Augsburg Fortress

Ask Me for a Blessing (You Know You Need One)

Ask Me for a Blessing (You Know You Need One)

What is a blessing? Do you have to believe to receive one? Can you doubt while you pray? And can you extend grace to others while still desperately in need of it yourself?

Once a week Episcopal priest Adrian Dannhauser stands outside her Manhattan church beside a chalkboard sign that reads "Ask me for a blessing (because God knows you need one)." Passersby stop, chat, and ask for prayer: for a sick friend, an addicted son, an upcoming job interview, the state of our nation, or the grief of our world. Bus drivers sometimes open their doors for a quick prayer before the light turns green, and someone once took her to meet their doorman so she could bless him too. Half of those who stop are in crisis. Someone always cries. A few are simply curious.

Through the heartfelt, frank, and sincere stories of her unique ministry, Dannhauser offers glimpses into the tender, holy, and sometimes hilarious moments of sidewalk prayers. With a potent blend of reverence and irreverence, as well as insights from Christian scriptures, she delves into the power that ancient ideas--blessing, forgiveness, miracles, and prayer--hold in a disenchanted world. For people of Christian faith, other faiths, or no faith at all, having spiritual conversations, even awkward ones with strangers on the street, can help us face our vulnerability, where we may discover a grace sufficient for all.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506468044
  • eBook ISBN 9781506468051
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
  • Pages 210
  • Publication Date September 20, 2022


"What does blessing mean in the dirty, busy streets of a city? What does it mean for believers and nonbelievers, for the suffering and foolish and angry and afraid? In this beautifully real book, Adrian Dannhauser shows how the hands-on practice of public blessing invites everyone to see, to desire, and to become more."

Sara Miles, author of City of God: Faith in the Streets and Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

"Adrian Dannhauser knows that sacred speech and spiritual conversations are too important to be handled without care. She understands that a blessing is more life-giving and more life-saving than its popular usage. Dannhauser writes as someone who has spent years standing on the sidewalk of our culture, whispering good news to passing pedestrians. Ask Me for a Blessing is a much-needed renovation project for important spiritual ideas--blessing, yes, but also forgiveness, redemption, prayer, and even grace. What a gift!"

Jonathan Merritt, contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch

"Adrian Dannhauser removes the hashtag from the word blessing and returns all the grace, vulnerability, and love that a true blessing conveys. A nourishing book for everyone hungering for spiritual connection."

Sophfronia Scott, author of The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton

"Beautifully written, unabashedly honest, Ask Me for a Blessing is a refreshingly humble reflection on the soul's ache for meaning. Like a late-night confessional among close friends, Adrian Dannhauser offers an intimate, compassionate, luminous reflection on the inner anxieties and struggles we all carry. I recommend this book to anyone seeking wisdom on the spiritual journey."

Mark Yaconelli, author of Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

"Imagine walking down a busy New York sidewalk. You see a blackboard that says 'Ask Me for a Blessing.' Curious, you stop. A warm-hearted and utterly approachable woman in a clergy collar listens to you and prays for you. You're so intrigued, you want to learn more, so you set up a lunch meeting. This book is like that conversation over lunch. You'll be (wait for it) blessed!"

Brian McLaren, author of many books, including Do I Stay Christian?

"The world is starved for kindness. People are yearning to be heard. And the bulk of this population is not behind stained glass--they are in the streets. Through this beautiful book, we stand with Rev. Adrian Dannhauser as she courageously holds space in that pain, teaching us how to be present, vulnerable, and, most of all, a blessing."

Rev. Susan Sparks, preacher, comedian, and author of Laugh Your Way to Grace


"Dannhauser, a priest at Church of the Incarnation in Manhattan, debuts with a compassionate meditation on the power of blessings. The author reflects on what she's learned about faith from her weekly practice of administering prayers to strangers on the street while standing outside her Midtown church with a sign that reads, 'Ask me for a blessing'.... The anecdotes make for captivating miniature character portraits that brim with folk wisdom [and make] for a touching Christian variation on Humans of New York, with humanity and insight to spare."

Publishers Weekly

"Dannhauser maintains an empathetic, inclusive voice, and her care and concern are contagious. One of Dannhauser's regulars once told the author that, after receiving a blessing, she began to notice a 'string of sacredness all around her.' This book is a lovely blessing in itself, encouraging readers to look for signs of love and keep them flowing." 


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