Last month, musician and Village Voice advice columnist Andrew W.K. offered some incredible advice to a reader who identified himself as “Son of a Right-Winger.” The man wrote to W.K. saying he was no longer able to “deal” with his father because he “has basically turned into a total a**hole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics.”
In his response, W.K. quickly got to the heart of the matter writing, “The world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world.” He went on to encourage the reader to “love your dad because he’s your father, because he made you, because he thinks for himself, and most of all because he is a person.”
On Wednesday, the Village Voice ran the latest installment of W.K.’s weekly column, “Ask Andrew W.K.” – this time written to a reader who doubts the validity and power of prayer. Glenn read W.K.’s response on radio this morning.
The reader, who uses the penname “Not Gonna Pray,” explained his brother was recently diagnosed with cancer. As his family attempts to make sense of the startling news, “Not Gonna Pray” says their grandmother suggesting something that “has got me really angry.”
“She said we should all just ‘pray for my brother,’ like prayer would actually save his life,” he writes. “Just thinking about it now makes my fists clench with frustration.”
The reader goes on to say their family needs to “actively help my brother and do actual things to save him, not kneeling on the ground and mumbling superstitious nonsense.”
Ultimately, “Not Gonna Pray” wants advice on how to “explain” this reasoning to their family. Needless to say, the person was probably not expecting to get this advice from W.K.: “I want you to pray for your brother right now.”
Below is an excerpt from W.K.’s response:
Dear Not Gonna Pray,
I’m deeply sorry to hear about your brother’s diagnosis. I’m sending you my thoughts, and my heart goes out to your brother and your whole family. Guess what? That was me praying for you. I think the idea of “praying” is a lot less complicated, a lot more powerful, and a little different than you may realize. In fact, I’ll bet you’re already praying all the time and just don’t realize it.
Prayer is a type of thought. It’s a lot like meditation — a type of very concentrated mental focus with passionate emotion directed towards a concept or situation, or the lack thereof. But there’s a special X-factor ingredient that makes “prayer” different than meditation or other types of thought. That X-factor is humility. This is the most seemingly contradictory aspect of prayer and what many people dislike about the feeling of praying.
I want you to pray for your brother right now. As a gesture to your grandmother — who, if she didn’t exist, neither would you. I want you to pray right now, just for the sake of challenging yourself. I want you to find a place alone, and kneel down — against all your stubborn tendencies telling you not to — and close your eyes and think of one concentrated thought: your brother.
Let the feelings take you away from yourself. Let them bring you closer to him. Let yourself be overwhelmed by the unyielding and uncompromising emotion of him until you lose yourself in it.
Focus on him until you feel like your soul is going to burst. Tell him in your heart and soul that you love him. Feel that love pouring out of you from all sides. Then get up and go be with him and your family. And you can tell your grandmother that you prayed for your brother.
Love, Andrew W.K.
Read the full column HERE.
“That’s some of the best stuff I ever read. I love this guy,” Glenn concluded. “Here’s a guy who’s learned how to be involved and make a positive difference, and I personally think that’s what the world is in need of.”