Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Free Audio Book – “The Karma of Jesus”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Last October I released my latest book, “The Karma of Jesus.” In December I recorded an audio version of the book. Now, for a limited period, my publisher, Bethany House, is offering a free download of this unabridged reading of the book.  

To download go to and follow the prompts.

You can also order the “hard” version online at The Karma of Jesus.

Then later I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Mark Herringshaw 


Prayer for Haiti: From “Why, God?” to “How, God?”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

“Why, God?”

Looking at pictures of the pain and sorrow in Haiti, that’s our natural question. We want to know why a loving and all powerful God would allow such devastation. Be honest now. All of us want to know this…

But “Why, God?” is a question God seldom addresses. It’s a prayer he seldom answers. Instead…  In my book, co-written with Jennifer Schuchmann, Six Prayers God Always Answers, I address this question of questions… We naturally ask “Why?” But it seems there’s a far better way to address God in the face of crisis. Here’s an excerpt:


Some of our why questions are as old as life itself.

Why is there evil?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why does a good God allow such pain and suffering?

But why can easily move beyond an honest request to become a passive-aggressive demand for reparation. It can ring with a scolding tone, expecting God to own up to some grand foible and concede he’s done something wrong.

We attempt to lay our grievances on his doorstep, but God stoutly refuses to be made answerable for the mishaps of this world. He is God, and he won’t take responsibility for that which he didn’t do. God won’t be made party to evil. It is in the world of its own accord. God won’t be made to feel the guilt.


But the Bible never explains evil. The lack of explanation drives us toward our own when we can’t find his. The rational Greek-logic answer would force a decision. Either God is all powerful and unjust, or just, but too weak to enforce it.

The Hebrews answer the perplexity differently. For them the solution is both/and. The Psalmist writes, “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard; that you, O God, are strong, and that you O God, are loving.” We feel the matter as two things, powerful and unjust or just and weak. But for God it is a unified question. He is loving and strong. Their answer forces us to consider our own. Sometimes we can’t see the answer because it isn’t obvious until we ask a different question.


That “different” question is “how?” Instead of seeking the cause for a crisis, what if instead we ask God, “Now that this is problem is here, how do I respond? How are you responding? How can I cooperate with you in fixing it?”

From “Why?” to How?”

“God we don’t fully understand why this terrible crisis has befallen Haiti. You are not answering our questions demanding an explanation. But we can ask, “How?” How can respond with you now? How can we be your hands and feet? How can we pray? How can we know and cooperate with you in this dark day?  God, we trust you. Lead us. Lead the leaders of Haiti and those working in relief programs. Turn this broken place into a new beacon of hope. In Jesus…”



The Half-Truth in Pat Robertson’s Oral Dysentery

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I apologize for Pat Robertson’s foul mouth.  The man needs discretion, to say the least. And if Dr. Robertson cannot find enough “fruit of the Spirit” growing in his own soul – particularly self control – then perhaps prudent brothers and sisters should remind him of the responsibility he bears managing the bully pulpit he commands. Here’s my reminder…

Robertson’s recent claims that Haiti has been ravaged by a 7.0 earthquake BECAUSE its people made a “pact with the devil” was, in the face of the unimaginable death and suffering of the Haitian people, insensitive, foolish and at least partially inaccurate. To imply that such devastation is simply an “act of God” is reasoning from a simpleton aimed at simplistic minds. I reject the blanket notion that God did this as judgment on Haiti and Haitians. We live on a complex and dangerous planet. As Jesus said, “the rain falls on the just and unjust.” Bad stuff sometimes just happens.


However… In my rush to distance myself from Robertson’s impropriety, I cannot overlook the truth in at least part of his contention. Yes, I am here admitting that I concede one aspect of his notion.

I believe that there is a devil, a real devil. I believe the beast is loose in the world and opposed to God’s purposes. I believe, as does the Bible, as did Jesus, that the devil has help in the form of other spiritual beings, and that together this “force” of evil seeks to control both individual humans and groups of individual humans. I believe it’s possible for humans to cooperate with the devil and his troops just as we can cooperate with God and his angels. I also believe there are consequences to our spiritual choices – practical consequences. I believe the poverty and affliction resident in Haiti – both before and after this natural disaster – does stem in part from that culture’s institutionalized occult religion, a form of spirituality called voodoo that openly invites spiritual beings under Satan’s command to involve themselves in human life.


