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Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 14, 2016

peace-i-leave-with-you-cross

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

This is a blog on prayer, and matters of prayer.

I seldom do this, but I would appreciate prayer for an older relative’s family, in another state. A recent death of the senior. I haven’t seen any of the family for years, yet I feel the loss.

Reflecting on John 14:27, it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus gives me peace. He offers me peace in troubled times, in grieving times. Plus, I can offer that peace to others. Yes, I can grieve. My friends and family can grieve. However, the Holy Spirit has promised to come alongside and comfort. Not as the world tries to distract, but real and genuine comfort and encouragement.

Gracious God, thank You for the peace and serenity that Jesus promised in this verse. Help me to bring some of that peace and comfort to my family. I pray that You hold all who loved my relative in Your everlasting arms of care and concern. Please encourage them even in the midst of their grief and sadness. 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 sister 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

Peace on a Day of Remembrance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 11 2016

peace-dove-earth

Peace on a Day of Remembrance

I read the last two verses of Psalm 120, feeling sad and disheartened. The psalmist seems disheartened, too. 120:6 – “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.”

Yes, this is one of the psalms (or songs) which were historically said or used or read in the procession to the Temple in Jerusalem. However, these verses of scripture look to be positive towards peace. Even though peace may seem to be a really positive idea, he has dwelt among the hate-mongers too long.

I suspect the psalmist is jaded. Doubtful that any change—positive change—can come. What is to be done? 120:7 – “I am a person of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”

This verse makes me really disheartened, as I said. At first glance, there is no hope, no positive side to be found. However, the psalmist could be at the end of his rope. So far gone, that he falls at the feet of God. He might realize he depends on God alone, if those surrounding him were persistently crying out for war.

Peace. Crying out for peace. Sometimes it seems that I am a lone voice crying out for peace. God, especially with the reminder of September 11th fresh in all of our minds, help me to be a catalyst for peace and reconciliation. Help us all to spread the words of peace, wholeness and harmony. So help me, God.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister 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

God’s Word Brings Peace.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, September 8, 2016

god-brings-peace

God’s Word Brings Peace.

Psalm 119 is one of my favorite psalms. Hands down. I love so many things about it. First off, every one of its 176 verses mentions God’s word. Or, statutes, or God’s law. In a multitude of ways, this chapter of the Hebrew Scriptures acknowledges the awesomeness of God’s Word, the Bible.

I’d like to focus on one verse: Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”

This verse comes at the tail end of the psalm. You’d think, after dozens and dozens of verses of description, of how amazing God’s Word is—but, no. The unknown author powers through to the end, extolling the wonders of the Bible.

Back to verse 165. This verse talks about peace. As in, shalom. Not only the cessation of conflict and war, not to mention violence. But, the harmony and wholeness of shalom. How the Bible—and the regular, intentional reading of it—provides peace.

Now, the author does not say, but I see this verse as talking about the inside attitude. The attitude of people who regularly read the Bible and study it.

I am sure the author knows about the various uncertain situations here in this world, because he uses descriptive language concerning the uneasy, unpleasant world in other verses.  I know the author wants to show that God’s Word can help overcome, no matter what the adversary, no matter how unpleasant the situation. Plus, in this particular verse, the author affirms that God’s Word brings peace. God’s Word helps the reader to maintain a firm footing, a firm grip on their road or their way. I don’t know about you, but I sure need that!

Let’s pray. Gracious God, thank You for all of the many varieties of help, encouragement and support we may find in God’s Word—the Bible. Especially, thank You for the certainty the author has in this verse: those who love Your Word will not stumble, and peace will come into their hearts. Not only passing peace, peace on the surface, but great peace. I need great peace right now. Thank You for this good promise. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister 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

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 6, 2016

peace-word-cloud-3

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

I gathered together with a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, interfaith group of people for a banquet on Sunday evening. The banquet was co-hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Society of North America at a Chicago-area convention center. Such a fascinating group of people. The booths at the 53rd annual ISNA conference I was invited to seemed a beehive of activity, too.

One meaningful highlight of the banquet was the opportunity to hear Khizr and Gazala Khan, the parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan. (Capt. Khan was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, a Purple Heart recipient buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.) After being catapulted to international fame from speaking at the Democratic National Convention some weeks ago, the Khans continue to be the measured, sincere representatives of their faith in God. They both brought that same message of faith, honor and love for their adopted country to those who attended the ISNA banquet on Sunday.

