Tag Archives: anxiety

Pray for Freedom from Anxiety

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 8, 2016

worry do not be anxious - Jesus

Pray for Freedom from Anxiety

Freedom from restlessness and anxiety? Oh, yes! That sounds absolutely marvelous. Even though I know—intellectually—that worry, restlessness and anxiety are not positive or beneficial for me, still…

This prayer (233) from The Oxford Book of Prayer is unattributed. (I might assume that it could be written by the same author as the next prayer, but I am not certain. And, the book does not say.) Regardless, this touching prayer asks for “that peace and power which flow from Thee.” [1] I get the impression of a strong, flowing river. Not wild, not rushing out of control, but more than a trickle! And, faster than a meandering backwater, too.

Imagine, God’s peace and power. Not just puny little human attempts at peace. And not just flawed, human weakling efforts at power. God is helping now. God will take care of it. And me. And, you, too.

If I am upheld by God’s strength and secure in the Rock of my salvation (also known as the Rock of God’s faithfulness), is there any way I can be lost? Or, unhappy? Or, anxious? At least, the God I know would not have been distant or oblivious to God’s children who needed help.

Dear Lord, gracious God. Thank You for being there, and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 for showing grace and mercy to me—to all of us. God, I long for Your strength and power to make themselves evident in my life. Thank You for Your upholding here in this world, and even more so for Your freedom in the world to come. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

P.S. Watch this space for Pursuing PEACE. A Project that is also a listening tour. Listen. Share. Pursue PEACE. Coming for Lent!

@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), 80.

In Which I Am Made in the Image of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 29, 2016

image of God

In Which I Am Made in the Image of God

Another birthday is drawing near. Another year older, and another day of reflection. (I find that’s what I tend to do on my birthdays now.)

Also, another day to remember how it was. Remember back to when I was a child, and then an adolescent. I was terribly self-conscious. I had low self-esteem. The youngest in my family, I was on my own pretty much, once I got into school. So, once again on the familiar hamster wheel of self-doubt, second-guessing, and all the uncertainty of adolescence.

I reached out for the life preserver that God provided. (Thanks, God!) That helped a great deal, but I still was self-conscious. Still had low self-esteem. (They didn’t go away, although they were lessened.) Thank God, they are still diminishing.

I have come to learn that—just as with each other person on the face of the earth—I am created in the image of God. Even though I might be looking at a mirror, I can see the reflection of the glory of God! And, my reflected self in the silvery mirror’s face shines brighter with Your image. Your Word says so. I’m not imagining it.

Yes, I do get disheartened from time to time. Yes, I still can beat myself up, internally, forgetting I am made in Your image. Dear Lord, forgive me. I can get paralyzed with anxiety and fear, too, even though I know—intellectually—that You know me thoroughly. You know me inside and out, and You still love me. You know me far better than I know myself. As the psalmist says, such knowledge is far too wonderful for me.

All I can say is, thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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

Fear Knocks. Prayer Answers.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, January 9, 2016

do not fear, for I am with you

Fear Knocks. Prayer Answers.

Fear and anxiety can be paralyzing. What’s more, fear and anxiety can creep up on me in the most unexpected ways, at the worst possible times.

It’s not that I was an awfully fearful and anxious child. Just sometimes. (Me as a sad and lonely child is closer to the mark. But, I’m not talking about that, today. Maybe on another day, in another post.)

What has helped me is prayer. And, getting among friendly, kind, like-minded people. Seriously, I am helped by prayer, reading the Bible and other helpful literature, getting together in groups with other friends—all of these assist me to shed fear and anxiety.

Dear Lord, gracious God, You have given me power, love and a sound mind. Plus, You lessen my fear and anxiety. You are the Source of my strength and an ever present help in times of trouble or dismay. Thank You for all of that, too. I know—so well—that fear is a big bruiser of an emotion, but thanks to You and Your everlasting arms of comfort and support, You can overcome any awful, crippling effects of fear, anxiety, trauma, grief, and discouragement.

I pray that You will guard around us. Protect us with Your heavenly messengers, and encourage us to follow You all the days of our lives. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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

Snare, Prayer, Take Care

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 7, 2016

God refuge and strength Ps 46-1

Snare, Prayer, Take Care

Anyone can get tripped up. Fall on their face, sometimes. Tripped up in my thought life, my words, or my actions. It can happen to anyone.

