by Sukey HowardJanuary, 1999
For Larry King, everything starts with a question; he has made a living asking tough questions and having conversations about them for over 40 years. King calls himself an agnostic, a spiritually challenged yahoo, so the questions, why do people pray? and what is a prayer? were truly perplexing to him. In typical King fashion, he turned to the well-known and the powerful (his usual constituency). Powerful Prayers: Conversations on Faith, Hope, and the Human Spirit with Today's Most Provocative People (3 hours), written with Rabbi Irwin Katsof, is the distillation of the answers he received in hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of transcripts, notes, and stories a revealing look at intimate thoughts, private moments, and powerful prayers. Fast-talking, impatiently good-natured, always provocative, King shares what the Dalai Lama, Barbara Bush, Pete Seeger, Willie Nelson, Muhammad Ali, and Jack Kevorkian, among many, many others told him about their own ways of connecting to God. King, always a skeptic, found it tough going sometimes, but he persevered and ended up a little less puzzled, a little more willing to admit that prayer may polish the soul. I think his listeners will be grateful that he kept going and produced an unusually compelling audio that never instructs, but always informs.