Tag Archives: be kind

Judgment, No. Compassion, Yes.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 6, 2015

BK kindness is an attitude

Judgment, No. Compassion, Yes.

Today’s reading seems—at first glance—to be somewhat disturbing. Why on earth would I want to die to my neighbor? Great question!

Fr. Nouwen explains that the Desert Fathers say that solitude gives birth to compassion because “it makes us die to our neighbor.” [1] In other words, “in order to be of service to others we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others.” [2]

This is so profound. Compassion comes through service. And, service is necessarily self-less. Thinking of self less and less, and concentrating on the other more and more. I have a great desire to give service to others. To help, and to be kind to others. I tried to do this, intentionally, each day in the year 2014. (And, I blogged about it, at A Year of Being Kind )

Another way of viewing this is when I judge others and cold-heartedly evaluate and look down on others, I am thinking of myself (and my Self) more and more. If I really want to be with others, to be a companion and a friend to them, I need to hang out with others on a regular basis, and not isolate. Not be all alone.

I really appreciate the Advent Action for today: “A follower of St. Anthony, Abba Moses, gives this instruction: ‘Do not let dislike dominate your heart.’ Make a short list of those whom you dislike, even surreptitiously. Choose one person to expunge from your negative thoughts.”

This is excellent advice. Since I am familiar with the Twelve Steps of Recovery, this action goes hand in glove with a large part of the Recovery program. Dislike is close cousin to resentment. It’s always hurtful and harmful to maintain a resentment and a dislike.

Dear God, help me lose my resentments and dislikes. Please. Help me be more loving, giving and serving to others. So, help me, 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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 16.

[2] Ibid.

Blessing, Blessing, Everywhere. In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, July 1, 2015

bless your heart

Blessing, Blessing, Everywhere. In Prayer.

It’s a new month, and I have a new focus for this blog. In July, I am going to concentrate on an intriguing book named Praying the New Testament as Psalms. Desmond O’Donnel and Maureen Mohen wrote the book, and I thought I’d sample some chapters. I mean, psalms.

O’Donnell and Mohen did do an excellent job. We’ll lead off the month with Blessing.

Gracious God, You indeed have blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Help us—help me to to something similar. Please allow my friends gifts they will appreciate. I sometimes feel scared and aware something is going to be coming. Please, God, give me the strength to be kind to those who are against me and the things I feel so strongly.

Dear God, You have concentrated on giving good things to me. (Me, are you sure?) Help me love You more nearly, more dearly. I would exchange so much that I have for more knowledge and understanding of You.

In Jesus’ precious, powerful name I pray, 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 .

Day #19 – In Touch with Prisoners, and Children. In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day #19 – In Touch with Prisoners, and Children. In Prayer.

When I read today’s suggestion for #40acts, I immediately knew what I was going to post. Or, rather, repost. I wrote a heartwrenching blog post for my daily blog (ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com) last January, in 2014. Thank God this transportation ministry is still going on. I think this was an eye-opening post. I hope and pray that some people’s eyes will continue to be opened. See what you think.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, January 24, 2014

BK kindness workboots on

Be Kind—Reunite Kids and Moms (Feature Friday!)

The weather outside is frightful. As I look out the window, I think of blustery weather and dangerously low wind chills. A difficult time of year to travel, here in the Midwest. It’s even more of a challenge for people to travel, if they must rely on public transportation.

The prison ministry I used to drive for eases just such a challenge. The prison ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Evanston reunites incarcerated moms with their children—for at least part of a Saturday. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois organizes transportation for children and their caregivers (grandmothers, aunts, and other family members or friends). First Pres Evanston is one of their transportation volunteers.

For years, this church has used their bus to transport loved ones to federal penitentiaries—for no charge to the relatives. The relatives transported are often on public aid, Social Security, or some other form of assistance. They have very little money to begin with, and often rely on public transportation. This makes trips to downstate prisons to see incarcerated loved ones almost an impossibility.

I was one of the main drivers for First Pres during most of the decade 2000 to 2010. I transported these relatives many miles on Saturdays. Never mind that I had to get to the church extra early to check out the bus, warm it up, and head off to the pick-up point on the south side of Chicago. (I didn’t mind. Really. Honest.) That pick-up point—a huge strip mall parking lot next to the expressway—struck me as particularly sad. Shrewd, cynical shysters crassly make money (a LOT of money) doing the same thing. Transporting loved ones in similar situations, at a considerable profit. A few years ago, the price for one of these for-profit seats on the commercial buses lined up at the lot’s edge was in the area of $35 to $40. That was the price PER SEAT. If a grandma wanted to take two or three grandchildren to see their mom in prison, the cost would triple or quadruple. Way out of reach for those on a limited income.