For example: when I try to stay on the beam in any particular behavior or activity, I often need help from my friends. If I end up isolated or alone, that is not a good scenario for me. Thank God I have friends and family who can rally around.

I realize some people don’t have many healthy relationships. However, God can assist, and bring certain people into our lives to remedy those kinds of lacks and losses. And, we can end up with families of choice. Good friends, too.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your gift of relationships. Build up our relationships with our significant others; our families, our friends, our spouses. Draw me close to those people I love. You have promised to deliver us from the evils in this world—those things that are physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual evils.

Protect me with Your power, and remain a refuge for me to run to when I am isolated, filled with anxiety, or bedeviled. Gracious God, You are my stronghold. You can help all of us avoid harm, distress, temptation and evil. You are faithful, and for that I am so grateful. Thankful. Thank You, God.

@chaplaineliza

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

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jer 29-11 I know the plans I have for you

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Finances are the very devil, sometimes.

Between worry about where finances are coming from, complaints or disagreements about where the money is going, and awkwardness concerning spending, saving, and general consumption of available finances? Yes, I would say money can be the very devil. Sometimes.

That’s why I want to pray for relationships and finances.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for helping us to be good stewards of all You have given to us. Encourage each of us to be honest, open and willing with all that we have and are—in terms of time, talents, and especially treasure. All we have and are comes from You. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart.

Lord, I ask that You provide for all of our needs. You know how desperate some of them are. Especially in times of such uncertainty of many different kinds, give us wisdom and understanding with finances. I praise You for Your loving-kindness, mercy and grace extended towards each of us, especially for those who are crushed with uncertainty, anxiety, debt, illness and unemployment. Dear Lord, give comfort where it is needed, and help to those who are hopeless and sinking. Gracious, loving God, in Your mercy, we earnestly pray. 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.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Not Alone on the Journey

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 22, 2015

winter road

Not Alone on the Journey

I participated in a Blue Christmas service last night. This service was especially for people who feel disconnected from the holiday, for any number of reasons. Yes, grieving, but also losses. Fear, anxiety, anger. Any one of a number of negative feelings.

There was a time of sharing in the service, and several people mentioned feeling lonely. Even desperately lonely, even though they were in the midst of a crowd of people.

Have you ever felt that way? (I know I have.) Even though you knew the people surrounding you, there was a disconnect. A separation. A desperate loneliness …

That’s what it’s like in this fallen world. Disconnected and separated from each other, fighting, bickering, misunderstanding, jealousy, anger, fear. (And that’s just considering one representative person and their extended family.) Imagine that experience multiplied countless times. Now you are starting to realize the magnitude of the sadness, of the difficulty the God of love had in reconciling the world.

Henri Nouwen mentioned the mystery of Christmas “that continues to give us comfort and consolation; we are not alone on our journey.” [1] That is one big reason why God became man, why God emptied Himself and became a tiny baby named Jesus.

How unimaginable—that the God who created heaven and earth, who holds the universe between the span of the fingers on one hand, could empty Godself of all God-ness. How amazing. How miraculous. Jesus came to journey with us through life, to walk and talk and sit by our sides. So we wouldn’t ever be lonely again.

It is almost Christmas. Almost here. Emmanuel, God with us. Come, Lord Jesus! Maranatha!

@chaplaineliza

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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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 48.

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 20, 2015

church gathering - meant to be a church choir

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

I serve as a pastor. Yet, I feel especially called by God to be a pastoral care giver. To come alongside of people, and walk with them for a bit. Through problems, trials, and difficulties.

Especially at this holiday time of the year, I hear about the difficulties people have with family members. Sometimes, whole sections of families. And often, these people are having fear and anxiety over family gatherings. Supposedly festive times, but somehow morphed into awful, judgmental, anxiety-ridden occasions.

I seldom can do anything for people other than listen. If they ask, I do have several simple things to suggest. For example, limit the time spent with these difficult family members. Yes, show up, if necessary, but often you can choose how long you spend in their company. Be selective when accepting holiday invitations. You do not need to attend every party or dinner or function. And, most important, try to have your own transportation when possible. If the family members are becoming unbearable, you can excuse yourself. It is all right. Do what you need to do.

