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Sitting At Ease.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 2, 2017


Sitting At Ease.

Today’s short reading from How to Sit describes ease in sitting and meditation. It is as simple and straightforward as that. Sitting so that one feels completely at ease.

It made me wonder: how often do I really feel completely at ease?

I realize I was thinking more broadly, but, how often do I feel rushed, or anxious, or upset, or fearful? I know I occasionally get a massage (which feels wonderful!), but that welcome respite is only a part of the whole. Not my whole self, my whole state of being.

Yes, what I am thinking about NOW is—broadly speaking—my general mindset, outlook and internal attitude. But—how much of that total mindset and attitude would Thich Nhat Hanh be interested in? Yes, this little book is about meditation and prayer, but calmness, contentment and ease in meditation overlap in amazing ways.

So, it is good advice for me not to “make a great effort, or struggle, or fight” as I sit. [1] I realize as I do final relaxation in yoga, it is good for me to take more of this teacher’s advice, and to relax every muscle, including the muscles in my face.

Feeling completely at ease…a good thing to strive for.

Dear God, help me to take the suggestions this book raises for my consideration, especially this one. Feeling completely at ease. Gracious God, You do not want me to feel anxious or fearful or any other negative emotion. You have promised me Your peace and contentment. Indeed, serenity. Thank You for Your loving, gracious promises. Amen.



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

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 46.

Give Me a Heart . . . for Thee

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 13, 2015

HEART How-to-Make-a-Stained-Glass-Heart

Give Me a Heart . . . for Thee

The Oxford Book of Prayer contains within its covers an embarrassment of riches in words. From just the few dozen pages I have read so far, I can tell how amazing, how profound and moving are the prayers, the sentiments expressed. And, the people chosen and represented.

For today, I have chosen just a portion of a prayer. A snippet, so to speak, of a prayer by Dag Hammerskjold. The prayer concerns “Thy Will Be Done” (Prayer 248, page 85) [1] The prayer is about Dedication.

“Give me a pure heart—that I may see Thee./A humble heart—that I may hear Thee,/A heart of love—that I may serve Thee,/A heart of faith—that I may abide in Thee.”

Oh, Lord! What lofty sentiments. How can I even think to see You, since my heart is blackened and marred by sin? Yet, as I journey with You, by Your side, I hope to see You more and more clearly.

Humble? Humility? (Yes, I know the book that some would like to write: “Humility, and How I Attained It.” Well, that is not me.) But, I dearly want to draw nearer to You, Lord. I want to be closer to You. That way, I’ll be able to hear Your words.

“A heart of love.” Ah, love! I yearn to be loved. I want to be loved. Yet, my low self-esteem keeps dogging my heels. Thank God, the love You’ve given to me overflows into my inner self, that deep, inner person, deep within.

Faith! And, abiding? Oh, to have more faith! I am reminded of the man from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9, who said, “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” Dear Lord Jesus, help me to have more faith. Then, perhaps, I will grope my way towards abiding with You.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear my fervent 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), 85.

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jesus - mosaic from Deesus panel, south aisle of Hagia Sophia

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

I love the letter to the Colossians. It has been a few years since I’ve studied it in depth, but I love the out-and-out theological expressions it uses. Some other parts of the New Testament are more action-oriented, and I love that, too. But sometimes, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some deep theological statement. Like in the middle of Colossians, chapter 1.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible, my word of the day. My Name of God for today is Head of the Body. So, I centered today on this Name.

Instead of just choosing a Name and getting right down to prayer, I took a look at the first chapter of Colossians. I even checked out some notes on verse 18, where “Head of the Body, the Church” appears. I discovered “Head of the Body” appears several additional times in the New Testament, including Ephesians 1, where Paul fleshes out the “Head of the Body” a bit more.

I remember briefly thinking of the description in 1 Corinthians of the Church being the Body of Christ, and each member having different gifts, different ways to be useful. And—just think. Christ is Head of that whole multi-gifted, multi-talented, multi-ethnic, multi-colored Body. What a marvelous Body to be considered part of!

Then, I tried my best to focus on the Colossians verse—specifically, on the Name of God I chose for today. I had limited success. Sure, I’d focus on “Head of the Body” for several moments, but then I would get distracted.