I willingly gave up frequent Saturdays to drive the church bus, because I believed in being kind, offering what I had—some driving ability and a commercial driver’s license—for others. But I didn’t immediately make the connection with the words of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, specifically in Matthew 25:31-46. I finally got my elbow nudged from God: I helped these relatives to go see their loved ones, the incarcerated women. So, yes. I was aiding them to do what Jesus directed in verses 36 and 39-40. (“What you did for the least of these.”) I had a small part in making the world a more nurturing place, a more compassionate place. And most especially, allowing children to have some kind of personal, face-to-face relationship with their moms.

Thank God there are people who still willingly give up their Saturdays to drive to prisons a long distance away. And I pray for ministries like that of First Presbyterian Church in Evanston and Lutheran Social Services. Bless them, and prosper their continued ministry. What a way to be kind and tender-hearted.


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 #10 – Fix It, Tack It, Nail It! Or, Not.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 27, 2015

daisy growing through difficulties

Day #10 – Fix It, Tack It, Nail It! Or, Not.

Today’s suggestion? I loved it! It’s almost second nature for me to be helpful. Be of service. Be kind. As a matter of fact, I wrote a blog in 2014 called A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service. (at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com) This blog told about my adventures with kindness, service and being helpful, each day. I was successful in making blog entries every single day in 2014, including Feature Fridays, when I would feature someone else being kind.

But, enough about my blog. My other blog, that is.

As I said before, I loved this post from 40acts today. I really wanted to do something for someone else, but stuff happened. I became preoccupied for most of the afternoon, and my plans of the morning never got carried out. (I would appreciate some prayer. The situation is continuing, and God knows what it is. Thanks so much. You are awesome. Seriously.)

This got me to thinking as the evening was drawing to a close: what if I don’t have time to complete today’s suggestion? What if I can’t, or for some reason, unable to complete it?

Actually, I did do a kind act. I went to the jam-packed YMCA this morning. After exercising and before I left, I took a quick shower. I noticed one of the bathroom stalls did not have toilet paper. On my way out, I mentioned the need to one of the janitorial staff. (And believe me, it was a need, with such a crowd there this morning!)

The staff member was very grateful I had spoken up! And, I knew I was doing a kind deed. Not quite on the level of Bear Grylls, but still, I can tell you that many women go in and out of those locker room bathrooms! So many, in fact, the paper supplies must be supplied frequently. I’m glad I was there to make note of the need, and to suggest that the janitor changed things. Like the toilet paper. I was heartily glad I could help. Thank 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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(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.


Internal Life? Or External Walk?

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 30, 2013

winter road

For the past few years, I’ve been concerning myself with—myself. I have been striving to maintain some kind of spiritual balance, working on my internal, spiritual component. I pray regularly (or at least, try to). I visit my therapist and spiritual director regularly, work out on a weekly basis at the local YMCA gym, and I even practiced relaxation and meditation in an intensive way for several months. In all of this, I have been working on the inner “me.”

I have also been intentional with my prayer life. Not only have I been praying on an increasingly regular basis, but I’ve also started a prayer chain and prayer blog, so we all can be encouraged in our personal prayer lives. This helps my inner relationship with God prosper, too.

But, what about my relationship with others? How about my family? Friends? What about those at church, or at the gym? What about my co-workers, or strangers I meet on the street? Have I been as studious and diligent at developing my relationship with them?

Yes, I am called by God to be in relationship with God—the vertical relationship.  But I am also called to be in community, as well—the horizontal relationship, one with another. One of my spiritual gifts is helping people. And by nature, I am kind and compassionate in my relations with others. It’s my relationship with others and with my local community (as well as their relationship with me) that I want to work on in 2014.

That’s why 2014 is my year to be kind. To help. To be of service. Intentionally.

(I will explore my thoughts and experiences of my year of service throughout 2014. I’ll do this at a new blog— www.ayearofbeingkind.net, starting on January 1, 2014. I’m excited! Visit me there, too.)

Let’s pray. Dear God, as the old year ends and the new year begins, I see new hopes ahead. New opportunities. New experiences. God, be with me as I begin a year of intentional service. I pray that this service be God-honoring. I ask You to lead me into places and experiences that You intend. Even challenging and difficult things. Protect me, guard me, guide me. I know You will be there, holding my hand. Thank You for my friends and prayer partners, who will be right by my side (in prayer!). God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.