“Prayed Out: God in Dark Places”, John Michael Hanvey (Book Review)

Reviewed by Daphne Cook

Prayed Out: God in Dark Places, John Michael Hanvey, Columba Press 119p. ISBN 1-
85607-505-2. Paperback £6.99.

Everyone has a story to tell. Prayed Out is a story of a journey in the life of a man who responded to a call to train and serve as a Franciscan brother at the age of eighteen. He entered that calling and subsequently that to Priesthood with all the confidence of youth. It is an honest story of sharing when that confidence of youth, and the striving to be the perfect priest, was challenged by a journey of living in a gay relationship which was to be for both participants ecstatic and tragic. A relationship of feeling complete one moment,
incomplete and beyond redemption at the next.

It is an honest story of one who discovered his God again in the dark places of his humanity. Through art he has been reminded that his prayer as a young man was to enter the sufferings of Christ for the good of the world. It is his offering of a meditation on Rembrandt’s powerful picture of the Prodigal Son that the author refers to as his autobiography.From this place of being ‘prayed out’, of casting off excess baggage of the past, an unbinding process has come about through many people who have shown love and care.

Finding his place in creation and knowing that God not only loves him, but likes him just as
he is, has been sometimes a harsh, but exciting experience. The reading of this personal story could open a journey that contains similar experiences.

Everyone has a story to tell. This story could be the encouragement for others to travel through darkness to offer the incredible possibilities of God’s grace. The epilogue concludes,

‘All things are new every day, and grace is everywhere; and even if we don’t have the courage for this journey, the one who loves us will make it possible’.

Daphne Cook

Daphne Cook

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