Powerful Prayers: Conversations on Faith, Hope, and the Human Spirit with Some of Today's Most Provocative People


In early 1997, veteran broadcaster and celebrated talk show host Larry King was having dinner with his daughter, Chaia. King, who is not shy about asking people pointed questions, found the tables turned when Chaia said: "You're always having conversations with powerful people, why not ask them about their prayers?" King, who generally thinks of himself as agnostic, was moved by his daughter's question. Because of his unique relationships with celebrities, political leaders, and other notables, King was able to ...
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In early 1997, veteran broadcaster and celebrated talk show host Larry King was having dinner with his daughter, Chaia. King, who is not shy about asking people pointed questions, found the tables turned when Chaia said: "You're always having conversations with powerful people, why not ask them about their prayers?" King, who generally thinks of himself as agnostic, was moved by his daughter's question. Because of his unique relationships with celebrities, political leaders, and other notables, King was able to query many of the world's most prominent people about their relationships with God and their intimate prayers. President Jimmy Carter, Alan Dershowitz, Muhammad Ali, President Gerald Ford, Shimon Peres, Barbara Bush, Noah Wyle, Steve Young, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Tommy Lasorda, Lou Holtz, Scott Hamilton, Alexander Haig, Senator John McCain, Reverend Jerry Falwell, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Reverend Cecil Murray, Marianne Williamson, Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, Anthony Robbins, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Dr. John Gray are among the people who offer their heartfelt beliefs about faith and spirituality. The humor and passion of King's odyssey with Rabbi Katsof will inspire you to take an introspective look at you faith, or move you to take a spiritual journey of your own.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Famed talk-show host King and his guide, Rabbi Katsof, dare to ask bold questions of themselves and cultural figures about prayer. Specifically, they ask such people as Jimmy Carter, Jack Kevorkian, Muhammad Ali, Gerald Ford, Shimon Peres, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Alexander Haig, Willie Nelson, and others if and how they pray. The provocative, often entertaining discussion that results illuminates the roles of faith, hope, and spiritual longing in modern life. The reader will relate personally to these interviews, as both King and Katsof keep the discussion going with sincerity and depth. Interestingly, King himself moves from agnosticism to religious skepticism. All public libraries will do well to stock this informative, insightful, and life-affirming title. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/98.]--Leroy Hommerding, Citrus Cty. Lib. System, Inverness, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580630344
  • Publisher: Renaissance Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.64 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry King
Larry King
LARRY KING is the host of CNN's Larry King Live, the first worldwide phone-in television talk show and the network's highest-rated program. The Emmy-winning King has been dubbed "the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever" (TV Guide) and "master of the mike" (Time). King also founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars and provided lifesaving cardiac procedures for nearly sixty needy children and adults.
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Interviews & Essays

On December 9, 1998, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Larry King back to our Authors@aol series, accompanied by Rabbi Irwin Katsof. Larry King is host of CNN's "Larry King Live," the only live international call-in show in the world. He has interviewed President Clinton, Michael Jordan, and Barbra Streisand, to name just a few of his numerous prominent guests. King is also author of FUTURE TALK and HOW TO TALK TO ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. Rabbi Irwin Katsof is the executive vice president of The Jerusalem Fund, an educational organization devoted to the preservation of the Jewish religion and heritage.

Diannabn: Mr. King and Rabbi Katsof, we're so happy you both could join us tonight! Any opening comments before we go to the audience questions?

Larry King: We're happy to be with you, and we've spent a lot of time working on this book! Just did a guest spot with Reverend Schuller, and we look forward to the book.

Larry King: It's great to be here, and very exciting to be a part of this chat, and thank you to Larry for inviting me to join him on this journey. It's great to be part of one of the most powerful beings there is -- the Almighty!

Question: Any reason why Benny Hinn, one of today's more charismatic televangelists, wasn't included in the book?

Larry King: We made a whole selection process. I've interviewed him many, many times on TV. His concept is mainly on healing, and we've talked to many religious people specifically on prayer. Always make choices in life. Maybe he'll be in book two!

Question: I saw you interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, on your own show, and you said your daughter and your wife are both very spiritual. Does any of that ever rub off on you? Does it comfort you to know they pray for you?

Larry King: The answer to the second part is obviously yes. My wife is much more religious than my daughter. She attends Mormon services and is a devout believer. My daughter is a very spiritual person but attends no formal synagogue. They've both had a great effect, as has the rabbi, in my growth.

Question: Rabbi Katsof, how did you and Larry work together on this project? Did either one of you witness growth in the other during it?

Larry King: We would do some of the interviews together and some of them individually. We would come back and discuss them, and Larry would come back and say, "How could this be, Rabbi?" And we'd say, "This is you talking to God." And they say that you learn a lot from your teachers, you learn more from your colleagues, and you learn the most from your students. I feel Larry made me smart. Larry made me grow, by asking me to explain some of the reactions from some of the people that we interviewed. This forced me to really become much more real with the whole process and concept of prayer.

Question: Of all the folks you two profile in the book, whose relationship to prayer were you most taken with?

Larry King: I liked so many, but I think I liked Muhammad Ali, not only because he has such fervent belief, but he was also so very honest enough to admit that he prayed to win his fights! I like that kind of directness!

