Tag Archives: caring

Full of Grace and Encouragement. Prayer, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 13, 2015

encourage each other water

Full of Grace and Encouragement. Prayer, Too!

Barnabas is mentioned just a few times in the book of Acts, but always with such encouragement! That was Barnabas, all over. (I’m talking about Acts 11, now.)

Yes, I have some of the gift of encouragement. I enjoy building up others with the joy of God. If people are doing something right, my first impulse is to comment and tell them so!

I wonder. How often do others have that impulse?

The other leaders in the beginning of church movement wanted to check out what was going on in Antioch. They were truly led by God in their choice of investigators. Who better to investigate, verify and report back?

Dear God, help me to be encouraging, positive, loving and caring with others. And when I get placed in situations where others are doing something questionable, Lord, help me to always follow Your will and ways, especially when dealing with others.

@chaplaineliza

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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Day #32 – Brag About Besties! And Pray, Too.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 26, 2015

like you anyway

Day #32 – Brag About Besties! And Pray, Too.

I’ve got a confession to make. I don’t have a smart phone. Or a camera phone. I have a dumb phone. One good for talking and for texting. I also do not have an Instagram account. (Probably because I do not have a camera/smart phone.) However, I am periodically fascinated by others’ photos. And selfies.

Today’s suggestion intrigued me. Of course, I have never taken a selfie. I kind of, sort of might like to try. But, I recognize that’s selfish. Better for me to talk about my friends than to focus on me, me, me! So, I’ll tell you about a few other people. Boast about them! Brag!

First, I’ll tell you about my good friend Susan. She is sweet, loving, patient and one of the most caring people I know. She would be quick to let you know that she is also a mom of several kids. Very active, curious kids! And, she owns a sweet dog who, while greeting you, almost bowls you over. Susan goes above and beyond in her work, since she works with developmentally and intellectually disabled people, and loves what she does. God bless you, Susan! I thank God for my dear, dear friend.

Next, I think of Alison and Ivan. Marvelous couple! Genuinely interested in everyone. They worked for years outside of this country as missionaries. Or was Ivan a pastor? Counselor? Was Alison a lactation consultant? Or good friend? Now, they are back in the area. The best thing I think of when I consider this lovely couple is that I could immediately pick up an in-depth conversation with either of them as if we had just left off a few days before. Even though it was several years in between the times I saw them. My good friends, and coworkers in the Gospel.

Last, for right now, is my friend Stu. Some distance away, he is going through a difficult time right now—he and especially a dear loved one. (Pray for their family, if you would. Thank you so much!) Stu is a dear, dear friend of mine. He is a technical professional, detail-oriented toward his work, yet concerned about people—every individual he meets. His church and his friends are also important, but they are overshadowed by his immediate concerns about his family. Stu, friend of my heart, dear brother in Christ. Sending gentle thoughts and prayers your way in this challenging time!

Four dear, dear people, from different walks of life. God, be with each of them, as well as their families. May You send each one what they most need, today. Please, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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 #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 21, 2015

THANK God every time I remember you

Day #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Ever have a wonderful boss? I have! Several, in fact. (Then, too, I’ve had several who were not particularly wonderful. But I am not going to even think about them, today.)

Today’s suggestion from #40acts is to be a blessing to your bosses. Or, church leaders, or authority figures. So many people act or speak in a negative way, even about their bosses or supervisors, or leaders. Why not speak positively? Compliment them? Give them “a heavy dose of blessing” right back. (As Ewen McAlpine mentions in today’s 40acts blog post.)

I have two bosses in mind today. Neither of them is my boss any longer. However, while I was under their supervision, I considered myself fortunate to have them in authority over me.

The first is the Rev. Dr. Frank Baldwin, Director of Chaplaincy at the Presbyterian Homes. Frank was awesome! He retired from his long-time position as Director of Chaplaincy for all the sites in the Pres Homes network late last year.  I consider myself blessed to have had him as a supervisor some years ago while I spent a year at the Pres Homes as a chaplain intern.

Frank is kind, intuitive, clear-headed, marvelous at administration, and caring and insightful as a chaplain and pastor. He has such a head for details, and for names! One of the best at remembering facts about people—and their loved ones—that I have ever seen. He is a careful communicator, insightful and patient with me as an intern, and encouraging to me when I had questions and could have done better. When I grow up, I want to be like Frank!

The second boss is Rev. Gordon Smith. I worked with Gordon at two locations. In any situation where I saw him operate, Gordon made use of his superb communication abilities. His interpersonal and preaching skills are phenomenal!

