Patrick Allen's new book, 'For Today: A Prayer When Life Gets Messy,' gives readers tools to deal with pitfalls of living

Newberg resident Patrick Allen has published his fourth book, a spiritual story about surviving tough times, titled "For Today: A Prayer When Life Gets Messy."SUBMITTED PHOTO - 'For Today' is Newberg native and retired George Fox University professor Patrick Allen's latest book.

Allen, a retired professor from George Fox University, is the author of a 2015 book "Morning Resolve: To Live a Simple, Sincere and Serene Life," and has also co-authored two academic books. His new book is intended for "Christians who find themselves in times of difficulty, tough times, when the prayer is to simply make it through the day and get home by dark."

His new book is designed as a bookend to "Morning Resolve," both of which were published by Cascade Books. The two books "address almost all aspects of the spiritual journey – either growing a fruitful spiritual garden or just trying to get home before dark," according to a press release.

Allen said he got the idea for both books from Episcopalian prayers put out on a daily reader. He said a prayer on the front of the reader was the inspiration for "Morning Resolve," while the prayer on the back of the reader, about just getting through the day, served as the inspiration for "For Today." Allen

"It's a really nice prayer during difficult times for people," he said. "At one time or another we all face difficult times."

Allen added that the prayer ends by asking for the strength to go on and help other people.

"I've been captivated by that prayer for years and wanted to turn it into a book-length mediation" complete with his own stories of needing strength, he said.

One such story came when he had recently been hired as the officer of a bank in Kansas. He said the mechanism by which the bank accepted deposits wasn't working and he was sitting at his desk when he found out. It was a hot day and Allen said he thought he shouldn't have to go out and fix the machine and get the jammed deposit.

"I wanted someone else to do it," he said.

So Allen went and found a man named Otto elsewhere in the building and asked him to go fix it. Otto didn't think it was his job, but Allen told him to do it or else he'd fire him. Allen turned to leave, but immediately regretted what he'd just said. So he went back to Otto and apologized.

Allen went out to fix the machine and saw Otto had followed him. When he tried to tell Otto he didn't have to, Allen said Otto said he'd be happy to help him. Back inside, while they were washing their hands, he noticed Otto had a tattoo of numbers on his arm. Otto told him he'd been a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.

"A little while later I was doing a master's degree and I was assigned a project on Holocaust survivors," Allen said. "I called Otto for help. He put together a group of about a dozen Holocaust survivors in Kansas City for me to interview to write my thesis."

He said the lesson he took away from all this, which he put in the book, is to not lose faith in other people and if you treat people decently, good things will happen.

"I hope that readers will gain encouragement and a sense of hope and the sense that life is messy," he said. "We can count on that. We can also count on God is faithful."

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