Tag Archives: affirming

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 19, 2015

autumn leaves on a bridge

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Many of the prayers in this section are prayers of people from traditionally English-speaking countries. Or, prayers of Church Fathers and Mothers, prayers of Saints, translated into English. However, I am intrigued by those prayers that come from vastly different cultures, distant places, far removed from the sociological and cultural place I call “home.”

The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” (Prayer 355, page 109) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled Penitence. It is titled “Prayer from Polynesia.”

“Lord, today You made us known to friends we did not know,/And You have given us seats in homes which are not our own./You have brought the distant near,/And made a brother of a stranger,/Forgive us, Lord … /We did not introduce You.”

O, how poignant and tear-filled! How deep the pain that is felt; it spills over into the endless emotional pit. Powerful emotions and feelings churn within me. Yet—and yet—positive feelings flow over some of these words like a waterfall.

Dear God, these words from half a world away wash against me. Sometimes quiet and affirming, but other times knowing, nudging, concerned as a dear grandparent. And, the last two lines of this prayer? Not shaming, not demeaning, no! But at the same time, instructive. Giving gentle counsel. Almost, entreating.

And, I received admonishment. Gentle, to be sure. But, sure and certain. I do not introduce You to others as much as I have the opportunity. I see that. This prayer holds up a clear mirror to me.

Forgive me, Lord. Please, gracious God. Look with both forgiveness and favor on this poor sinner. Thank You for Your help and patience. Help me to look with love on all others, to those who do not yet know You, and an extra portion of thankfulness on those who do.

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


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), 109.

Could I Pray the Way Jesus Prayed?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 3, 2015

Jesus the Good Shepherd icon John 10

Could I Pray the Way Jesus Prayed?

While Jesus was here on earth, He was in close contact with God His Father. Close contact! I mean, Jesus loved to pray, to stay in regular touch with God. It’s something quiet and affirming. Something for all of us to observe, and to connect with.

That was almost two millennia ago. However, the premise is still the same. Jesus shows his faith and goodness to everyone. Those who may listen, may keep ears open.

I know I have a lot of “be kind” shots. Also, “I’m trying to keep my Facebook status loving and generous. Just like Jesus.

For example, Jesus understood about His audience. Plus, we can always turn to the chapter on prayer from the Faith (bountiful numbers!) in Praying the New Testament as Psalms. One verse of the new psalm touches me double-as-much. As touched and impressed by God, “I ask that you teach me to pray, just as Jesus taught the disciples./ May ‘Abba, Father’ always be my prayer, prayer in faith—expectant.” [1]

Dear God, how anxious is that? I know You want to show the kind of God You are. Prayer is definitely that way! But, help me to show others Your love and care, through prayer. Thank You, thanks a whole lot!


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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 38.

Day #38 – Can I Open Up?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 2, 2015

ocean shore and shells

Day #38 – Can I Open Up?

I am guilty, I admit it. I have quickly responded “I’m fine!” to the question “How are you?” Even when I was not, really, fine.

Sometimes, I knew that the person asking was only looking for a quick answer. Even, a superficial answer. Merely passing the time of day. Occasionally, I suspected the person asking me the question was making acceptable or expected social noises. (You can feel in your gut and know deep down when that happens. I don’t need to spell it out.)

But sometimes. Sometimes. The person was truly, honestly looking for information. Wishing for a connection. Striving to develop that relationship. And I? I was having none of it. Or, perhaps even worse, I just did not have time.

Mea culpa, Lord. Mea culpa.

At least I regularly show others that I am interested in their extended answers! When I do the same thing, ask the same questions, I sometimes get the long answer from my conversation partner, and that’s okay. Sometimes, it is more than okay. Showing emotion and crying and letting down one’s guard? Totally okay, as far as I am concerned.

Goodness knows that I have sometimes been guilty of it, and answered back in a dismissive or evasive response. Or, simply been too busy to engage.

My current job does complicate things, though. I am a pastor at a local church. I do try to be accessible, open, affirming, nurturing, and interested in everyone I meet. I really do try! Yet, I need to maintain some degree of professionalism. Remain warm and engaged, with a healthy dose of empathetic understanding. Plus, balance that with some basic relational, psychological and emotional engagement principles. It is a juggling, balancing act, to be sure!

Thank goodness that I have some good friends and acquaintances outside of my work. I especially appreciate the people I am now connected to through the Internet. Through Facebook, and Twitter. Two particular groups of people allow me to be honest, open and genuine. I can engage in lively debate, friendly (sometimes snarky) banter, and downright foolishness, if I want to! I feel I can lay down my cards on the table, and don’t need to be as careful of professional boundaries. What freedom!

So, yes. I have been aware of the ubiquitous “How are you?” and the tepid response “I’m fine” for the past few years. And God is working with me, with that. God really is. I know. I do appreciate the reminder. Good to be brought back to what is important in life. Again. Thanks, God!


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Day #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 21, 2015

THANK God every time I remember you

Day #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Ever have a wonderful boss? I have! Several, in fact. (Then, too, I’ve had several who were not particularly wonderful. But I am not going to even think about them, today.)

Today’s suggestion from #40acts is to be a blessing to your bosses. Or, church leaders, or authority figures. So many people act or speak in a negative way, even about their bosses or supervisors, or leaders. Why not speak positively? Compliment them? Give them “a heavy dose of blessing” right back. (As Ewen McAlpine mentions in today’s 40acts blog post.)

I have two bosses in mind today. Neither of them is my boss any longer. However, while I was under their supervision, I considered myself fortunate to have them in authority over me.

The first is the Rev. Dr. Frank Baldwin, Director of Chaplaincy at the Presbyterian Homes. Frank was awesome! He retired from his long-time position as Director of Chaplaincy for all the sites in the Pres Homes network late last year.  I consider myself blessed to have had him as a supervisor some years ago while I spent a year at the Pres Homes as a chaplain intern.

Frank is kind, intuitive, clear-headed, marvelous at administration, and caring and insightful as a chaplain and pastor. He has such a head for details, and for names! One of the best at remembering facts about people—and their loved ones—that I have ever seen. He is a careful communicator, insightful and patient with me as an intern, and encouraging to me when I had questions and could have done better. When I grow up, I want to be like Frank!

The second boss is Rev. Gordon Smith. I worked with Gordon at two locations. In any situation where I saw him operate, Gordon made use of his superb communication abilities. His interpersonal and preaching skills are phenomenal!

While at our first site together, Gordon showed how competent and innovative he could be. He has spent most of the past ten years in interim church work in the Chicago area, serving as interim pastor until the churches could call a permanent pastor. He is wonderful at this specialized work. And—at supervising his co-workers. Always collegial, encouraging, affirming, and positive, he also is wonderful at painting a vision of where churches and congregations would like to go, and how they might best get there. A wonderful interim minister! And an awesome colleague, as well.

Thank you, thank you, to both Frank and Gordon. You helped me to do my job more fully, more richly than I ever thought I could. I always wanted to do my very best for you, in these positions. I pray for you both, and your families. May God richly bless you, and give you enjoyable and interesting things to do in the future. God’s peace be yours in abundance, too!


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .