Tag Archives: challenges

PEACE is Compassion (Repost)

This repost gives a meaningful expression of a senior’s personal definition of PEACE.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 16, 2016


PEACE is Compassion

Today’s definition touched my heart.

I read some news online today. I read about a man who robbed a store several miles from my house. I read about a suicide pact carried out by two young people. I read about a hospital blown to bits by a bomb. I read about a family torn apart by a bitter divorce.

I wonder whether compassion might have made a difference in any of these situations.

This word is the definition given to me today by Lill Hutchins: PEACE is compassion.

Lill is the president of the congregation at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. She is a thoughtful, caring person. And, she took her time and thought about her personal definition for PEACE for quite a while. Really considered it.

She said to me, “If everyone in the whole world had compassion, there would be peace. People can’t shoot guns with compassion.”

Oh, yes. If individuals had compassion—if they truly felt with the people around them (which is where the word compassion comes from, from Latin com– or with, and pati, to bear or suffer), the world would be a very different place.

It matters less about differences between people when they concentrate on the challenges and difficulties each one must bear. Com-passion. Bear with. It’s hard to be mad at someone you are helping or praying for. If I know that my mean neighbor has a sick child, it’s difficult to be nasty to them. When I realize that nasty village employee has an elderly relative who is terminally ill, it’s hard to think mean thoughts in retaliation. Com-passion. Suffer with.

Something to consider. So, help me, God!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for today’s definition. Help me to bear with those around me. Urge me to consider those around me with compassion. Help us all to keep quiet and listen to others, hear their stories. And have compassion. Thank You, Lord.


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

Pray. (Insert Free Intercessions and Thanksgivings Here)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 30, 2015

making prayer personal

Pray. (Insert Free Intercessions and Thanksgivings Here)

Another August evening, another opportunity to turn to http://www.dailyoffice.org and my laptop. As I prayed through the Evening Prayer tonight, I was struck by something significant. Here I’d been praying the Late Night prayer nightly for one month. And, I had never really noticed one particular phrase: “(Silence may be kept, and free intercessions and thanksgivings may be offered.)”

I don’t know why I never noticed this sentence before. I mean, I’ve followed this direction many times. Yes, of course I often offered intercessions and thanksgivings of my own. But I don’t think I ever thought deeply about this sentence before.

This prayer comes from the Book of Common Prayer, an Episcopal prayer book.  Both Episcopal and Anglican tradition use written prayers. Almost their whole service is scripted. I can appreciate that tradition! I, however, have some roots in the Evangelical and Free church traditions. (Though I was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church, which also uses scripted prayers and liturgy.) My memories of prayers in the church(es) I was familiar with? All over the board. Some fervent, carefully scripted and written out. Some also as fervent, and also off the cuff.

I can do either. Go either way. Scripted or unscripted.

I went to what I now consider my go-to source for finding out more about Evening Prayer or, Compline: the website for the Church of England (see below, in the footnote).What did I find?

“The offering of intercession is as integral as praise to the nature of the services, and should not be minimized.” [1]

Nothing is said on the webpage here about scripted or unscripted, except that prayer is integral to the service. Accordingly, I wholeheartedly pray for people, places and things that I know can use my prayers and intercession. God willing, I hope to be able to continue in prayer and intercession for many.

God, You know the difficulties and challenges in all of our lives. Help us to come before You in spirit and in truth. Help each of us to lift names, emotions, feelings and situations to You. Amen!


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/daily2/morneve/intro.aspx

Prayer Book of the Bible? The Psalms.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 12, 2015

PRAY woman-praying

Prayer Book of the Bible? The Psalms.

Praying the Psalms—what a natural place to start, if I want to pray using Scripture!

The Psalms have been called the song book of the Bible, but also the prayer book of the Bible. All ranges and all kinds of emotion can be found in this book. When you or I turn to a specific Psalm, chances are that we can relate to whatever emotion the writer may be feeling.

As Rev. Howell brings out in our prayer guide today, the first verse of Psalm 130 is a good example. “Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.” Who among us can understand these words? Who feels like this, once in a while? Or maybe even, more often than that? I know that many challenges, obstacles, or troubles come into my life on a periodic basis, and I can feel like I am in up to my neck. Maybe, even, over my head. Help, God!

What about people who have some form of mental illness, or emotional or psychological affliction? It can be depression, the deepest, darkest anguish. I can speak to that, from personal experience. I have cried to the Lord out of the depths of my darkest night, on a number of occasions, for long stretches of time.

I have clutched at the words of Scripture with a death grip.

I have knelt (either figuratively or literally), and reached for the tassel on Jesus’ garments. Oh, if I can only touch the edge of His cloak, perhaps that will be enough of a connection! Yes, the Psalms zero in on very human, foundational emotion. In many ways!

