Busy Day—Need to Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 2, 2016

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Busy Day—Need to Pray

Upon reflection, make that a busy evening, plus a busy day. A great deal of running, fetching, errands, and emails.

Started off the day on the computer. Went to the gym and power-walked. Did stuff at church for several hours. Dropped off two flyers at the local counseling center this afternoon (for the Prayer Gathering on Monday, Dec. 12 and the Blue Christmas service on Monday, Dec. 19). Then, a stop at the tree-lighting in the park downtown, and rushed off to a Holiday Concert (at my daughter’s school). Ended up doing several more errands.

Not a dull moment.

Lord, did I take one moment to think about You? To come before You with my praises as well as my pain? Well—I took a couple of minutes to pray, at my good friend Josh’s Daily Prayer website. (In case anyone is curious, it is www.dailyoffice.org ) But, I am afraid that was it, as far as prayer is concerned.

In retrospect, it was a good day. I had several excellent conversations. I enjoyed myself very much at the concert. (Especially hearing Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.)

However—Lord Jesus—I need to talk with You more. I don’t care how or when I communicated with You in the past, but I need to do more of it. Can You help me? That is my petition right now. Please.

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Active, Gathering in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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Active, Gathering in Prayer

Lots of things going on.

I spoke at a panel discussion at the mosque in on Sunday, November 20, called “Empowering Diverse Voices.” This was to encourage groups who are feeling marginalized. I was asked to bring two action steps to the audience that evening.

In preparation for that evening, I turned to Matthew 5 and found where Jesus said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Accordingly, at the panel discussion, I called for people to come together for a Gathering for Prayer and Mutual Support (Build Bridges, Not Walls). It will be on Monday, Dec. 12 from 7 to 8 pm at St. Luke’s Church in Morton Grove.

The second action step, as I promised at the panel on Nov. 20, is a draft of an open letter from leaders of houses of worship to our local civic leaders. Many wish to show friendship and commitment to all people in these communities in the Chicago suburbs. Our neighborhoods and communities are diverse and multi-cultural. This letter contains a declaration that we—leaders of houses of worship—stand together against fear, animosity and hatred to promote harmony, peace and love for all in our local neighborhoods.

Please, if you feel nudged by God, pray for many from this diverse community to attend, and for many to be encouraged by us joining together in prayer.

And, consider joining with me in prayer on the second Monday of December. Pray for our leaders—local, regional and national. Pray for our neighborhoods and communities. And—keeping the words of Jesus from Matthew 5 in our minds—pray with love for those who are angry with us, who are mean to us, and who disagree with us.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pray on a Gray Day

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 28, 2016

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Pray on a Gray Day

Today was a wet, dreary, gray day. Chilly and cold. Damp, too. Altogether unpleasant.

I know it is not a huge thing, but I have a confession to make: I did not pray, much. In retrospect, the day probably would have been a bit more positive if I had. However, I did not pray. Much.

I did do a whole lot of computer work today, though. I suppose I could say that the computer work was urgent. Wasn’t prayer urgent, too?

God, You must be really tired of me by this time. The way I cycle through faithful and faithless, I mean. Yes, I stick to my plans for a good, steady prayer time, for a while. (It depends, on the whether. Whether I can or not.) But sooner or later, I fall off. Fall back into my old, prayer-less ways.

For the past few years at Advent, I try my darnedest to be faithful to my devotional readings. Each year, I do follow them to a fair extent. So, yay! At least I’ve had a fair track record, for several years running.

Speaking of prayer, let’s pray.

Dear God, thank You for this period of waiting and preparation. Help me to be more faithful to You, even though times in my life are not as rosy as they could be. Gracious God, thank You for loving me with Your everlasting love. Lord, help me to be an example of watchful, hopeful waiting these next few weeks.

@chaplaineliza

 

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

How Should I Then Pray?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 26, 2016

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How Should I Then Pray?

A new year. Yes, tomorrow begins the liturgical year again, with the first Sunday in Advent. That season of hope and expectation, where we wait for the birth of the Christ Child with baited breath. Well, not really. That is, not everybody does. Even in the church.

I feel like I am running as fast as I can, and I still haven’t caught up. I don’t have a chance of catching up. (Alice, I fully sympathize with you in your conversation with the Red Queen.) The turning of the seasons is getting faster and faster all the time.

These two seemingly disparate things are connected. So many people are scattered and fragmented—including me. Pulled in many different directions. It is increasingly difficult to focus on one thing (even when it’s so important, as the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ). That is, when there are so very many things calling for my attention.

