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The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice
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The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,216 ratings  ·  81 reviews
In order to understand why people pray, The Energy of Prayer examines the applications and effectiveness of prayer in Buddhist and other spiritual traditions. Arguing that prayer is not about asking some external force for what we need, but about creating an internal environment in which it is easier to get what we want, the book introduces several methods of prayer. These ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published March 10th 2006 by Parallax Press
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Kasey Jueds
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This little book is surprisingly rich--it's the first of Thich Nhat Hanh's I've read, and offers such an expansive view of prayer. It's one of those books I wanted to begin again from page 1 as soon as I finished reading it. Among the heartful and provocative topics I remember (off the top of my head and in no particular order) are: The Lord's Prayer explained from a Buddhist perspective; the idea of praying to one's ancestors and/or to living family members/loved ones; questions and thoughts ...more
Nimue Brown
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful little book exploring the idea of prayer from a Buddhist perspective. It includes considerations of why we pray and who we pray to, as well as offering some simple prayers from this tradition. With its emphasis on responsibility for self, Buddhism is in some ways less akin to the Judeo-Christian tradition and more in tune with Pagan thinking. In many traditions the idea of prayer involves putting things into God’s hands. A Buddhist remains responsible for themselves, and so ...more
Really disappointing. I was really disillusioned that Thich Nhat Hanh bought into so much mysticism that prayer can magically transmit healing or somehow or another send magical beams to change things.

I was expecting a really insightful exploration of how prayer changes your own inner life and how that change can transmit a ripple outward. I was expecting an exploration of techniques across traditions on methods of accomplishing this. But this was worthless superstition and exploration of
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book answered a ton of questions for me. It gave some really good examples of how you can pray for something and it can appear that you don't have an answer. Or why some prayers appear to be answered and others are not. The explanation gave me a lot of peace of mind.
Thich Nhat Hanh also gave a really good Buddhist analysis of the "Our Father" prayer. I could hang with much of it but there were some parts of the explanation that really went far over my head. I will read it again some day and
Paula Cappa
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hanh writes a marvel of a book on the effectiveness of prayer both from a Buddhist perspective and a Christian perspective. Quite an achievement. He asks, “Does prayer work?” and “What about the will of God?” The energies of mindfulness, meditation, and Christianity are well presented. There is much to admire in this Buddhist monk and his wise understanding of East and West philosophies and spiritual practices. He reminds us that prayer in Buddhism is reciting the sutra. But also cites the ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm curious about prayer because although I'm a non believer and have trouble even with the concept of 'spiritual', I do sometimes get the distinct impression that prayer helps. This is a short book that starts out by comparing Buddhist ideas of prayer with those of other faiths. If you do have a faith, this author never tries to lure you away from it but offers Buddhist techniques as something to use alongside your own traditions. The latter part of the book has some interesting ideas ideas ...more
Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I loved the way he can share his teachings and regardless of your faith practice or journey, it applies. Particularly like the concept of praying to (or I prefer through) your grandparents, or ancestors, and the idea that their cells are part of you. That connectedness is very powerful. Also, that no matter what our tradition, we all share the desire to unite with God.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved the meditation practices in this book, they were simple and therefore easy to recall.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I depends on where you're at of course, your practice, your link to/through or understanding of Buddhism, but - does he write bad books ever? None I've come across.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
First, some context: I have had enough experience with various spiritual traditions to have benefited in some way from all of them, although it isn't always clear how certain words like "prayer" or "God" used by one tradition translate into my personal practice and daily experience let alone compare to the writings from a different tradition (like Buddhism, Advaita, etc). I originally borrowed the book from the library because I wanted to better understand what the "Buddhist" perspective on ...more
May 17, 2009 rated it liked it
The best part of The Energy of Prayer was the section at the end with specific meditations. I particularly loved the prayer/meditation that centered on visualizing yourself and your parents as five-year olds. Having read many other books by Thich Nhat Hanh, I was expecting a little more than what I found in this volume. The only statement, for lack of a better word, that stuck me as profound was the notion of praying to people that have passed away. In the past, I've heard of people praying to ...more
Prayer as an inclusive, accessible practice that is not tied to a particular religious or spiritual affiliation... but rather can help anyone create a healthy life through the power of awareness and intention. Ultimately, author Thich Nhat Hanh presents prayer as more than just relaxation: is it a way to satisfy the basic human need to make a connection with something larger than our everyday self (the Universe!) :)