The Psalms not only tell of sadness, grief, despair and anger, but they also express prayers of intense worship as well as shouts of joy and triumph.

For anyone who wishes to try a straight-forward, centuries-old practice, you can read a Psalm a day. (For the longer Psalms, like Psalm 119, they certainly can be broken up into several days’ readings.) It is refreshingly simple, and you don’t even need a special prayer book or bible study guide. As we read, we can talk with God about the emotions we see as we read, and pray the words of the Psalms, as we are so moved.

Powerful words, poignant prayers. Just a suggestion. As Rev. Howell tells us, the Psalms “express in profound ways our relationship to God. . . . they can help to know ourselves honestly, and to pray honestly before God.” [1]

God willing, the Psalms will help me—will help us to see our true selves. So, help me, God.


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.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 43-44.

Prayers for My (Growing and Grown) Children

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, November 17, 2014

autumn leaves on a bridge

Prayers for My (Growing and Grown) Children

“Hap-py birth-day, dear Ra-chel . . . “ Yes, my youngest daughter celebrates her birthday today. Now, there is only one teenaged person left in my house.

How did that happen?

I am not getting older, am I?

Alas, time flies. Not only my personal time, but time at my work, as well. I serve as a pastor of a local church. St. Luke’s Church in Morton Grove. As I reflect on the end of the liturgical calendar, the calendar year is also drawing to a close. Winding down. Autumn of the year. With harvest time and thanksgiving, the growing season coming to an end, this can also be a time for quiet, introspection, and contemplation.

It is more than appropriate for me to consider these past years as a mom, even as I consider these past months as a Christian leader. A pastor. Sometimes, I wear one hat. Sometimes, another. I am earnestly lifting up my children in prayer, each day in November. At the same time, I am praying for my friend’s children. God has put this prayer need on my heart each day in November, too.

I know this is important work.

My children are a little older than my dear friend’s family. Different places in life, different needs. But each is loved individually by God. My friend and I are each loved by God, too.

I am called—today—to be faithful. In prayer, in work, in serving as pastor, in being a mom. I truly enjoy each of these, almost all of the time. (Except when I don’t.) However, I know God is with me, even though I sometimes slog through my life as a mom. Even though I go through challenges with members of my congregation. It’s a good place to be. Contemplating God. Contemplating my church. Praying for my friends as well as for my family.

Let’s pray. Dear gracious God, thank You for Your presence at my side. Even through the waning of the year, and the passing of the days. Help us to remember that You are always at our side. Help us to contemplate You, Your will and Your ways. Prepare our hearts and our lives to become more faithful and more like You, day by day. With each passing moment. Thank You for families and friends. In Your blessed name we lift all these people to you, amen.


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

Freedom From Fear

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 11, 2014

crocuses in Portland

crocuses in Portland

Freedom from Fear

Among other things, I’m a mom. Although I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, I have begotten four children. I go through cycles where I feel the urge to pray for other things and other people. However, sometimes God instructs me to pray specifically for my children. During the past few weeks, I felt that instruction. So, I did—on a fairly regular basis.

I know there are many ways to pray for loved ones. However, I have been using a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent for years when I pray for my children. On and off, I mean. I do not hold myself up as any paragon of prayer, by any means. (Not like Stormie! And not like my former prayer partner, Zhou Hui, either! Both are awesome women of prayer.)

Today, I was reminded of a chapter in this book where Stormie gives some pointers on how to pray against fear in our children’s lives. Some days ago, I prayed through this chapter. I petitioned God on my children’s behalf, asking among other things that God give them wisdom from above, protect them from evil influences, and bless them in all they do. I prayed for this wonderful prayer of Stormie’s to be applicable in my husband’s life and in mine, too.

Today, I remembered the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real, and how fear could blindside me when I least expected it. I remembered that I had prayed to be free from fear. Today, this freedom from fear touched me, too, in a very deep way. Honestly, I have not had the easiest last few months. Some significant challenges have come my way. But, I have met them with the help of God, the love of my family, the help and fellowship from my friends, prayer, and the readings in some very helpful books.

I quote again one of my all-time favorite hymns—thanks for God’s promise from the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed/For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.”  These words give me comfort, and give me a place to run to. My God has promised not to leave me, nor forsake me. Whether from the Hebrew Scriptures or from the New Testament, God’s promises will not fail. I don’t need to fear. And neither do my children.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your Word. Thanks for Your promise to hear us and deliver us from all of our fears. God, forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for running away from all Your blessings. Show me the way to You, God, so that I may take my fears and anxieties to You and receive freedom from fear. Remembering Your goodness and faithfulness to me and my family, new every morning, Amen.