In my Advent meditation for today, Henri Nouwen brings up Parker Palmer and his writings on community. I know that many people think that “community” and “family” are places where we are all feeling warm and fuzzy feelings about each other. And in the best of all possible worlds, that kind of community and family would be marvelous. A portion of people even get to experience that warm, genial, loving kind of community and family, on a regular basis. But, many people do not.

Nouwen says that Palmer says: “community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives….Community is in fact the place where you are purified, where your love is tested, where your childhood of God is constantly put through the mill of human relationships.” [1]

I know I have idiosyncracies that can drive other people up the wall. Just as much as others’ habits and manners and ways of doing things can drive me wild, too. God, help me not to bug other people. Help me to be careful not to be too annoying. Help me to do my part. And, I have faith that You will take care of the rest.

@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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 44.

Everyone is God’s Beloved

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 19, 2015

God loves you, nothing can change that

Everyone is God’s Beloved

When I think about my fear, my anxiety, my insecurity, my anger at myself and at others, what can possibly take those negative feelings away? God. More specifically, God’s love. And, knowing that God loves me. Me, myself. Exactly the way I am. I don’t have to change. I don’t need to become something different. God loves me exactly the way I am right now.

Once I start getting used to this earthshaking idea (Imagine—God loves me! I am God’s beloved!), I can start to explore the idea that God also loves other people. Perhaps just as much as God loves me.

Can God really and truly love everyone? Can each person be beloved by God?

That’s what Henri Nouwen says, in the reading for Saturday. “ … When you discover yourself as being the beloved son or daughter of God, you suddenly have new eyes to see the belovedness of other people.[1]

The Advent Action for Saturday is: “Make a list of the blessings and benefits that have been given to you by God, your Savior. Take a few minutes today to give thanks for one of these undeserved blessings. If possible, pass this blessing on to others.” [2] What a marvelous way to express this feeling of being God’s beloved.

Dear Lord, loving God, thank You for Your love. You are so generous with Your love, mercy and kindness. You shower me with undeserved blessings each and every day. What’s more, I am not even aware of many of these blessings. Forgive me for being so oblivious. And, thank You for being willing to overlook these flaws and faults. Thank You so much for loving me.

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 42.

[2] Ibid, 43.

Praying for True Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 9, 2015

peace on earth

Praying for True Peace

Peace. Searching for peace. Why is it so fleeting, especially today? The Prince of Peace. I seek His face, the One who brings peace.

Yes, this is Advent, a time of waiting. A time of longing. A time neither here nor there, a time when I acknowledge the First Coming and await the Second Coming. This is most certainly not a time of peace. This crooked, broken world holds wars, rumors of war, fighting, free-floating anxiety, panic, dread.

Yet, I know the Prince of Peace is much more than that. I know the One who brings peace has overcome the world.

Henri Nouwen says, “Keep your eyes on Him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak. He is the source of all peace.” [1]

In this slim book of Advent readings, there is an Advent Action for each day. The action set for this reading for today is to listen to liturgical music. That particular kind of music “can often help us pray and can even help to overcome the chaos of a tense situation at home or elsewhere.… find and listen to a CD of religious music that expresses the calm serenity of waiting for the Christ child.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of peace. Thank You for entering into this sinful world, coming to humanity and offering perfect peace to all who come to You. We praise and honor Your holy name. 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.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 22.

[2] Ibid, 23.

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 20, 2015

believe that good things will happen

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Ah. Teaching myself to make better choices.

The daily meditation book, Keep It Simple, has a provocative reading today. “Life is about choice. To be spiritual people, we must make spiritual choices. Honesty is a spiritual choice. And working the Steps is a spiritual choice.” [1]

Living one day at a time, I am breaking life down into manageable bite-sized pieces, it’s true. But teaching myself to make better choices? A day at a time? That’s taking one-day-at-a-time living to the next level.

I have the option to make good choices today. Healthy choices? Yes. Safe choices? Yes. Beneficial and loving choices? Yes, yes. All of these are possible to me, now that I am working a Twelve Step program. I no longer am a slave to the unmanageability of life, to the madness and maelstrom of a life full of fear, anxiety, frustration and depression.

As I walk with my loving Higher Power, I have the ability to choose spiritual choices. To choose serenity and peace, as much as I am able. I have the option to keep my side of the spiritual street clean, too. And, as I continue to walk with God as I understand God, I’ll have better and more loving relationships: with God, and with others around me.

All in all, that sounds like a pretty good choice to me. A spiritual choice. 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.   @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 20 reading.