Tag Archives: beginning

Starting Point for Prayer and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 10, 2017


Starting Point for Prayer and Meditation

When starting to pray and meditate, different people have different ways to focus. Different starting points, or prompts. When Thich Nhat Hanh talks about meditation, he is often speaking of mindful meditation, in the Buddhist tradition. Meditation and prayer cross the borders of many different faith traditions and belief structures. I would very much like to practice my type of prayer and meditation as fully, deeply and thoroughly as this Buddhist teacher.

As Thich Nhat Hanh describes the beginning of his meditation and prayer, he talks of a bell. A simple bell, struck once or twice, can be a marvelous focus for one’s mind. After a person hears the bell sound, then the different parts of the human—intellect, thoughts, feelings, perceptions—can come together. It is then that a person is enabled to think with clarity.

This got me to thinking: what kinds of starting points for prayer and meditation was I used to?

I do not believe there is any other audible start to prayer and meditation except “Let us pray.” Not in my tradition of prayer, anyway.  Except—I have borrowed a cross-cultural way of meditation. I have started meditation with a bell a few times. This has been a pleasant and welcoming experience for me. A welcome starting point.

Gracious God, Thich Nhat Hanh has a lot of good ideas, including such a positive starting point. Thank You for such wonderful examples for me in this life. I ask to be as faithful as Thich Nhat Hanh in my prayer and meditation life, today. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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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, Beginning and Ending

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 30, 2016

praying hands 2

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

This is an in-between time for me. In between summer and back to school. In between the summer vacation-time schedule and the busier fall schedule. In between, not quite this, and not quite that.

I met with a good friend of mine. I pray for her. She is in an uncomfortable in-between time, herself. Please, lift up my friend. Pray with me for her financial well-being.

One of my daughters is just beginning her school year. Such a busy time for her! I pray for my daughter as she embarks on this last year of school, with all the work that entails. Please pray with me, that she may have focus, yet not forget about fun.

I am concerned about a new friend. She is about to begin a new thing, and she needs continuing support, encouragement, and more prayers. Blessings on her! (And, more prayers.)

Last, I pray for a good friend who has a birthday! What wonderful things birthdays are. Beginning a whole new year, yet in the middle of life. What an opportunity to celebrate my dear friend. God, bless my friend richly! Not only today, but all year long, in every aspect of life.

And, bless my husband. Watch over him, and help him at his work. Encourage him in his personal life. Give us both enjoyment as he and I live life. Help us live life to the fullest, as we are in the middle of things. Yet, just at the jumping off point.

Dear God, no matter where we are in life, whether at the beginning, at an ending, or in the middle, listen to us. Dear God, 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Prayer? Praying into the Center.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Holy Spirit as a dove -  Orthodox Church mosaic

Holy Spirit as a dove –
Orthodox Church mosaic

Prayer? Praying into the Center.

I still am at the very very beginning of this marvelous book. I can’t seem to get past this beginning part. I re-read the portion of the first chapter where Margaret Silf discusses prayer the way St. Ignatius spoke about it in the Spiritual Exercises.

“Prayer is Sabbath Time.” Time to separate myself from the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life. Prayer is meant to be a calming interlude, yes. Yet, much more. Prayer is meant to be a foundation for my day, for my night, at any and all times. Prayer is an act of transformation.

“Prayer is time taken out of the linear journey of our days, and it is also our most profound reality. When we pray, we move inward to our God center.” [1]

While I’m able to discuss prayer in general, I am having a bit of a problem approaching the specific suggestion for prayer at the end of the chapter. Perhaps that is why I am reflecting again and again on the material in this chapter, and not charging ahead to the prayer and reflection.

I know I have been able—in the past—to pray using this passage. A passage from Luke 1, where the angel Gabriel announces the pregnancy and upcoming birth to Mary. However, I am shying away from it this time. Perhaps I need to find out additional things from the very first chapter. We’ll see, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, I’m still dancing around this Annunciation passage. God, in Your mercy, reveal one or two insights to me from these words of Dr. Luke. Whenever I get to this passage, anyway.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for giving me such wonderful children. I have a slight glimpse, a bare inkling of what Mary heard, one fine day in March. Help me to be a good pray-er, especially when praying about people and their families.. Thank You, God, for the biblical account of Mary and the angel Gabriel. For, that is what this Annunciation passage is all about. New life, new birth, new glimpses of You. Help us to reach for You, in all that we do.


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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 4.

Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

matterofprayer: a year of everyday prayers – Thursday, January 1, 2015

winter road

Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

2015: a clean, fresh, bright new year. 365 new days ahead. I started this blog to talk about prayer and meditation, and I mean to continue that way. However—I feel I have a responsibility to my friends and acquaintances who have been telling me in the past few weeks that 2014 has not been a particularly good year for them. Anxiety! Sadness! Grief! Instability of many kinds! No, not particularly good, for many in my acquaintance. I want to make a firm foundation for myself, as well as for others. In prayer.

Therefore, I am going back to basics. I went to my prayer and spiritual formation shelf. (Actually, I need to make that shelves, since I am gathering more and more books on that area, recently.) I pulled a tried-and-true book off the shelf called The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray. A prayer guide in 31 lessons, I’ve used it in the past, to good effect.

In January, then, I will read and pray through James Howell’s devotional book on prayer. (I know I mentioned it here before.) Rev. Howell is a Methodist elder and a knowledgeable person on the subject of prayer. He’s written a marvelous book of instruction. This book shares his insights, as well as those of other knowledgeable people, both living and dead.

Before I go any further, I need to make a confession. I have difficulty being consistent, as far as prayer is concerned. Even though I love to pray, and receive blessing and benefit from regular prayer, I can’t pray every day. At times, I come close! I prayed through the whole month of November this past year, for example! But, I have a need for occasional change, too, because of my personal preferences. (If you speak Myers-Briggs, my preferences are ENFP.)

I shift from one helpful prayer guide to another. (I’m afraid I’m not that constant, as far as prayer guides are concerned.) Since it provides a good foundation, I will be sticking with Rev. Howell’s helpful book through January.

The secondary title of this blog, A Year of Everyday Prayers, is meant to be hopeful. Some might say, even presumptuous! I hope and pray that God will assist me in praying every day. (And, I would appreciate any and all prayers in support and encouragement.) But . . . I will take that one day at a time. I was greatly encouraged by 2014! I successfully blogged each and every day. God willing, I’ll do the same in 2015.

A few significant sentences from this first lesson of prayer are: “ . . . prayer is not a way of getting a grip on our lives of getting things under control. Prayer is the yielding of control. Prayer is discovering I am not the center of the universe.” Let’s pray. God, thanks for the excellent food for thought. Help me—help us as we pray and come to You. Thanks for giving us the understanding that we have a relationship with You, with a good and loving God. In gracious thanks we pray, amen.


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