While at our first site together, Gordon showed how competent and innovative he could be. He has spent most of the past ten years in interim church work in the Chicago area, serving as interim pastor until the churches could call a permanent pastor. He is wonderful at this specialized work. And—at supervising his co-workers. Always collegial, encouraging, affirming, and positive, he also is wonderful at painting a vision of where churches and congregations would like to go, and how they might best get there. A wonderful interim minister! And an awesome colleague, as well.

Thank you, thank you, to both Frank and Gordon. You helped me to do my job more fully, more richly than I ever thought I could. I always wanted to do my very best for you, in these positions. I pray for you both, and your families. May God richly bless you, and give you enjoyable and interesting things to do in the future. God’s peace be yours in abundance, too!

@chaplaineliza

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 .

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PRAY hug friends with prayers

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

If you’ve been following this occasional blog during the past few months, I may have mentioned my change in job circumstances a time or two. About how my good friend and co-pastor Pastor Gordon and I were working together at the small congregation in the Chicago suburbs. And how Gordon has since left for another call and responsibility with his denomination, the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ. So, I won’t go into that again.

However, before Gordon left the church, he and I met during the last week of May to recap our ministry over the past three months. In other words, look at all that we had done, and done right!

My good friend affirmed the fact that we had been a real encouragement to this congregation. That was a real affirmation for me, personally! During the next few weeks, as I was thinking about and praying about possible summer preaching series-es, the idea of prayer kept coming to me again and again. So, the week after Pentecost, I rolled it out. I began the series, and I want to concentrate especially on intercessory prayer, in the weeks ahead.

I know, from both my work and my personal experience, how much people often appreciate intercessory prayer! When I worked as a chaplain, I would usually ask the patients and/or their loved ones, “Is there anything you would like for me to do?” Very often, the answer would be, “Yes, please! Could you pray for us?” or, “Pray for good test results!” or perhaps, “Could you pray for this other situation, too?” And, people of all different denominations and faith traditions, too. Even those from outside of Christianity would occasionally ask me for prayer.

Time and again, I was so awestruck and honored to be entrusted with this precious opportunity—the opportunity to come into God’s presence with these friends. And, to journey with them, for a little way, down this road of challenge, difficulty, grief and pain.

That was such a vivid, sometimes rewarding, sometimes heart-rending experience. I really feel called to present this opportunity to this congregation. We can offer to pray for others. God willing, we can be loving, caring friends to people in need. I plan on starting this prayer ministry the first week in August.

I know there are some praying friends who are reading this blog. If you feel so led, could you pray for us and this congregation, as we prepare to minister to others? And, show others the love and care of Christ, as we pray for them and their needs? Thanks so much. I don’t know what I would do without sisters and brothers in God to walk with me. Together, we can do so much more than me, all by myself. Praise God!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your comfort and care. Thank You for the invitation to come before You in prayer. Gracious God, help us to lift up our friends and acquaintances to You, in both praises and requests. We are so glad You are always ready to hear us, and respond. Thank You! Amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Praying Through the Negative—Admonition, That Is!

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, March 31, 2014

elephant and dog

Praying Through the Negative—Admonition, That Is!

A good deal has occurred since I last posted on this blog—a mere two weeks ago. But I have a new job now! A job that suddenly popped up, and I took it. For the curious among you readers, a two weeks ago I began serving at a church in the Chicago suburbs. My position is that of interim co-pastor, and the whole set-up was providential, indeed! Amazing how quickly things can happen.

In my position as a spiritually-knowledgeable person, I try to stay informed about biblical things. So, I sometimes read things online.

For instance, I read a helpful post today on a biblical encouragement website. Last week, this website featured posts from Ephesians, where Paul is admonishing his readers to stay away from certain actions. Negative (“do not!”) commands from Paul seldom trigger positive emotions inside me! True, his “do not!” commands may admonish me—and be sure that I need regular admonishment. *grin* Instead, what works well for me is positive reinforcement, especially what this website mentioned in its post today. If I know that what I say or what comes out of my mouth has the possibility of giving God joy? Well then, I am strongly encouraged to keep on saying things like that! It’s the way I am wired. It works for me.

That’s one reason I get along so well with my partner in crime, my co-worker and co-pastor, Gordon. He and I have an excellent partnership being interim co-pastors of a small church in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove. He is so encouraging and positive to everyone—including me. And I am naturally encouraging and caring back at him (being a chaplain/pastoral care kind of gal). He and I work well, and reflect well off of, each other.

