times in the New Testament alone, not counting the Old Testament, we are commanded to ask. It says “ask and it shall be given,” “seek and you’ll find.” We’re commanded to ask. In fact, in the Psalms, it says “delight yourself in the Lord and he’ll give you the desires of your heart.” So what I do a lot of times when I’m praying for people, I say, “Lord this person’s dying, I don’t know if it’s your will that they live or go on to be with you. But you’ve said to pray our desires. My desire is that they get well.”

The most effective prayer is often one word – help. Help!

We are in hard economic times. There are a lot of people suffering. Do you believe there’s a spiritual cause to what we’re going through now?

Without a doubt. Absolutely. Without a doubt. The reason why we’re in the economic crisis we’re in right now is that we’ve walked away from the Biblical world view of economics. The Biblical worldview of economics is taught all through the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Proverbs, which teaches thriftiness, teaches not living beyond your means, teaches the value of saving and investing.

Americans used to save about 18 percent of their income. By the ‘80s it had dropped to 4 percent. This last year the average American spent more than they made. We were actually in the negative. They saved nothing.

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We cannot live beyond our means year after year after year without eventually paying the piper. So this concept of, “I’m going to live within my means, even if I have to charge it” – which means I’m going to live beyond my means, the chickens have come home to roost.

And that’s true not just on a global economic area. I’m dealing with members and families…I just finished a series for four weeks this last month on how to help a friend through tough times -- how to help a friend going through a divorce, how to help a friend who’s dying, how to help a friend who’s depressed. And we did a message on how to help a friend who’s in debt and near bankruptcy. And then we did follow up with a number of workshops -- budget workshops, financial planning, when your mortgage is upside down. We had over 4,000 people show up for the workshops during the week, so this is a real need there.

But it’s because we’re ignoring the very principles that made America great… the Judeo-Christian principles in scripture that teach thrift, savings, being wise, saving in the summer for the winter -- everything we haven’t done.

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Steven Waldman
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