The Rev. Benjamin Pratt

Denomination: United Methodist Church (UMC)

Dr. Pratt is a retired United Methodist pastor and pastoral counselor.  He was the founding pastor of a congregation that remains, after 48 years, one of the most racially integrated of the Virginia Annual Conference.  Then, for thirty years he was a pastoral counselor on Capitol Hill and in the City of Fairfax. 

For six of the nine years of his retirement, Benjamin has been a caregiver for his wife Judith.  Among the many positives of that relationship, Benjamin has written a book of spiritual practices and disciplines in A GUIDE FOR CAREGIVERS, Keeping Your Spirit Healthy When Your Caregiver Duties and Responsibilities Are Dragging you Down. This is his second book published by in three years. His first book is a moral inventory and Bible study with James Bond, Ian Fleming's Seven Deadlier Sins & oo7's Moral Compass.

Benjamin and Judith reside in Fairfax, Virginia. Benjamin says, "Personally, I am a Christian, an avid reader, a bicyclist, a suburban gardener, and a fine woodworker. My drinks: shaken not stirred.  I have good friends, and we nurture each other well.  I am a dedicated family man who takes great delight in his children and grandchildren.  Judith and I are in our forty-ninth year of marriage."


Articles by The Rev. Benjamin Pratt

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Benjamin Pratt: Love Is a Verb

Wednesday December 16, 2020
When I began my work as a pastoral counselor one of the persons who came to me was a woman in her fifties dying of cancer. I can still remember her saying, “It’s not dying that scares me, it’s my fear of dying alone that haunts me.”

Benjamin Pratt: As I Lay Dying . . . in this pandemic

Monday August 03, 2020
Who will stand beside us as we die? In the midst of a pandemic, this question has arisen in countless families in America and around the world. Who will hold our hand? Offer a prayer? Until this year, the answer was a reassuring memory of generations of loved ones who have died. We all have stories we can share....

Benjamin Pratt: In These Seasons of Life and Death

Thursday May 14, 2020
We enjoyed naming her—Patience, was the final selection. We considered other names: Unfluffable, Purrsisstent, Queen for the Month, Constance, Perseverant. Patience seemed the most accurate, stable, defining name for our Mallard Mama in these restless, unstable times....

Benjamin Pratt: Faith in a Pandemic: ‘Now thank we all our God …’

Tuesday March 17, 2020
"Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices; who from our mothers’ arms, hath blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today." Those words of this well-known hymn are particularly meaningful in our world right now, when the coronavirus has become a pandemic. Ironically, they were penned in 1636-1637, during an outbreak of yet another terrible plague.

Benjamin Pratt on the James Bond Bible Study: ”˜Do you have the courage to open your eyes?’

Monday September 24, 2018
“Do you have the courage to open your eyes to the many guises of evil in our times?” That’s a line from a reviewer’s recommendation of my book, Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass, which was published 10 years ago this autumn.

Ben Pratt: In this time of turbulence: How can we learn to talk to each other again?

Monday June 25, 2018
Civility requires courage. In fact, that kind of courage may be the missing ingredient in our anger-drenched era of daily conflict. I was reminded of this truth by an old friend as we compared the conflicts we faced in the 1960s with the conflicts we face today. My friend is 61 now. I’m a good deal older.

Ben Pratt: How come we can’t talk to each other anymore?

Wednesday September 20, 2017
Is your heart still broken over the evil that came to Charlottesville, Virginia, one month ago? As I ponder that horrific eruption of hate, the question that troubles my heart is as old as a folk song from the ’60s: Why can’t we talk to each other anymore?

Benjamin Pratt: Enough! Remembering that Greed Is a Deadly Sin

Thursday February 09, 2017
The parable was the main teaching tool of Jesus. A parable is a mirror into which each person is able to see a representation and measure of our soul’s journey in God’s world. The parable was also the main tool used by best-selling novelist Ian Fleming, the creator of the super-agent James Bond 007.

Benjamin Pratt: The Workbench

Saturday January 28, 2017
At this remarkable milestone in world history””500 years from the start of the Reformation and 200 years from Thoreau’s birth””we invited popular author and columnist Benjamin Pratt to reflect on the challenges of his own life’s work as a pastor, counselor, writer, father, grandfather and talented woodworker.

