Tag Archives: acceptance

Hands Open Towards Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 2, 2018

my heart saying a prayer

Hands Open Towards Prayer

It’s amazing how a turn of phrase can spark the imagination.

In this brief reading today, Father Nouwen refers to the passage from John 21, where Jesus tells Peter that he is now a person of volition, going where he would, but when Peter grows old, he will not be able to have the same volition. Moreover, people would take Peter where he did not want to go.

All of this is in the context of volition. Having one’s hands open. Even, having one’s heart open. As Father Nouwen talks about having one’s hands open towards prayer, he mentions care for others. “Care for others means a growing acceptance. This acceptance led Jesus and his disciples to where they didn’t want to go, to the cross. That is also the road for one who prays.” [1]

I hope I have acceptance in my heart. I hope I show that acceptance in my prayers. I realize where I do not have acceptance, and I ask God to forgive me for that non-acceptance, that insecurity, that dislike—even bordering on downright fear.

When I have my arms (and hands) stretched out in prayer, I strive to be welcoming in prayer. Dear Lord, it can be a challenge! However, as Father Nouwen rightly brings out, this acceptance and welcome I offer in prayer opens me deep within to the freedom that God truly offers. The freedom of God’s breath (which I referred to before, several posts ago – see Prayer, Life-Breath of God #matterofprayer  https://wp.me/p43g3i-12T ), and the freedom of the cross.

Dear God, please give me the courage to be prayerful. Please give me the acceptance to stretch out my hands in prayer. Forgive me for my insecurity my dislike, and especially my deep-seated fears. Help me to follow after You all the days of my life, especially in Your Son’s example of prayer. Amen.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 35.

@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

Prayer, Acceptance, Openness.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 7, 2018

 

acceptance word cloud

Prayer, Acceptance, Openness.

What profound insights Father Nouwen has. Seriously, at times his words penetrate deep inside me. Like, tonight.

He speaks of prayer being acceptance, if one is experiencing deep silence. This is rare for me, since I am so wordy. Lectio divina is one of my favorite prayer methods, as is Ignatian prayer. Both depend strongly on the use of words, Bible reading and sometimes written responses. However—I have experienced deep, silent prayer. Meditation is a challenge for me, but I have done it. It’s like writing with my left hand. (Yes, I am right handed.) I can do it, but writing with my non-dominant hand is a challenge, even difficult at times.

Yet, I immediately understood what Father Nouwen was talking about. If one experiences deep silence, prayer can very well mean acceptance. But, that is not all. “Prayer creates that openness where God can give himself to us. Indeed, God wants to give himself;” [1] Now, this is more difficult for me to believe. God wants to give Himself to us? To me?

But, wait. Father Nouwen clarifies, and explains further. “This openness, however, does not simply come of itself. It requires our confession that we are limited, dependent, weak, and even sinful.” [2]

Oh, yes, I am more than ready to admit that I am not God. (I am very familiar with the Recovery Program, which talks about that very thing. I am—one is—most certainly not God, no matter how much one might want to think that is the case. Or, feel rather omnipotent.) Yes, this does make one feel vulnerable. However, if God is right by my side, I will not feel as lost and alone. Or as vulnerable and small.

Thank You for Father Nouwen’s wonderful words, dear God. Just what I needed tonight.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 25.

[2] Ibid, 26.

@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

PEACE: Cooperation, Understanding, Acceptance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 26, 2016

peace, dove stained glass

PEACE: Cooperation, Understanding, Acceptance

I continue a series of posts from Gemini Jr. High School in Niles. (Again, a big thank you to Mr. Rich Groeling, Gemini’s principal!)

What an opportunity to engage with the young people! I encouraged them to make a sign with their personal definition of PEACE. This was a chance to listen to viewpoints on PEACE.

First, Reuben’s definition: “Peace is cooperation and understanding and long lives.”

Next, Sarah’s definition: “Peace is acceptance of everyone around you, regardless of your own personal beliefs.”

Truly, cooperation and understanding are part and parcel of any kind of clear communication. And, if we inject “peaceful” into that equation, we find something high level negotiators long for. (Thanks, Reuben.)

The second definition is similar, in several important ways. Acceptance is key to liking ourselves! Liking ourselves, accepting ourselves—go hand in hand with liking and accepting others. Here is the best part: if I have a relationship with others around me regardless of their (and my) personal beliefs, then I truly am pursuing peace. Breaking down walls, and extending openness and positivity. (Superb definition, Sarah!)

With young people who think like that, I have hope for the future.  Amen!

#PursuePEACE

@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.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

 

PEACE? Respect, Understanding, Acceptance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 1, 2016

 

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PEACE? Respect, Understanding, Acceptance.

As I reflect upon my discussions with the young people at St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights, I am grateful I had the opportunity to engage with anyone who came up to the table I had set up on one side of the large lunchroom.

I’ll be featuring two personal definitions of PEACE today; a great chance to talk with young people and get their viewpoints on PEACE.