The best thing (or perhaps, best thought) that came to me involved the Head. The Head is connected to the Body. The Head (and the brain inside it) controls the whole Body, and tells the Body what to do and which way to go. The Head is very much an organic part of the Body, and unless part of the Body is malfunctioning, it responds to the direction of the Head. Considers the Head to be in charge of the Body.

Wow. That means I am in direct communication with the Head of the Body/the Church. I don’t need to find some special way to communicate, since I am organically part of the Head. That means you are, too, if you are a part of the Body.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for this fruitful time of prayer today. Thank You for this excellent Name of God I found today. Help me to keep in touch with You, stay connected, and know that I am part of this amazing Body of Christ. Thanks, Lord!


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

Do Justice? Help Me Raise Up the Lowly!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 24, 2015

micah68 vertical

Do Justice? Help Me Raise Up the Lowly!

Last day at the New Wilmington Mission Conference—such an amazing, energizing experience! God was in so many aspects of this conference. So, so many. I saw the Lord show up in such unexpected ways, too.

As I turned to the modern psalm today, I was touched. It moved me. I wanted to highlight so many parts of this chapter from Praying the New Testament as Psalms.

I finally settled on two: psalm verses adapted from James 2 and Luke 1. First, “Deepen in me my love for my neighbor/as I carry out the works that accompany faith.” [1] This verse is so much in keeping with one of the major themes of the letter of James. Just as I love and have faith in God, my service is an expression of that deep love and gratitude for my salvation. My good works come out of my faith—are a natural expression of my love for God and neighbor.

Second, “Let me see the injustice of our world and join You in raising up the lowly.” [2] This verse adapted from the Magnificat of Luke 1 hits me right in the gut. My family knows that I can strike up a conversation with most anyone, at a moment’s notice. And, often, people start right in telling me their problems. I am a chaplain and pastoral care person, at heart. I can come alongside of people and walk with them through their difficulties.

Another side of this natural openness that is part and parcel of _me_ is that social justice component. God, give me such an openness to You. Please, God, help me raise Your name as I raise up the lowly. Thank You, God.


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.), 182.

[2] Ibid, 183.

Reconciled—Enemies Become Friends

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 20, 2015

through Christ God reconciled us to Himself Col 1-20

Reconciled—Enemies Become Friends

Today at the New Wilmington Mission Conference was awesome. Or, should I say, tonight. I had the privilege to hear not only Dr. Ken Bailey teach on the Good Shepherd this morning in bible study hour, but then our older speaker gave the message in evening meeting tonight.

A Palestinian Christian, he gave a vivid, first-hand account of his experiences in 1948. He told how he went from being a happy boy in his home town to becoming a refugee with his large family—all in a few hours. To hear this man relate what had happened to him and his family, as well as hundreds of other Palestinian families in 1948, broke my heart.

My topic for the night and for this post is reconciliation. The evening meeting highlighted the Sabeel Center (for faith, justice and reconciliation). Just think—the loving, spacious concept of reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians was lifted up. What is more, the Sabeel movement has worked tirelessly for years in this effort. Amazing.

How much more does Jesus reconcile me to Himself? As I read through these modern verses from this modern psalm, I was especially struck by a particular verse from Colossians 1: “You have rescued me from the power of darkness/and transferred me into the kingdom of Your Son.” [1]

This book, Praying the New Testament as Psalms, humbles me. Ordinarily, I am floored when I heard about reconciliation work between various groups in South Africa. Or the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Rwanda. However, this precious word stands for so much more, when it comes to God. Such amazing grace Boundless, given freely.

Dear God, thank You for your gift of salvation. Thank You for the awesome power of Your reconciling love. Amen and amen.


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.), 162.

How Ought I Pray?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God create in me a clean heart

How Ought I Pray?

Prayer is amazing. Truly! But, not for everyone. That is, not in everyone’s experience.

There are as many different kinds/manners/methods of prayer as there are people involved praying. Each of us is an individual, and each of us has a unique way of coming before God.

A woman I very much admire uses centering prayer regularly. She chooses one single word, and then goes deep. Meditates and prays using that word, for twenty minutes, a half hour at a time. She has kids, who are getting bigger and older now, but that she is able to use centering prayer on a regular basis—with kids around!—is even more astounding to me!)

