For years, the Rev. Dr. Joe Emerson has been a go-to guy for prayers. Whether kicking off a collegiate sporting event, helping to make sense of a national tragedy, celebrating the career of a devoted public servant, or mourning the loss of a beloved local friend, Emerson has articulated the deepest thoughts and emotions of those gathered before him with great aplomb.

His words resonated with so many, so often, that he was accustomed to requests for printed copies of his prayers. But Emerson's photocopying days are over.

A compilation of his prayers are now available in a paperback Prayers from the Mind and Heart (Authorhouse). In addition to the public prayers, the book offers the retired minister's prayers for special days throughout the year, as well his thoughts on the struggles and joys of everyday life.

"Joe Emerson's prayers speak directly from his heart to the hearts and souls of all who experience them," said Charles H. Webb, Dean Emeritus of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. "His poignant and imaginative use of words to express our deepest feelings, yearnings and highest joys penetrates to the core of our beings."

The book's title describes his prayers as for both the heart and mind, is based on the statement of purpose at First United Methodist Church, where Emerson, now retired, has preached since 1995 - and a total of more than 50 years in pulpits around the country.

"We don't believe that you have to take your head off with your heat when you walk into church," said Emerson. He describes the book as a good devotional for thoughtful believers who struggle and rejoice.

"Prayer is a statement of our beliefs," he said. "More important than our choice of words is being open and honest. You can't con God."

This book is available at Barnes & Noble online at Enter title of book under search.