Larry King: I was very taken by Kirk Douglas. He quotes C. S. Lewis, who says that "pain is God's megaphone to wake up a deaf world." And then he goes on to say, boy, was he stone deaf. He went through a plane crash, that he survived, only around ten years ago. And then he had a stroke, and instead of getting angry at God, he stopped and started to explore what were the messages to him. And it helped strengthen his relationship with God. He grew tremendously from it.

Question: When do people pray? Just in times of trouble? Do you think that's okay with God?

Larry King: I was surprised by how many people pray at all times in all sorts of places. But the rabbi will be better suited to know about when and how!

Larry King: Certainly it's a more common experience for people to pray in times of trouble. Everyone has heard of foxhole prayer. People think that they pray to get their needs satisfied. Really, they have needs so that they'll pray. God knows what you need; it's not that He created me and that He forgot me. It's not like I'm down here saying, "Yoo hoo!" I'll pray to use it as a focus on what I want to do with my life and why. And it's perfectly okay to pray whenever you do it. God is your Father in Heaven. He wants to hear from you whenever and about whatever. It's the exact same relationship that a child has with a parent. A parent is thrilled when a child calls home, for whatever the reason, and it's the same thing with God.

Question: I would have liked to have heard from the President. Jesse Jackson keeps saying he's praying like a madman to get through the past year. How do you think Americans have reacted to Clinton's prayer committee?

Larry King: I was very disappointed because the President, whom I know very well, had promised us, on five separate occasions, that he would contribute to the book. I still have no idea why he did not. He is a very, very complicated human being with some outstanding traits and some outstanding faults. He cannot be discussed, not in one paragraph. I think he will be impeached, but he will survive the vote in the Senate and finish his presidency in the year 2000.

Larry King: The concept of the prayer committee is that if it's a helpful tool for you to genuinely change and genuinely deepen your relationship with God, then great! Nothing wrong with it. As long as it's real, anything that brings you closer to God, and doesn't hurt anyone else, is a useful vehicle.

Question: Do you pray regularly, Mr. King?

Larry King: No, but I'm getting there! When I started on this project, I was about a one on a scale of ten. When we finished, I would say I was a four. Since the publication I have prayed twice. Both prayers were answered favorably; both would have been in the category of a "pressure situation."

Larry King: I am a rabbi, and I can say that prayer is an occupational hazard. When people ask me, as a rabbi, do I pray, but of course I pray. But doing these interviews, and speaking to Larry, has changed me, in that it has made me much more real with my own prayer, not just in the words that I wrote, but in the words I speak from the heart.

Diannabn: Larry King has had to leave to prepare for his show tonight, but Rabbi Katsof will be able to take a few more questions.

Question: Did you encounter any surprising revelations about any of the people you interviewed?

Larry King: Goldie Hawn was one! Everyone remembers Goldie from her "Laugh-in" days. I had no idea that she was so spiritual. She has traveled all over the world trying to deepen and strengthen her relationship with God. She asks God every day to allow her to be an instrument to bring God's light into the world. She is a real seeker. Suzanne Somers -- she had a very troubled upbringing. You will remember her from "Three's Company." She had very troubled teenage years. She was in Catholic school, became pregnant out of wedlock, was kicked out of school and married the father, and then a baby of hers was run over by a car and almost killed. And she made a bargain with God, and said, "If you let my baby live, I will do everything I can to be the best possible person." Her baby survived, she joined a 12-step program, and she changed her life! Dr. Larry Dossey shared with us research that was done on the impact of prayer and healing, and that was mind-blowing! Studies on thousands of people, done at Yale University, have shown that those who prayed regularly had half the incidence of heart disease then those that had never prayed. That really got Larry's attention, because he's had a few heart attacks. That got him moved up to a four!

Question: Rabbi, what is your stance on the Wye River agreement? Do you support the Netanyahu cabinet?

Larry King: God is our Father in Heaven. I have seven beautiful children. Nothing drives me crazier than when my children fight with each other. I go ballistic. It's the same thing with God and His children. Everyone is made in the image of God. Every human being. We are all his children. It is upsetting to the Almighty that there is continual fighting between us. I believe the Netanyahu government does sincerely want peace. But they want a peace where they know that their children can live in safety and security, just like we would want for our children.

Diannabn: This will be our last question for tonight....

Question: Is there something universal that binds all religions, no matter how disparate?

Larry King: Yes! Number one, the fact that God is the Father of all of us, in Heaven. Number two, He loves us. Number three, He only wants what's best for us. Number four, we as human beings are hard-wired for spirituality. It's our spiritual genetic destiny. There is no escaping from it. We are all driven to connect with the Almighty. It's our greatest pleasure when we reach out to Him and communicate.

Diannabn: Rabbi Katsof, thank you so much for joining us tonight! And many thanks to Larry King. :)

Larry King: It was our pleasure to be here! I believe that the book, POWERFUL PRAYERS, is a book that can help each one of us deepen our spiritual connection by hearing stories about more than 100 individuals who are very successful and have very deep relationships with God, and at the same time, hearing from Larry how he deepens his connection by trying to understand the prayers of these many different searching individuals. The Almighty should bless each and every one of you in your efforts to come closer to Him. Thank you for joining us!

Diannabn: Thank you! :) Goodnight!
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