My encouragement to each of my readers is to consider Ephesians 4:29-32. Except in a positive manner. How can each of us do these things, live in this way, pleasing to God? Instead of getting bogged down in where I’ve fallen short, I can look at the positive, and strive to do more! Live better, and be an encouragement to others! Oh, walk more closely with God, too.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for the words of Paul that come to us in the New Testament. Forgive us for where we fall short, because we mess up every day. Thanks for loving us, anyhow. Help us to look on the positive side, give joy to others, and encourage each one we meet today. By Your help and power we pray, Amen.

I Got Rhythm—in Prayer?

matterofprayer blog post for Sunday, February 23, 2014

pray more worry less

I Got Rhythm—in Prayer?

I keep banging up against that scary word “discipline.” It’s related to the daunting and also-scary word “self-control.” Yeah. Those are two things I do not have in abundance.

I’ve talked about my struggles with prayer here before. How I can’t seem to get truly consistent in prayer (that is, daily, as in every day). However, I am pleased to say that I followed the Advent prayer calendar in December with only two or three days missed. Still, I haven’t successfully done the daily prayer-thing, ever.

Boy, I felt guilt. (Again, I might add. Not as much as years ago, when I was involved with a bunch of legalistic Christians, but still.) Even though I knew that God wasn’t mad at me, I couldn’t help but suspect God was the tiniest bit disappointed. Maybe more than the tiniest bit, sometimes.

And then—I came across a page in a book on prayer that I’m regularly using for my prayer and meditation time. Last week was when it happened. The book is by the Rev. Martin Smith, a skilled spiritual director and now a retired Episcopal priest. (His book The Word Is Very Near You is subtitled A Guide to Praying with Scripture.) On page 70, Fr. Martin mentions the word “rhythm” in association with the prayer and meditative life.

The sentences I was particularly struck with run as follows: “For some people the word ‘discipline’ has overtones of unyielding regulation and stern subjection of spontaneity, but rhythm belongs in all organic life. . . . Unless we take responsibility for the patterning of our lives others will dictate to us how to live.” I appreciate the idea of there being a rhythm to prayer and meditation. This rhythm reminded me somewhat of Ecclesiastes 3, and the rhythm inherent to life. Rhythm is similar to time, and time is a focus of Ecclesiastes chapter 3.

Rhythm is also an integral part of music. Since I am musical and can read music notation quite well, I relate to such an analogy. If I consider my life punctuated with prayer, in a sort of a rhythm, that makes good sense to me. I understand that, and I don’t end up feeling guilty! (Well, at least not as guilty.) And just as rhythm is a foundational part of the patterning of music, so rhythm can aid in the patterning of my life with prayer and meditation.

Now, some may think this is an easy way out of daily prayer and meditation. For some, yes. But I felt loaded down with guilt and depression. True, the guilt was only here occasionally. But sometimes, it got really bad! Here, Fr. Martin told me about rhythm! Rhythm, that regular yet pulsing, periodic downbeat of music. This was something I could understand! What an assist for my prayer time! Thanks to everyone who took the time for me, so I could find the time to pray.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for granting us all access to You. Thank You for the invitation to come and see you each day. Each of us has pains, hurts, and worse. But You are faithful. You are merciful. Please help me to continue with the rhythm of prayer. In Your name, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

As Long As Ever You Can

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pray Pray Pray 1 Thess

As Long As Ever You Can

I shift from one helpful prayer guide to another. I’m afraid I’m not that constant, as far as sticking with one prayer guide is concerned. However, God sends me amazing things to pray about, no matter which prayer book I happen to be using at the time.

Take yesterday, for example. I used 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. His discussion on fruitfulness was quite helpful to me, especially since I am trying to find intentional acts of service to do. On a regular basis, of course.

Howell mentioned “inward holiness,” or growing our souls deeper into God. Being fruitful is one way for me to grow deeper into God (his words). Or, in my way of thinking, if I am fruitful, I walk more closely with God. After all, if I feel far away from God, chances are that I moved away. I suspect God is patient and long-suffering. God will stay right in the same place, no matter how long it takes.

I am actively looking for acts of loving, caring service each day in 2014. I pray on a regular basis for God to send acts of service my way. It is amazing how God is answering that prayer. And in odd ways, humorous ways, even amazing ways. (Check out my other blog, A Year of Being Kind. Today’s post: http://wp.me/p4cOf8-2R )

I attended seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, which is a United Methodist seminary. So, I have some understanding of John Wesley and his ideas of personal holiness. Moreover, I know something about the service orientation that is deeply part of many Methodists, and their way of doing and thinking about theology. Some of my best friends at seminary are currently serving UMC churches. Praise God for them and their various ministries.

I would like to close in prayer today with a particular quote of John Wesley. I am taking Wesley’s general rules for living and altering them slightly to turn them into a prayer. I invite you to pray with me. Dear God, help us to do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can. In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.

@chaplaineliza