Tag Archives: beneficial

Pray for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 9, 2016

meditating Jesus - unknown artist

Pray for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

How fascinating to contemplate peace. Interesting? Much more than that. Truly mind-altering.

When I consider peaceful thoughts, and meditation on peaceful subjects, my mind slows down to a more manageable speed. My breathing slows to a deeper in and out—slowly, in—slowly, out. I can feel my shoulders and back becoming less tense, more relaxed.

My yoga instructor, Ine, is a retired nurse. She regularly tells her class that the deep breathing and calming relaxation of yoga is beneficial in several important ways—including lowering the blood pressure, assisting in opening up the airway, and allowing the diaphragm to move freely.

That’s how I felt as I read through this prayer from The Oxford Book of Prayer.[1] It is taken from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship. It’s short enough that I will quote it in full:

“Show us, good Lord,/the peace we should seek/the peace we must give,/the peace we can keep,/ the peace we must forgo, and the peace You have given us in Jesus our Lord.” [2]

Differing aspects of peace, yet all of them can be said to be gentle and quiet. Peace is not often loud and boisterous! Often quiet and unassuming. Take, for example, this short prayer. If prayed slowly, earnestly, from the heart, it will have a good chance of having those calming benefits my yoga teacher talks about. (Try it, and see!)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the benefits of pursuing peace. I can see the wonderful reaction peace has on my tense, stressed-out body. Thank You for allowing me to learn more about many different aspects of peace, calm, prayer, and meditation. Help me to be able to practice these several actions, regularly. I know You are pleased when I do! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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


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.

[2] Ibid.

Hopefulness, the Ignatian Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 31, 2015

hope hope hope

Hopefulness, the Ignatian Way

I like Ignatian prayer and spirituality. I really, really do.

I find Ignatian prayer and meditation come naturally to me. I feel it deeply. In fact, sometimes I just can’t pray in this particular fashion, so I need to choose another, less feeling- and emotion-oriented way

This time of prayer is special to all who follow St. Ignatius of Loyola, in particular those who experience the parts of the Daily Examen. We turn in the book Inner Compass to the author’s understanding of the daily manner of prayer.

We have gotten to the last step of this progress, called Hopefulness. “Look forward to tomorrow. Ask [God] to open your eye to whatever surprises it may bring; to open your eyes to notice Him in unexpected places. . . . Whatever inadequacies you find in your day’s living, let them be there before God now, not for judgment.” [1]

What I gather from this paragraph is to be positive. Yes, we do need to think about whatever is going on in each one’s lives. Positive or negative, simple or complex. I am used to living and considering one day at a time—today. This is a beneficial way of going about “life,” for me.

However, this Hopefulness step also urges me to consider tomorrow—with hope. I especially appreciate Margaret Silf’s words, telling me to open my eyes, to notice God in unexpected places. I earnestly pray that I can be this hopeful in prayer.

We end this season of Ignatian prayer and spirituality with today’s post. I also ask that each one who is taking this way of praying to heart find encouragement and support. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayers. 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] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.


What About Tomorrow? And Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 20, 2015

sun behind clouds over water

What About Tomorrow? And Prayer?

Today I am looking at the last section of a brief prayer form of St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen. This part of the examination is a bit different for me, especially since I have been trying to live by the credo “One Day at a Time.” For years.

I really have tried to live each day, in the “now.” I’ve been trying not to get lost wandering in yesterday, and not to get ahead of myself by immersing myself in tomorrow. That’s exactly what our Lord Jesus told us to do at the end of the sixth chapter of Matthew. Each day has concerns of its own; or, as the Revised Standard Version says in verse 34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

St. Ignatius has a little different view of what I ought to do, however. The last section of his Daily Examen tells me to look forward to tomorrow. Plan for the day. Here’s the quote from the Ignatian prayer website:

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.” [1]

It’s always beneficial to ask for God’s guidance. No matter what. And, to pray? Develop my relationship with God further? That can only help me.

Thanks, God, for giving me a hand, and helping me out.


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] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray

Praise God for the Good—in Me?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 10, 2015

God is good all the time

Praise God for the Good—in Me?

