Tag Archives: calm

Prayer: Comfort of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 9, 2019

Jesus, medieval face

Prayer: Comfort of God

We are introduced to Ignatian prayer immediately, in this first chapter: Ignatian prayer and the effects it can have, internally What a powerful introduction it is, too.

A woman, K., relates about a time of spiritual retreat, and how during one of her times of prayer she was moved to pray with and enter into the trial of Jesus. As she entered fully into that scene, she was moved to think, “How could Jesus stand there while everyone called for His death, I wondered. How could He be so calm?[1]

Oh, my. I have just been through some down, disheartening days myself, not only in my personal life, but in my ministry as well. Not mega-serious – not like a cancer diagnosis or a house burning down – but truly disheartening, nonetheless. I have been having difficulty with keeping my cool, being calm, as well as positive. I immediately focused on K.’s question.

K. continued to pray, and she saw God the Father holding Jesus, encouraging Him, and letting Jesus know that God would never let Him go. After a long period of prayer, K. was aware of God communicating that same thing to her: “I realized that the Father was within me as He was within Jesus. [God] was also holding me: ‘Do not be afraid. You are safe in My arms.’” [2]

I realized as I read these words that God indeed has treasures waiting for me in Ignatian prayer and meditation. (Yes, I have discovered these treasures in the past, at the times I’ve used these practices. But, it is so difficult to keep up the practices…)

How much more do I need to have the Lord remind me that I can also have these kinds of prayer experiences from time to time? Now, Father Gallagher openly says that these kinds of encounters and communication do not happen all the time, or even on a regular basis. But, if I practice Ignatian prayer and meditation regularly myself, I will have these experiences from time to time. What a stunning thing for me to look forward to.

Thank You, Lord, for Your presence with me. Thank You for being available to me when I pray, whenever I pray. Help me to be more regular in my prayer and meditation, please. Just as K. showed in her account, You are ready to bless, to come alongside, to comfort, to encourage any one who might need it. Oh, Lord, help me to pray.

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] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 19.

[2] Ibid.

Prayer. All By Myself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 17, 2018

monk kneeling at prayer

Prayer. All By Myself.

Father Nouwen says some intriguing things on these pages, in discussing inner silence—or, not so silent. Oh, how difficult it is to turn off that internal dialogue! Many people cannot stop that chatter, that constant whispering or commentary or even that committee in their own heads. “When there is no one to talk to, and no one to listen to, an interior discussion starts up which almost seems to get out of hand.” [1]

Yes, when I was a tween and teen, I disliked being alone. I liked to be with people. Even into my twenties, I wanted to be with people almost all the time, and did not care to be alone for very long. (By the way, that aspect of myself has changed.)

Have I changed, all that much? Sure, I enjoy, even relish being alone today. I can be silent sitting next to my husband, while both of us are working on the weekends. It’s a companionable silence, between the two of us. Dear Jesus, is that the kind of thing You are looking for? Is that the relationship You would like with me?

I am sad to say that I still feel some awkwardness in prayer. Yes, I have prayed for decades, and I still occasionally have deep and significant times of prayer. However, the prayer interactions are not always comfortable for me. Sometimes, it seems too stressed and forced (on my part, not on the other end).

Dear Lord, help me to feel comfortable with You, more regularly. Thank You for the possibility to be silent before You. Thank You for the love and caring You show to me, on a regular basis. I know I am not in a good situation…but as long as I am here together with you, Lord, I don’t have to worry. Father Nouwen is certainly correct; being calm and quiet takes a great deal of attention, but it is worth it. A relationship with my dear Lord Jesus? Thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 19.

Simplicity, According to Martin Luther

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 19, 2017

Matt 6-31 worry word cloud

Simplicity, According to Martin Luther

I just love Martin Luther. Perhaps it is because I was baptized, confirmed, and brought up in the Lutheran Church. Perhaps it was because I read some of Martin Luther’s writings in high school, as well as a biography and several church history books about him. (So, yes. I do know a few things about Martin.)

It was with great joy that I read this selection from Martin’s writings on the Sermon on the Mount, specifically 6:25-34.

I considered Martin’s heartfelt, plain-spoken words to hit the nail on the head: “Now, since the birds have learned so well the art of trusting [God] and of casting their cares from themselves upon God, we who are His children should do so even more….When we listen to the little birds singing every day, we are listening to our own embarrassment before God and the people….Here you have another example and analogy; according to it, the little flowers in the field, which cattle trample and eat, are to become our theologians and masters and to embarrass us still further.” [1]

Yes, I felt the sting of Martin Luther’s words. (I think his words were supposed to sting!) Yes, sting, and convict our hearts. When Martin finally comes around to verses 31 and 32 (“Now let these illustrations persuade you to lay aside your anxiety and your unbelief and to remember that you are Christians and not heathen.”), suddenly it is as if the sun has come out, flowers bloom and birds sing gaily. “[God] will not forsake you. He is faithful and willing to take special care of you Christians, because as has been said, He cares for the birds of the air as well.” [2]

Talk about having faith and trust in simplicity! Martin Luther had it in abundance. When I feel as if the anxiety or stress is growing by leaps and bounds, I can halt, quiet myself internally, take stock, and try to calm myself. Center myself. Breathe, slow down, and loosen up the tight muscles, shoulders and back. It really does help to make things more manageable. (Can I get an “amen” to that?)