I have done centering prayer on occasion, too. (My word is often “Emmanuel,” since I am repeatedly amazed at how Jesus comes alongside of us—of me. Emmanuel, God with us.) Although, I have sometimes used other words, like “peace” or “grace,” or “Jesus.” Whatever you choose, it can be a remarkable, quiet, reflective way to pray.

Personally, I really gravitate towards using Scripture to assist me in my prayer time. But that’s me. I enjoy lectio divina and Benedictine rumination. I even use a Bible concordance on occasion, and research the Greek and Hebrew roots, or verbs, or meanings of these various words used in Scripture. And then, I can pray through those words or understandings.

But, on occasion—I find I do not even have words. I cannot frame my yearnings, the deepest wishes or cries of my heart, in intelligible language. It is then that I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit, for coming alongside of me. As a Paraclete, an Advocate. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit is there to intercede for us, right beside us. The blessed Holy Spirit even groans for us, and with us, and is our interpreter. The Spirit brings those requests and cries, too deep for words, before the heavenly Throne Room.

Thank God there is someone who can help me communicate. I have difficulty even communicating, much less with specific situations, events, opportunities and people!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, sweet Holy Spirit, thank You for helping us with our prayers. Sometimes my words come out all crooked, or misshapen. Or, they can be mean and evil towards people I am called to love. Forgive me for my shortcomings. Help me—help us to draw closer to You In prayer, and in every other way. In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, February 28, 2014

BK have to show love

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

Did you know that I have another blog? It’s called A Year of Being Kind (also found on wordpress.com). I have been industrious, as far as the other blog is concerned. I’ve been writing posts on it every day since the beginning of January. I mentioned the other blog at the end of December in this space, when I planned to kick off the blog on New Year’s Day 2014. Two months have gone by already. Really, where does the time go?

Does anyone relate to having struggles with prayer? I have been rigorously honest about mine, speaking regularly about struggles in my practice of prayer. Up and down, sometimes more regular, sometimes less. I’ve tried praying with a number of different prayer books, and several different kinds of spiritual discipline practices. But somehow, I just wanted something else, something besides the usual schema of prayer books. To recap what I said at the end of December, I determined to begin a daily practice of acts of intentional service, kindness and love—as in, each and every day. Thus, A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

This is a departure from my usual acts of prayer. Almost like I’m stretching a little-used muscle, repeatedly. It’s not that I don’t do acts of service, because I do! Yes, I have the spiritual gifts of helps, encouragement and mercy, in abundance. But this intentionality is what is new. Different.

I am now two months into this Year of Being Kind. Not surprisingly, I am finding a rhythm in my days. I don’t necessarily go searching for an intentional act of service to do each day. Instead, I find God bringing them to me. Sure, I’ve been open to them, asking, praying for God to show me fresh opportunities to be kind—each and every day. (or night, as the case may be) They have been showing up on my doorstep, by my gym locker, on my phone line, at the grocery store.

Does anyone reading this blog need some spiritual “oomph” in their lives? A helpful boost? Perhaps my Lenten Calendar of Service might help. It’s called 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. You can sign up for it here, at your right. Or, check out Facebook. I have two pages called Matter of Prayer and A Year of Being Kind. You can sign up for the Lenten Calendar of Service there, too. I would love to hear from you!

If you choose to accept this challenge of service, I would like to hear from you! You can expect something blessed and amazing to happen during this Lenten season. As you go through this calendar of service, God can and WILL show up. Bet on it. I’d like to know about it, and I will certainly share those God-incidences on my blog. And if—as I hope—I have too many to write about on my blog, I’ll post them to my Facebook page, too. Remember, God may be calling you to 40 Days & Ways of Service.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for this idea of A Year of Being Kind, for these 365 days of intentional service for You. I pray for all those who are considering 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. I realize You call individuals to separate practices. If they—we choose to celebrate and practice other disciplines, bless us all. Prosper our times of prayer and meditation. Whatever our prayer and spiritual practices, as we prepare for Easter, may Your richest blessings be ours. For us and our loved ones. Amen.