However, not all the speakers at the banquet had positive messages. A strong concern came from Dr. Christopher Bain, professor of social sciences at Duke University. He spoke on the motion of the widespread demonization of Islam (and of individual Muslims, in general) throughout the United States since 9/11, fifteen years ago. This negative message of “radical Muslims” has moved from the fringes of national discourse rapidly into mainstream thought and media perception, in less than fifteen years. This concerns me—and many people—very much.

Yes, there was a great gathering of a diverse group of people on Sunday night. Perhaps—together—we helped to build bridges. Even though there is growing division and animosity against “difference,” perhaps some friendly conversation and sharing a meal helped to build friendships. Perhaps.

God willing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister 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

Praying, Pursuing Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lord teach us to pray

Praying, Pursuing Peace (Psalm 34:11, 14)

A psalm of confusion, of gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise. This song of David’s features prominently in the “thanks, God!” section of the book of Psalms.

11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

This psalm was written remembering when David was in a really tight spot. Surrounded by enemy warriors, he feigned madness. Had spittle coming down his beard. Probably disheveled clothes and hair, too. Wild eyes, jerky motions. I can just see him in my imagination. (David must have been a fabulous actor.)

Cut to the end of the story: King Abimelech kicked David out of his walled city. David must have been greatly, greatly relieved.

At this time in David’s life, when he was on the run from King Saul, he did not have much opportunity to pursue peace. He probably wanted peace above all things! In verse 14, above, he mentions the craving for peace. His deep desire for peace. Pursue it! Run after it, full bore! Added to that, he advises his readers to depart from evil. (David must know human nature pretty well, with that kind of insight.)

What about me? Do I fear the Lord? Do I listen to God’s words and God’s people? Do I always flee evil? What about doing good? Am I in the habit of seeking—much less, pursuing peace? What about you? Can you answer these questions I just asked myself?

Good questions, God. Thanks for bringing me up close and personal with these serious questions. I still haven’t figured out all the answers, but I know that’s okay with You. As long as we are thinking about the answers, and striving to do the very best job we can. Thanks, God.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister 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

Praying, Sleeping Peacefully

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, September 1, 2016

Psalm 4-8 grant peaceful sleep

Praying, Sleeping Peacefully

This is a new month, a month in which many in this world remember peace. I wanted to focus on selected bible verses that feature peace prominently.

First, Psalm 4:8.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for You alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

This psalm is a psalm of David. David writes here about insomnia. (I’m only partially being tongue in cheek.) Seriously, the author writes about having disturbed sleep. And, he suggested a method of prayer in which the faithful seek the Lord. Plus, he warns against “sin” by thinking honestly and openly about sinful things he’s done. Not covering them up.

This method is simple and straightforward. This is one way David found to avoid tossing and turning on his bed every day. Be honest and open. And, the Lord will bless David with peace. Peace and safety.

What a positive, nurturing thing to do. How wonderful to have the possibility of restful sleep. And peace. God’s peace.

Gracious God, thank You for offering us a cure for insomnia. Sin-induced insomnia. God, help me to continue to come to You with difficulties, mistakes, problems, sin. Thank You for forgiving me and loving me—forgiving us and loving us. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our a

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister 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

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 30, 2016

praying hands 2

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

This is an in-between time for me. In between summer and back to school. In between the summer vacation-time schedule and the busier fall schedule. In between, not quite this, and not quite that.

I met with a good friend of mine. I pray for her. She is in an uncomfortable in-between time, herself. Please, lift up my friend. Pray with me for her financial well-being.

One of my daughters is just beginning her school year. Such a busy time for her! I pray for my daughter as she embarks on this last year of school, with all the work that entails. Please pray with me, that she may have focus, yet not forget about fun.

I am concerned about a new friend. She is about to begin a new thing, and she needs continuing support, encouragement, and more prayers. Blessings on her! (And, more prayers.)

Last, I pray for a good friend who has a birthday! What wonderful things birthdays are. Beginning a whole new year, yet in the middle of life. What an opportunity to celebrate my dear friend. God, bless my friend richly! Not only today, but all year long, in every aspect of life.

And, bless my husband. Watch over him, and help him at his work. Encourage him in his personal life. Give us both enjoyment as he and I live life. Help us live life to the fullest, as we are in the middle of things. Yet, just at the jumping off point.

Dear God, no matter where we are in life, whether at the beginning, at an ending, or in the middle, listen to us. Dear God, 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 sister 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