Dear Lord, thank You for this wonderful example. Thank You for reminding me about Martin Luther, and about his view of scripture and of faith and trust. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 122.

[2] Ibid, 124.

Practice Prayer, Calm Yourself

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 25, 2017

 

celticcrossknockireland

Practice Prayer, Calm Yourself

As I read today’s brief reading, I was amazed at how basic and simple were the instructions. If I were to follow Thich Nhat Hanh’s basic suggestions each day, and every day, I suspect I would find even more of a centering. Even more of a relaxation and calmness.

Don’t get me wrong. I am being realistic. I know that I can’t put my head in the sand. However, the teacher’s guidelines are straight-forward and basic. (Not easy, mind you, but straight-forward and simple.) A quote from today’s reading: “There are people who meditate only to forget the complications and problems of life. They are like rabbits crouching under a hedge to escape a potential hunter.” [1]

Oh, dear. This is an incomplete view of meditation and prayer. Of course, for people who are beginning in the practice, this is far better than no meditation and prayer! We may begin at any point. We may begin at any time of the day. And, once we begin, “we are able to see the source of our habits, perceptions, and attachments.” [2] Seeing all of that, I begin to clear away the wreckage of the past as well as to relax and calm myself in peace and serenity.

It works. It really does! Thanks, God. God is so good, and so good to me.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 78.

[2] Ibid.

Pray in the Here and Now.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 26, 2017

now-clock

Pray in the Here and Now.

It’s a challenging thing to calm yourself, slow down, sit and compose yourself for prayer and meditation. Sometimes, that is.

In this little book How to Sit, the teacher Thich Nhat Hahn said, “Enjoy your arrival. How wonderful to feel that you are home, that your true home is in the here and the now.” [1]

What I understand from that quote feels homey. I can feel the comfort, and warmth. Thich Nhat Hahn expresses such simple—yet profound—statements in such a way that his words often make me sit back and think. Think deeply. And, the homey-ness, comfortability and warmth of these statements make me feel almost as if it is absolutely natural for me to seat myself in sitting meditation. (I am not quite there. However, I am trying. And, I keep on trying.)

It doesn’t matter which faith stream this book comes from, ultimately. There have been so many wise men and women over the centuries, giving their wisdom and understanding on how to pray and meditate. I hope I can begin to follow in this teacher’s footsteps, just as I have tried to pray in the manner of several other wise believers.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 38.

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 6, 2017

 

waves-storm_drawing

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

As I was reading the slim book “How to Sit” this evening, I was struck by the analogy given. Of anxious people on board a boat, at sea, in the middle of a storm. And, one person’s calm demeanor became what calmed the whole boatload of passengers.

I don’t want to bend over backwards to pat myself on the back, but I have noticed that I am that person, sometimes. I have a calm, less-anxious presence, at times. (I’ve noticed this, and so have my former chaplain supervisors.) Whether in a health care setting, or a funeral home, or in a tense situation outside the church, sometimes I help to bring a bit of calmness and serenity into an anxious or awkward or scary or angry situation.

When I considered this attitude lifted up by the book earlier this evening, I did not pray all that much. Instead, I found myself reflecting on this kind of attitude. A calm, less-anxious kind of attitude. I really do thank God that I can be that person, sometimes. I know I have been trained as a chaplain, and trained to express that kind of attitude, but some of it is natural.

I am so glad I have gravitated to a line of work where I can express these kinds of attitudes and talents. I know I need to continue to keep my attitudes and actions sharp, and be certain of continuing to reach out in care and concern. God willing, those will be the kinds of things that others will help me in doing. I pray that some here will work with me, so we all can support each other. One day at a time. (God, thank You!)

@chaplaineliza

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

Praying in Contagious Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 4, 2017

peace-and-quiet

Praying in Contagious Peace

Finding a place and space of calm and contentment? It can be challenging, even difficult. Yet, I am striving to do this during my time of prayer. A worthwhile challenge, indeed!

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, serves as my guide for this month. His slim volume called “How to Sit” will be my guide book.

Today’s short reading was that peace is contagious. No matter what, if I pay attention to my breath, that is. I must insist and make this post about peace, and calm, and quiet—just as much as I try to make my prayer time a time of contagious peace.

As I sat and prayed, I sat still and calmed my breathing; that is, I tried my very best to stay quiet and center my mind on peace.

God willing, we all will strive for peace.

@chaplaineliza

 

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