Benjamin Pratt: Martin Luther 2017: 500 Years of Reformation

Tuesday January 17, 2017
To kick off this historic year, we invite author and columnist Benjamin Pratt to stir our reflections on the Reformation by describing his own recent visit to Luther’s home...

Benjamin Pratt: World Series spiritual recap: Did you watch the faces?

Tuesday November 08, 2016
Did you watch the faces? One minute somber; the next radiating joy and excitement. Hands cupped, spired upward over mouth and nose, eyes fixed in reverent gaze, lips mouthing hope. Faith is reflected in eyes and faces that light up with joy””and then contrast with a somber, disgruntled doubtful stare.

Benjamin Pratt: Review: Adam Henig’s ”˜Under One Roof’ will inspire you, too

Thursday September 01, 2016
Integration came slowly to America’s favorite sport, even though it went well among players on the field. Ben Pratt reviews Adam Henig’s ”˜Under One Roof’.

Benjamin Pratt shares: The Holy Fool, A Parable

Sunday August 07, 2016
'An Anxious America.' That was the front-page headline the New York Times, reporting on the relentless stream of violent tragedies this summer. Readers who are older may recall the agonizing summers of the late 1960s. Even as we mourn and worry, millions of us turn to the deep resources of faith. Author and pastoral counselor Benjamin Pratt offers a parable about a timeless religious image.

Benjamin Pratt: Honoring My Father… Just as He Was

Sunday June 19, 2016
I am exactly the same age my father was when he died in 1985. There is something quite poignant and sobering about facing this life marker. I suspect it is reason enough to explain my recent pondering of life with my father””the sweet and bitter, the tough and tender, the proud and shameful.

Benjamin Pratt: Generation to Generation--Pitching Baseballs and Values

Tuesday May 10, 2016
“PLAY BALL!” The clarion call proclaims spring in sand lots, city streets, country roads, mega-stadiums and, of course, back yards.

Benjamin Pratt: Why do we gather together?

Tuesday February 16, 2016
Why do we gather together? One basic reason: We need to be fed. And while that is a spiritual metaphor for millions of us, Ben Pratt reminds us at the start of Lent that our quest for sustenance this year should move us to remember the countless families for whom that is a literal need.

Benjamin Pratt: Depth of a Salesman

Saturday September 05, 2015
Benjamin Pratt is a veteran counselor, scholar, teacher and author, but first and foremost he is a storyteller who recognizes the power of story to convey deeper truths about the values that matter most to us.

Ben Pratt: Marriage Stories for a New Day

Wednesday July 22, 2015
Dr. Benjamin Pratt is a retired pastoral counselor and author of the new book Short Stuff from a Tall Guy. He writes often about the complex values surrounding marriage””and now, as he shares several of his own stories, he is inviting our readers to share as well.

Have You Established a Memorial? A Sacred Place in your Heart?

Friday May 22, 2015
Ben Pratt remembers the losses we have experiences this Memorial Day.

Do you see the world bathed in purple?

Monday May 11, 2015
This spring, Ben Pratt walks out into the purple to find hope and joy, to rejuvenate his soul after a long, grey winter.

Do you speak Motherese? Could we learn Parentese?

Monday May 04, 2015
Author Ben Pratt writes about the sacred (new) language between parent and newborn.

Frederick Buechner and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Wednesday April 15, 2015
Ben Pratt shares a story of Buechner and Oz

What stories make a difference? 'Bambi, a Life in the Forest'

Monday April 06, 2015
Ben Pratt reveals the piece of literature that inspired his recent prose poem, then issues a new challenge.

What stories make a difference?'The Two of Us'

Monday March 23, 2015
Ben Pratt shares a prose poem he wrote recently and encourages readers to take a stab at what classic novel it is based on. If you get it right, you might win a signed copy of his latest book "Short Stuff From a Tall Guy."

Establish the Work of Our Hands

Monday February 16, 2015
Benjamin Pratt shares a beautiful, touching poem about seeing his father in his own two hands. Be sure to look out for Ben's new book, Short Stuff from a Tall Guy, coming out Feb. 23, 2015!