Ever get embarrassed? I mean, really embarrassed? That was my first, instant reflex when I read today’s prayer suggestion. And then—I considered further. Why on earth was I embarrassed, when God knows it all, anyhow?

We’ll see what you think. The prayer suggestion read: Praise and thank God for all the good qualities you find in yourself. And—the follow up question was this: How can you more fully develop these good qualities?

First of all, I still have occasional baggage from my family of origin. I’m the youngest of a bunch of siblings. I still have that nagging feeling in the back of my brain that I’m the smallest, the least consequential, the one left behind. (I can’t blame my older sibs. After all, I was six years younger than the last sib. Of course I’d be trailing behind.) Add some low self-esteem, and the fact I was a chubby kid and turned into a chunky adolescent? Plenty of baggage.

Somehow, I need to square these fleeting, negative images of myself with how God sees me. God sees the positive gifts, the beneficial attributes.

Okay, God. Intellectually I know You love me. You want the best for me. And, You are sitting back, waiting to see what I’ll do with this prayer suggestion. Or, is it a prayer challenge? Because that’s very much what it feels like, right now.

I am genuine and persistent. I have a deep concern for others. People repeatedly tell me that I really listen to them, I hear their difficulties, I feel their emotions. (I suspect they seem to sense where I used to be, and still am, weak.) I also feel a strong motivation to help people, to serve as a companion, a liaison. I am often a friendly and prayerful companion. I am by nature a caring, nurturing, helpful, encouraging person. I have a definite sense of humor, and I sometimes use it to lighten the mood. I enjoy singing and making music, and I have an artistic bent.

If this suggestion was pointed more towards my spiritual gifts, I have the gifts of helps, mercy, a bit of hospitality, discernment, and pastor/teacher.

I feel like I cheated. I didn’t just come up with these off the top of my head. Instead, these characteristics have been confirmed by mature Christian elders and others, and by doing my own personal emotional discovery work. I’ve written them down, otherwise I couldn’t possibly come up with these gifts and attributes at the drop of a hat.

God, I need to take a good look at myself. An honest one, too. Thanks for helping me to see that I am a worthy and wonderful child of Yours. Help me to remember these good gifts and generous attributes on a regular basis!

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

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

The Prayer List

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 27, 2015

pray pray pray

The Prayer List

I have had a love/hate relationship with prayer lists, over the past several decades. Currently, I am helped by lists, and I readily use them. But I can remember times that I was burdened by them, even to the point where I felt practically sinful when I missed the time I had set aside to pray with my prayer list. (Not good, believe me!)

It got so bad, I would get the really strong impression that the Enemy would be there, ready to pounce on me and bash me upside the head with a big two by four. Oh, and the two by four had the words “Prayer List” scrawled across it in dark, messy printing, all capitals.

I finally figured out this was not beneficial and nurturing to my walk with God, and my continuing relationship in prayer. Or, with prayer. Or, something like that.

Believe me, this area of prayer—and especially prayer lists—is something my spiritual director and I periodically revisit. So, yes. I am aware of my love/hate relationship, and I am talking with several mature believers about it, from time to time.

I bring up the topic of the The List because our trusty guide in prayer, Rev. Howell, brings it up today, too. He is in favor of lists. (I am, too. For the most part, and for the majority of people interested in prayer.)

Sometimes when people tell me about prayer requests, I feel helpless, terribly sad, or grieving inside. And yes, I wonder sometimes what my measly prayers to God would ever accomplish, given such overwhelming odds against. It is in these sad situations that I wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Howell. Prayer is love. [1]

Moreover, as I tell people who request prayer from me and our church’s prayer chain, prayer is also encouragement, comfort and support. When I am alone in my grief, or pain, or suffering, that alone-ness can be fearful, anxious, even hopeless. But when I share my requests with others, they and their prayers can come alongside of me, encouraging me. I can gain comfort, just knowing that others are thinking about me and my request. And, I can feel supported by others, and most importantly, by God.

Thank You, God, for the love, encouragement, comfort and support that comes in prayer.

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

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 85.