"There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing... Now I struggle for peace." —Comedian Richard Pryor
I was in college when I became aware of Richard Pryor. He was raw, funny and hugely popular. As one of the most influential and controversial comedians ever, he seemed to have it all.
Even then, I knew that comedians are not usually the jovial cut-ups in private that they are on stage, but none of his fans knew how much of his comedy was based on his dark youth. Richard Pryor, the fabulously rich, successful TV and movie star grew up in a brothel and endured horrific abuse. In spite of all the misery, he found he could make people laugh.
Tragically, the violence never left him. He was married seven times to five women. In one interview he said he'd get drunk, beat up the wife of the moment, and then apologize. He battled drug and alcohol abuse and suffered from depression, which in 1980 led him to douse himself with cognac and set himself on fire. At 39 years of age, with burns over 50 percent of his body, he had a one-in-three chance to live.
Amazingly he survived, and after all he'd been through, some of the anger was gone. Pryor could still sell-out a venue for his shows, but was soon diagnosed with M.S. and a few years later, still seeking the peace all his money and success could not buy, he died of a heart attack.
Money, fame, and mansions couldn't give him the peace he wanted, because peace is not found in things, it is given by Christ.* We all need it: Peace in our world, peace in our cities, and peace in our lives. So early every Wednesday, our prayer team prays for peace, because we know where it comes from and Who to ask.
Not as the world gives,
*John 14:27... "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."