Touch Has a Memory

Monday February 02, 2015
Author Ben Pratt shares three short passages that make us think about the many ways "touch has a memory."

Wake up! ”˜How far the unknown transcends’

Monday January 05, 2015
Author Benjamin Pratt is back with a simple story of surgery, happiness angel?

I Will Light a Candle For You

Tuesday December 16, 2014
Ben Pratt shares a new story about a special kind of gift.

A Mother's Plea

Monday December 01, 2014
Ben Pratt returns with an honest tale of a mother's plea.

What Do Strong, Balanced Relationships Look Like?

Monday September 08, 2014
Author Benjamin Pratt reflects on a recent interview with Naomi Schaefer Riley published at Read the Spirit magazine, then shares a photograph and poem, which he encourages readers to pass along.

Lou Gehrig: The Stricken Hero was 'The Luckiest Man...'

Monday June 30, 2014
Author Benjamin Pratt writes about Lou Gehrig, the luckiest man alive.

Why Caregiving is Fuel for 'Church Growth'

Monday June 23, 2014
Author Benjamin Pratt is joined by Read the Spirit Editor David Crumm and contributor Martin Davis to explain how an active caregiving program is fuel for 'church growth'.

Changing the Tune at the 'Organ Recital'

Tuesday June 17, 2014
Author Benjamin Pratt writes about how to change the tune when an 'organ recital' becomes to melancholy.

The Cry of the Disabled Caregiver: "I'm Not A Good Patient!"

Monday June 09, 2014
Author Benjamin Pratt writes about his difficulties adjusting from caregiver to patient in this week's column.

Celebrating the Courage of Simeon Booker

Monday May 19, 2014
Ben Pratt writes about the work of peacemaker Simeon Booker.

Your Body Wont Lie. Your Mind Will.

Monday May 12, 2014
Dr. Ben Pratt writes about the importance of listening to your body and its necessity to rest.

Did I Say Anything About Anger?

Monday March 24, 2014
Benjamin Pratt shares one caregiver's story and explores the idea and importance of forgiveness.

Simple Gratitude for Simple Gifts

Monday March 10, 2014
Dr. Benjamin Pratt shares a free-verse poem, capturing the happiness we find in helping others.

Clearing Boulders: In Our Culture, Forgiveness is a Surprising Ending

Monday February 24, 2014
Rev. Benjamin Pratt shares a (literally) moving story

'Nebraska'...Where Wishes (Could) Come True

Monday February 10, 2014
Dr. Benjamin Pratt writes about the movie 'Nebraska', and reflects on the many lessons parents and caregivers can take from this movie.

Holocaust Remembrance: A pilgrimage to Dachau

Monday January 27, 2014
Rev. Benjamin Pratt writes a poem about his visit to the Nazi Concentration camp Dachau, entitled 'What Color is Dachau?'

Foot Washing: As a wedding ritual?

Monday January 13, 2014
After a long career in ministry, I was astounded when I first heard the idea. A friend said, I attended a wedding recently and for the first time witnessed a mutual foot washing by the bride and groom. Have you ever seen that?  

A Death Observed

Monday November 11, 2013
When my father died, I gave myself the straight-forward advice that I had shared with others who had lost someone close throughout my long career in pastoral counseling: 'Every emotion, idea and action in your life over the next six months pivots on your father's dying. Don't make any major decisions, plans or changes for the next year. Pay careful and cautious attention. Be tender and gentle with yourself.' It was not long until I forgot my own advice.

Humbly holding kernels of Gratitude & Awe

Monday October 14, 2013
This is a Day1 Key Voice article by The Rev. Benjamin Pratt.

Interactive Humor: The Broom, Part 2

Monday October 07, 2013
In an earlier column, we challenged readers to-well, _ **to laugh** _! Out loud. Tell jokes. Seriously, as a pastoral counselor, I have recommended laughter many times.