Dear Lord, help me to slow down. Help me to sift through the urgent and important, and focus on the one thing that I need. The one thing that gives me nurture and strength. My relationship with You, dear Lord. Help me bring my other needs, pains, joys and concerns to You, too, because then I will not be distracted. Gracious God, in Your mercy, hear my prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Grateful, Thankful Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 24, 2016

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Grateful, Thankful Prayers

It has been a thankful, grateful past few days. First, a wonderful opportunity to gather together for a beautiful service on Wednesday night. Yes, the Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve service happened, for anyone who felt especially thankful. (And, even for those who did not, but were trying to feel thankful.) So interesting and heartening to come together, to be thankful. What an opportunity to see and hear from different faith traditions and religious leaders.

Yes, what happened in the service was wonderful last night. However—I thought one of the best times of the night was the time of refreshments after the service. Almost all of the people who attended the interfaith service came to the fellowship hall afterwards. And, you should have heard the talking, laughing, and otherwise mingling together going on. Such a friendly, welcoming, wonderful thing!

Today’s turkey dinner (which was superb, by the way) was a family affair. Small, cozy, and welcoming. All of my children—now grown—were here with me. Truly, a time to be grateful and thankful for all that God has given to us.

Dear Lord, Giving God, we give thanks for the beauty of Your world, and for the holiness of Your temple. We give thanks for the fruits of the earth and for the labors of those who harvest. We pray for all those in need, who hunger and thirst because they have limited resources. Provide not only for us in our abundance, but also for the relief of all who are in need, here in the Chicago area, as well as throughout this world. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of Your great bounty, Lord. We give You thanks and praise, to the glory of Your Name. Alleluia, amen!

Peace to all at this thankful, grateful time of the year

@chaplaineliza

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Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

In the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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In the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Ever had what seems to be a hundred things going on at once? Yeah—me, too.

Don’t come to me for advice. (Please.) But, I do listen to some wise people. Sometimes.

Yes, I have work stuff happening, and continuing to happen. Yes, there is quite a bit of family stuff happening, both in my extended family as well as my husband’s family. On top of everything else, a major holiday is coming up, soon. Even more stuff is happening because of that.

All of which is totally overwhelming, if I let myself think about it too much.

This season in my life reminds me of some years ago, when I was in graduate school, full-time. I had a family. I worked two internships, half-time, my second and third years of graduate school. You better believe I was busy!. I could not even think of a full semester of my class work at a time. My brain would short circuit.

I got used to thinking of only a day or two, or at most, three. That was all. Just a couple of days at a time. The only exceptions were when I had a big project or a major paper. Those I would think about a week or two ahead of time. Unwillingly. Believe me, the people who stick to the idea of “One Day at a Time” really have hit on something.

So, that is what I am doing now. Concentrating on just a day, or maybe, two, at a time. I hope and pray I can be faithful and courageous.

Dear God, help me as I try to get things done, just a little at a time. Be attentive to my loved ones, and especially the situation with a dear one in hospice, Lord. Help me to decide and discern what to do first, second and third, each day, and what can be left for another day. Thank You for Your blessings poured out upon us each day and every day. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Empowering Voices—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 20, 2016

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Empowering Voices—in Prayer

I live in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural suburb of Chicago. I work in another multi-ethnic, multi-cultural suburb of Chicago. I have been involved with prayer activities for years, and have more recently added peace-building activities to what I have to offer. So—I was honored to be asked to speak at a panel discussion at the Muslim Community Center in the suburb where I work. That discussion took place earlier this evening, and involved six diverse panelists, and was called “Empowering Diverse Voices.”

What was the primary purpose of this event? Diverse groups of people wanted to come together. Many wanted to collaborate with other minorities that have felt marginalized during this polarizing election process. And—there was a diverse panel, indeed! African-American, Latina, Jewish, Christian and Muslim speakers to discuss how the different segments of communities can stand together against hate to promote harmony, peace and love for all.

I spoke from a Christian viewpoint, and brought my particular understanding as a trained chaplain into the forum. Fear—anxiety—running rampant. Emotions on high, with documented instances of bullying, intimidation, fear-mongering and hate speech spiking hugely since the election earlier this month. (Nationwide, as many instances in the past two weeks as there were in the previous six months.) I spoke peace into this uncertain time, highlighting the many passages in the Bible where God—Ha Shem—the Higher Power tells us “be not afraid!”

Several panelists expressed the hope that participation would bring diverse segments of our communities closer. What one person very much wished was to be sure of a caring environment, a respectful workplace and engaged community. We all want this, where all of our children can learn together and not be bullied or intimidated, and where all of us can live as people who love what this country was founded upon and still stands for.

I was asked for an action step. I thought of how Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us. Accordingly, I suggested a monthly time of ecumenical prayer for our leaders, communities, and for those we disagree with, starting in December. The second Monday of each month, for six months. Joining together in mutual support and prayer, I will open the church I serve, St. Luke’s Church at 9233 Shermer in Morton Grove, from 7 to 8 pm.

Our first gathering will be on Monday, December 12, 2016. It will be a time for meditation, prayer, and sharing for mutual support. May God richly bless this gathering together for prayer. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er