First, Maddy’s personal definition: “PEACE is treating everyone equally.”

I asked her to elaborate on such a foundational definition. She explained, “If you treat everyone equally, you won’t feel someone is superior or over you. There will automatically be less fighting.” (How right you are, Maddy. Equal, equitable treatment means less disagreement and less fighting. Less war!)

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Second, Neda’s personal definition: “PEACE is loving yourself and having mutual respect, understanding, and acceptance toward others.”

I wanted more information! Neda said, “The second you accept yourself and put yourself in some other person’s shoes, you develop mutual respect for others and their circumstances.”

Yes. Yes! That explanation goes right to the heart of things. If I focus less on me/myself and engage more with others in a caring and nurturing way, I can’t help but promote harmony and respect for others and their circumstances.

Gracious God, thanks for these young people and their inquiring minds and hearts. Help us all to take these definitions to heart. Open our minds to new ideas and new experiences, and encourage us all to #PursuePEACE. Dear God, 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.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(And, Maddy, I’m still having problems with my photos! They seem to have a mind of their own. I’m trying to fix them, but yours is turned around. Sorry!)

PEACE: Understanding, Acceptance, Advocacy

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

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PEACE: Understanding, Acceptance, Advocacy

I’m embarking on another venue today, another place where I asked people for their personal definitions of PEACE. I appreciate Oakton Community College for allowing me to come in to the space adjacent to the cafeteria and set up a table. And, I am grateful to the Oakton Christian Fellowship for sitting by me and providing a welcome.

I had a number of excellent conversations over lunch time today. The first one was with Allison. Her personal definition of PEACE: understanding, acceptance, and advocacy.

When I asked Allison to tell me more, she was happy to! “Everyone has their own different perspectives on peace. All are valid.” In short, she told me how each person has their own unique understanding, coming from their individual family of origin and their own life experiences. She went on: “True peace can only exist when we are not killing or hurting each other. Peace really is community. When we understand and accept each other.”

Allison used such a welcoming way to describe PEACE. She expressed the understanding that each person can have a different way of describing peace, of interpreting open and welcoming thoughts, words and actions. Yes. All of these are so beneficial when considering PEACE!

Dear God, on such an unpeaceful day, calm hearts. Encourage those who are fearful. Support those who are traumatized. Spread Your love and peace through all hearts that sorely need it. 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.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Acceptance and Faith—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 5, 2015

life is simple - we make it complicated

Acceptance and Faith—in Prayer

Oh, Lord. Acceptance! Accepting life on life’s terms. Accepting things as they really are, not as I wish them to be. And, not as I fear they are, either.

When individuals arrive in the doorway of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ve heard all different kinds of reactions. Anywhere from “I can’t find any help here … “ to “I’ve found my kind of people!”

(Or, if you like, when they are ready to be honest, open and willing.)

A twin factor in a walk of early recovery is that of faith. People need faith that this program of Alcoholics Anonymous will work. Just like people need faith that God (or their Higher Power) is waiting for them, cheering them on.

And, perhaps the most important thing about the word “faith” is acknowledging that I have little or no power over how things actually turn out. That is surprisingly freeing. As I encourage those in recovery to place things (including their lives) into the hands of God as they understand God, there can be a sense of release and of turning it all over.

As the meditation book Keep It Simple says, “Throughout the day, I’ll think of the Eleventh Step. I’ll pray to my Higher Power, ‘Thy will, not mine, be done,’” [1]

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for acceptance and faith. It’s a relief to accept things as they really are, in this world. Help me to have the faith to turn things over to You. 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.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 5 reading.

God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 16, 2015

serenity prayer small

God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity

The Serenity Prayer?

Today’s prayer is about Acceptance. This prayer is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). It comes under the section “As It Is in Heaven” (Prayer 301, page 96) from The Oxford Book of Prayer. [1] Pastor Niebuhr finally claimed this prayer a few years after it was first written and distributed. He included it in a wartime prayer book, and also in a sermon in 1943.

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

This is but a part of the entire, longer form of the prayer now known as the Serenity Prayer. This brief petition and prayer asking for acceptance and wisdom serves countless people today, and has since its first distribution. Bill W., one of the founders of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, brought the Serenity Prayer (slightly adapted) to the attention of those in the early 12 Step program. It caught on quickly, and soon became an integral part of the program of Recovery.

O Lord, give me grace. Give me acceptance. Give me serenity. I could ask You to give them all to me right now! But, that would be both impatient and childish of me. (I’m thinking of Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)

God, I want to have courage. No, I don’t want it quite as badly as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, but I still feel the need of it. Courage would help me in changing the things that need changing.

And, what about wisdom? I feel like Winnie the Pooh most of the time. (A Bear of Very Little Brain.) However, I know as I continue to walk with God and do the next right thing, the next loving thing, wisdom will come. My contact with God’s wisdom will grow.

Thy will, not mine, be done, O Lord.

@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.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 96.