Interactive Humor: The Broom

Monday September 16, 2013
_ **P** opular author and columnist Benjamin Pratt wants you to have some  **fun**! His recent [column about 50 years of marriage]( has been read by countless men and women around the world. Once again, Benjamin took your wisdom back to his keyboard-and now he invites you to share a new column far and wide. **And, this time, there's a prize! ** _

Love Is What You Go Through With Someone

Tuesday September 03, 2013
Fifty-four years ago, I met Judith. As a very shy teenager who had dated very little, I remember our first encounter. An electric jolt went through my body and stunned me to silence. I translated the jolt as a confirmation that I had met the girl of my dreams.

Calling for help in a panic?

Monday July 15, 2013
Caregiving expert the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Pratt writes about the tempting feeling when people regard us as super heroes ... and how life often intervenes.

Open Outcry: How sharing ideas inspires people nationwide

Tuesday July 02, 2013
How an idea from a column last year turned into an inspiring sermon by the Rev. Henry Brinton and is moving virally across the Internet. You can help share these ideas.

A Quiet Heart

Tuesday June 11, 2013
In the exceptional busyness of life, an amazing interruption pushed me toward a quieter heart.

Hello. Goodbye.

Saturday May 25, 2013
Sharing compassion in each hello and goodbye.

No Suggestions Please; Just Read

Monday April 15, 2013
Standing with faithful presence along side our beloved who is in pain.

Post Easter, Jesus Waits...with breakfast

Tuesday April 02, 2013
A breakfast cooked over charcoal by Jesus in Cuba

Intimate Lenten Journey 7: Sacred Doors into Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

Monday March 25, 2013
Prayer Images for the three most significant days of our Christian Year.

Intimate Departures: 'Look into it.' And 'Wonder'

Monday March 18, 2013
Sixth Lenten Meditation is about walking a little farther with our loved ones on the road to eternity.

In Death...Is Life

Monday March 11, 2013
Even the natural world reveals that something dies for us to live.

Open Outcry by Jesus and Amos on Sequestration

Wednesday March 06, 2013
A paraphrase of the angry outcry of Jesus and Amos for our sequestration deadlocked times.

Intimate Legacy

Tuesday March 05, 2013
You can sense it in the wood--imperfection and grace.

Surprised and Blessed

Monday February 25, 2013
This is the third weekly Lenten meditation. The focus is the surprise and blessing of presence.

Rituals and Practices

Thursday February 21, 2013
Rituals and practices provide rhythm, familiarity and balance in our chaotic and ritual-starved lives.


Thursday February 14, 2013
Deep calls unto deep in the love between grandfather and grandson.

Peacemakers' Prayer: Angel in the Dump

Wednesday January 16, 2013
God confronts us in the most unexpected places--even the City Dump.

Facing Our Biggest Fear: Come Rewrite the Calendar with Me!

Thursday January 10, 2013
An invitation to rewrite our calendar to sustain a healthy spirit and prevail while conducting our duties and responsibilities as caregivers.

Prayer for Light in Dark Times of Accidie

Wednesday January 02, 2013
A prayer to restore spiritual energy to our depleted souls.

Welcoming Spirits of A Christmas Carol: And the Grace that Flows around Them

Sunday December 09, 2012
Finding Grace with Ghosts of Dickens' Christmas Carol

Adam, God's Beloved

Thursday October 18, 2012
A review of Henri Nouwen's last book, recently republished in paperback by Oris.

Open Outcry

Sunday October 07, 2012
A call to Compassion by hearing the Open Outcry of the poor.

James Bond: Shake up your Church's Bible Studies

Thursday August 16, 2012
James a bondservant (James 1:1) and Ian Fleming's Seven Deadlier Sins

The Brass Communion Rail

Monday July 16, 2012
A prayer for pastoral presence in unexpected places.

Bread and Hunger Games

Tuesday June 26, 2012
Posing moral questions for our searching souls.

Letters of Faith

Thursday May 31, 2012
The value of personal letters for ourselves and our tradition.

Baseball and Grace

Thursday May 10, 2012
On our yearning to be special and equal, and what Jesus might say about it.


Tuesday April 17, 2012's newest Key Voice blogger, author and minister Dr. Benjamin Pratt, offers an inspiring post on being pulled into God's future.