There… said…

Voodooism clearly creates two problems. On the mere human level it fosters an atmosphere of despair and fear, where humans feel helpless against forces of evil who do as they choose. This negative faith makes them feel like victims. The result is a society wracked by paralysis. People living in this system don’t act in their own best interests because they don’t believe they can influence reality. Instead of taking the effort to build strong houses that can withstand earthquakes, they say, “What’s the use,” and stack bricks one atop another in whatever way seems easiest. Poverty doesn’t cause hopelessness, hopeless causes poverty, and spiritual despair causes hopelessness.  


Voodooism causes problems on the spiritual level as well, assuming we believe in actual invisible spiritual forces. To open the door to Satan probably does invite curses and afflictions. If there really is a devil, and if his actions can impact the world, could it be that a nation whose president did officially dedicate his country to the devil has passively initiated this wave of curses and devastation? But we have to be careful here… Such a belief does not assign the blame of disaster on God, but rather on evil forces turned loose on the land.

Okay, so Robertson might be at least partially right… What he said, when he said it, and how, was still idiotic, offensive and not at all like Jesus. One can right and utterly wrong. We dare not stand over these fallen and broken and grieving souls with a haughty “tsh, tsh!” Instead, we should grieve with them and for them, and extend a hand, and intercede for their spiritual and physical salvation.


Our response must be compassion not condemnation, then in the wake let us lend a hand and a heart and from our own brokenness over theirs help them rebuild their broken nation, not only physically but spiritually.

“God, we do not assume to understand your mysteries. We don’t ask why disaster strikes. That is not our question. We do know there is great evil in the world, both in nations like Haiti but also more covertly in nations like our own. We come humbly to you and to these people who have suffered so much. As you tell us, we bind the work of Satan, in Jesus’ name.  We pray, without a sense of self-righteousness that you will change the spiritual foundations of Haiti as we help rebuild the physical foundations of their cities. Forgive our superior haughtiness believing that we are somehow more righteous than they are. We all need your grace. And from that grace, we all can walk in your strength. Bless Haiti with a new day, a miraculous recovery, and a final freedom from the grip of oppression and evil. And in the process, as we pray and serve, do the same for us as well… In Jesus…”



The Eucharist Diet: “Water is Almost Everything”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

January 20, 2010

Day 19

Weight: 200 lbs

Weight lost: -6 lbs


One more pound burned off and honestly, I don’t know how… I ate three handfuls of M & Ms yesterday too… and a piece of carrot cake, though I did turn down a piece of chocolate cake…

I’m still pondering the wonder of water… In essence, I feel like I’m living on bread and water… turned to wine. Jesus turned water to wine for his first miracle. Perhaps when I take a big glass of water he does the same, turning it to sustenance within me. I don’t know. I’m not all that hungry through the day. I don’t feel deprived even when I don’t stuff my face the way I’m accustomed.


Water does matter. My daughter, Ellie just returned from a year in Africa. She worked in small villages in Zimbabwe with a health care team. She tells me that most of their work involved water. And most of the problems they treated were solved in some way by better, or more, or properly used water… Water, it seems covers a multitude of sins. Many villages have no wells. Most others have poor wells. In ignorance, many people simply don’t drink enough water, or they don’t wash small wounds. Water would fix many of their major health issues. Water, is almost everything.

As I think about my hunger pain I wonder how much is really thirst. Things often aren’t what they seem to be. I wonder too how much is actually something else, something deeper, a deeper hunger for something food can’t satisfy, something water can’t satisfy. I really just need “water… turned to wine.”


That’s what this experiment is all about. Can I lose weight by simply feeding – intentionally – my deeper hunger with the body and blood of Jesus? We’ll see. So far I’m down 6 pounds, and I’m no grumpier for the process.

“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.


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