Tag Archives: calming

See Clearly in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 17, 2017


See Clearly in Prayer

What a timely reading tonight. The idea that meditation can be seen as a step-by-step procedure makes a lot of sense.

First, concentrate on the breath. Breathe, in and out, Slow down the breath, and relax. The teacher Thich Nhat Hanh assures us if the breath slows and deepens, then we are ready to begin soothing our mind and body.

This does not happen to me all the time, or even most of the time, but I will say that some of the time this calming and soothing happens to me. I do feel more peaceful and relaxed. Then, the idea of seeing clearly is much more possible.

Seeing clearly is so important to dealing fairly with others. (It doesn’t matter “who” the other is.) I want to deal fairly with others. (Most of the time.) Then, as the Buddhist teacher tells his readers, true happiness is within our reach. For certain.

Dear God, thank You for this step-by-step way of breathing, of taking in oxygen in a way that calms my nerves and soothes body and soul. May it continue!


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 Through the Rain

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 27, 2016



Praying Through the Rain

Ordinarily, I like the rain. I enjoy walking in rain, on occasion. I especially relish retreating inside after a chilly, rainy walk, with the prospect of hot coffee or tea. Curling up with a good book and bundled in a warm, snuggly sweater.

Today was not one of those days. Today was a wet, dismal day. Mid to high thirties, so especially damp and chilled. Downright frigid, when the wind blew. My sister and I drove to a museum and toured a large house, a long ways from home—yes, through the raggedy rain, driving against the car’s windshield and windows.

Don’t get me wrong. It was wonderful for us to talk at length, and see some things along the way I had never seen before. However, it was a stressful trip. Especially stressful for my sister, who drove for a long way in mostly heavy traffic.

I sent up several quick prayers, requests for safety on the road.

Do you know about arrow prayers? An older acquaintance told me about what he referred to as arrow prayers. He would shoot them up to heaven, quick and straight. Just like arrows. He would fire them straight to God. A man who chose his words with care, a circumspect man, I thought that arrow prayers described his communication with God perfectly.

Accordingly, I sent up a few arrow prayers today. I thank God for responding. Answering. Calming my heart, and hopefully, my sister’s heart, too. Thanks, God, for being with us every step of the way.


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


How to Be Aware of Soul?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 11, 2015

SOUL gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul Prov 16-23

How to Be Aware of Soul?

I love going to yoga. Calming my mind, being (more) at peace with myself, and within myself.

Somehow, my yoga practice came to mind tonight as I read this chapter that Ram Dass wrote. The chapter is appropriately called “The Pilgrimage of Awareness,” and Ram Dass talks about the gradual approaching of awareness, of the sense of “me-ness” that I have. Not that yoga was mentioned anywhere in these pages today, but for some reason, I thought of it.

The practice of yoga is gradual, as well. Yet, it is not a sense of “me-ness” as much as becoming engaged with the sense of uniqueness. Yes, my name is Elizabeth, and there have been/are/will be many Elizabeths. However, I am unique. I have “me-ness” that is unlike any other’s.

Although Ram Dass has a more Eastern viewpoint, I can see parallels in his discussion with King David’s writings, and the Jewish understanding of certain Psalms. David mentioned his uniqueness in Psalm 139, and of how precious life itself is, even while still in the mother’s uterus. Ram Dass does something similar, in talking about how separate and unique each human is. Except—being separate is not quite positive, in the Eastern understanding.

I guess I must have been raised with the American mindset of rugged individuality, since I relish this idea of separate, unique personhood. This chapter proposes, instead, that each of us separate individuals needs to be folded back into pure awareness. [1]

Some people follow the Eastern (Buddhist-oriented) path, while others turn to the mindset of American uniqueness and individualism. For me, I honor and try to learn from those who are espousing a way of thinking and being that is different from mine.

God willing, I’ll be able to learn a great deal from peace, calm, serenity—and yoga.


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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 69.

Leaving Advent Calendars Behind

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent calendars are wonderful. Great ways to show small children, visually, how many days have to pass before Christmas comes. I have used Advent calendars in my house for years. They are pretty and useful. In years past, the young people here have really appreciated the yearly calendar. But now, my two younger children are in their late teens. Yes, I got an Advent calendar, but my 19 year old did not want to open any windows (this year, at least). And my 16 year old is opening windows in the calendar, but is not particularly excited about it.

What do I do when some Advent activity or small tradition of Christmas is left behind? How will I feel? Will my unrealistic expectations be dashed? What then?

This is where prayer comes in. Prayer can be calming. Prayer can be life-saving. I can pour out my disappointment to God in prayer, and get some relief. (some release, too!) I know, intellectually, that my children are growing and changing. As each new year passes and each December proceeds toward Christmas, I need to grow and change, too. My prayer life helps me come to terms with that part.

God knows our disappointment and fear, as well as our anxiety, anger and distress. God is familiar with our joy, excitement, and laughter, too. These are God-given expressions, meant to express our feelings, desires and the innermost cries of our hearts. (chuckles, too!) God calls us to pray, to communicate, to curl up alongside and have a heart-to-heart talk. Just what I need, so often.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for such wonderful ideas as Advent calendars! But help me come to terms with facts: my younger children are growing beyond such things. I know You can bring me—You can bring us—to fresh understandings of the Advent season. Thank You for this time of preparation. Prepare our hearts to receive You. Amen!