In order to understand why people pray, The Energy of Prayer examines the
Mark Robison
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked Thich Nhat Hanh’s premise: After meeting with some Catholic nuns, two Buddhist nuns told him that it seemed like Christianity was easier than Buddhism because you just pray and put your faith in God whereas with Buddhism, you have to do everything yourself. So he wanted to examine prayer in a way that would help both Buddhists and those from prayer-using faiths. It was intellectually interesting to read how he reconciled prayer with Buddhism’s central tenet of seeking proof that an idea ...more
Carter West
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
TNH's characteristic calm and sweetness shine all the way through this little manual. He offers sound teaching regarding the context of authentic prayer, observing that prayer involves our whole body when done wholly, and that true prayer requires the backing of a commitment to practice one's faith. The book is especially strong in bringing to bear a mystical perspective on the spirit of prayer. Monks and nuns have for centuries known that prayer involves the mutual participation of God and the ...more
Artemisia Hunt
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Energy of Prayer is an inspiring, practical and deeply examined look at prayer and mediation that is full of many pearls of wisdom from the beautiful heart and spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh. Indeed, every one of this author's books that I've read has been like a blessing, and too, a beautiful reminder that a heart of compassion and true peacefulness of the mind are attainable, and are valuable and necessary personal goals, in a world where greed, excess and violence can so often seem to be the ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Thich Nhat Hanh titles his book The Energy of Prayer, but this book is primarily about meditation, and in my mind prayer and meditation are two separate entities. For me, prayer is just talking with God and is not laborious. Whereas entering into a state of meditation requires considerable effort, in that respect I agree with Thich Nhat Hanh. He offers insights into the benefits of meditation, and at the very end of the book, he offers a few techniques on how to further your own meditative ...more
This book is full of insight! It is the first book of Thich Nhat Hanh's I have read and I absolutely look forward to reading more of his books. "The Energy of Prayer" is a fantastic short read with several gems of knowledge sprinkled throughout. One of the things I love about this book in particular is that although he focuses mostly on Buddhism culture, the concepts are easily applied to any religion that believes in a Greater Force in the Universe. I also feel this book was a good starting ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
As usual, Hanh has some very insightful observations about the mind, the spirit, and their union. Basically, this little book says that prayer and positive thought can help in medicine, in case of illness, hard times, or anything. It's almost like lovingkindness in prayer form, and I really liked that idea of sending positivity to people in other places. I will definitely add some of his meditations to my practice.
Priscilla Lotfy
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the most gentle, sensible and informative book I've ever read about spirituality and prayer. Thich Nhat Hanh so easily made sense out of a lifetime of confusion about many things including the Lord's Prayer, a prayer that I've prayed my whole life never really understanding it's meaning or relevance.
A wonderful book that I will reread many times and make it's practices an important part of my life.
Kara Beal
I hoped this book would inspire my prayer practice. I've heard interviews with Tich Nhat Hanh and was fully aware that he's Buddhist, but didn't expect that to interfere with my appreciation of this book from my own Christian perspective. It did interfere however. I had a hard time getting past the part where he encourages praying to trees. It became too foreign to me, and I ended up not enjoying it.
Meaghan McEntee
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Thich Nhat Hanh was my spiritual guru in college. I lived a very non-ordinary life until recently and sought out spiritual writing materials at a young age. This book, like many of Hanh's, is both profound and approachable. The ideas and practices are quite simple and capable of supporting a sizeable shift in a person's life if they are seeking such. Recommend to anyone new to this genre of writing.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is really good and it's open my perspective of prayer. As a Buddhist I ever thought that prayer is useless since I believe that what will happen to me is depend on my action. I will responsible of my own karma. But now I realize that sometimes prayer is useful, yes it's not always work but at least it can strengthen your belief, hope and faith.
Hope I can finished this book by end of this year.
R.K. Goff
Nov 08, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a sweet little book. It explains Thich Nhat Hanh's view of prayer, the various types he uses, and how it's closely related to the Christian understanding of the concept (a matter of debate, no doubt, but a very interesting read).

It has some very beautiful meditation/prayers in the appendix, and as always Hanh's style is calm and beautiful to read.

I would probably check it out from the library before deciding if I wanted to buy it, but it is worth reading.
Garvin Goei
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: buddhism, philosophy
Maybe the most unrecommended Thich Nhat Hanh's book.

Hanh didn't mention anything scientific/empiric about prayer effect, only said that prayer is a form of mindfulness without told any proves of prayer.

Also, Hanh only talked about the unity of universe. We are same with the people we pray for, with the god, the Buddha, etc. I see it has not any benefit to the readers (or at least, to me).

I like Hanh's books, but this one is disappointing.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These words speak to all people.

This is a wonderful book. It is filled with insight and wisdom. I read a passage every day. The words in this book speak to all people, and to all religions. Even atheists will find these words speak a universal truth. I often find myself thinking about the profound impact Thich Nhat Han has on my life. All I can say is a heartfelt "thank you" and pay his kindness forward.
Sep 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
i never really knew what prayer was or how it was supposed to work. thich nhat hanh writes clearly about meditation and the power of awareness and and intention. the author is a buddhist,poet and scholar and the reader is often reminded that 'prayer' is not religious but something that all human beings can benefit from when we look at it as something that helps us to hear our inner and higher selves.
Trey Nowell
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent book by Thich Nhat Hanh I would encourage any reader being willing to sit down for a moment and read. His wisdom is very insightful and teaches in this book that prayer is more than just asking for what you want. Also it draws excellent parallels between the Christian and Buddhist ways of viewing prayer and applying it to our lives.
May 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
I blame myself for my own expectations when reading this book. I assumed because of the title, much of it would be about How to Deepen a Spiritual Practice - instead it was about the need to have a spiritual practice. Only the last few pages had meditation instruction - I felt it was a little too late...
May 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Integrating mediation and prayer together to find peace. Thich Nhat Hnah explains the relationship between the two in developing your practice with the understanding of the power of prayer. He even suggests that 21 century medicine is accepting the power of meditation and prayer in healing. Why would one not accept prayer?
Darcy Gregg
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
this is a simple book offering TNH views on prayer and gives you some examples at the end. I didn't get anything new from this book unlike his other book I read which made me think about things in a different light and also gave me new things to think about. This book was a nice easy relaxing read.
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Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who now lives in southwest France where he was in exile for many years. Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo, Thích Nhất Hạnh joined a Zen (Vietnamese: Thiền) monastery at the age of 16, and studied Buddhism as a novitiate. Upon his ordination as a monk in 1949, he assumed the Dharma name Thích Nhất Hạnh. Thích is an honorary ...more
“The most important matter for a practitioner is to be able to break through the veil of the material plane in order to enter the ultimate dimension and see the interconnection between us and all other phenomena in the world around us.” 1 likes
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