Tag Archives: change the world

Prayer and Frustration…

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 12, 2018

hugs, hearts

Prayer and Frustration…

If I truly believe in prayer, and in a God who answers prayer, that whole premise can be frustrating. I realize that many people have a “vending-machine” idea of a God who grants wishes. For some, like a huge cosmic Genie, except we are not limited to one three wishes.

Why do I believe in prayer, anyway? It doesn’t work. People still get sick, and have horrible diseases, and devastating accidents. Just look at a pediatric ICU ward. (Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for those suffering, in and out of hospitals and care centers.) Or, stroke unit, or burn unit, or homeless shelter. Or an inner-city police station. Or refugee camp. Or disaster relief center. The list goes on and on.

As Father Nouwen says, “We realize that our world need to change and that no change will ever happen without action, but we often feel lost when it comes to the question of ‘how?’” [1] Actually, two pertinent questions come to mind: “How?” and “How long, O Lord?”

Such desperate frustration does get people up in arms, or confuses them, or causes them to protest, or—in defiance or a wish for oblivion—do nothing, or flee to the bottle or to drugs. Yes, so many are forced to live out their lives in poverty, or pain, or homelessness, or in some other deeply hurting place of body, mind and spirit.

Dear Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. In frustration and agony and surrender, these words come to mind. These words let God know that I realize my dependence on God’s love and mercy and forgiveness. Yes, life is often frustrating! And, yes! God has promised to be with me, every step of the way.

Sure, as Nouwen said, there are ideals of freedom and justice, yet they “are trampled underfoot in everyday practice.” [2] Gracious God, I seek peace, calm, and Your presence. Show me Your love, mercy and forgiveness. Help me to have renewed faith in You, who wants a relationship with me above all else. Even above giving me a soft, easy life, even above any personal frustration I feel on a regular basis. Lord, Your highest goal is to have a relationship with me That’s it. Help me—help us to focus on that aspiration, on that goal. To be loved and known by You, not to get stuff, or money, or power, or prestige. Help me to focus on the things that You want me to. So help me, God.



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, 2005), 100.

[2] Ibid, 101.

Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Sunday was the day I spoke at the Evanston Peace Festival. Actually, the Festival was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but I spoke on the final day. Later in the afternoon. I was honored to be included, especially among such wonderful company.

Of course, in the week before, we had the International Day of Peace on Wednesday, and the Interfaith Gathering for Meditation and Prayer. An interview on WCGO-AM on Thursday concerning the many peace observances during the week. The Interfaith Walk for Peace on Saturday. And then, speaking on the Pursuing Peace Project on Sunday afternoon.

The end of a full week of peaceful, peace-bridging, peace-making activities.

I felt dog-tired at the end of all of these activities. It was more than just tired, I felt like just a bit of butter scraped over a large slice of bread. Too much. Too much of a worthwhile thing.

At least I tried to keep some schedule of prayer last week. Praying with my online prayer group, www.dailyoffice.org . And, Benedictine prayer on my own, three times last week. I felt a little like Martin Luther when he mentioned being too busy NOT to pray.

Now, it’s on to the next thing, which is next Sunday. World Communion Sunday, and the celebration of some young people taking their first communion. Lots to do! There is always a next Sunday, in the local parish. Yes, we remember peace, and interfaith, and getting along with each other. Every day! Yet, the calendar goes round and round. On to the next thing.

Dear God, help me to finish up with the peace-making activities well. And, help me to prepare for the World Communion Sunday celebration! Lord, in Your mercy, 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 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

PEACE: Equality, Be Fair, Accept Others

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 22, 2016

peace, love, unity, respect

PEACE: Equality, Be Fair, Accept Others

Today, I begin a series of posts from Gemini Jr. High School in Niles. (A big thank you to Mr. Rich Groeling, Gemini’s principal!) First, I addressed the whole lunchroom. “What is your personal definition of PEACE,” I asked. Next, I had the opportunity to talk with any student who came to the conference room down the hall from the lunchroom.

I encouraged the young people to make a sign with their personal definition of PEACE. This was a wonderful chance to talk and get their viewpoints on PEACE.

First, Mojahid’s definition: “Peace is equality between everyone, and being fair to people. Also, being nice.”

Next, Jessica’s definition: “Peace is no war, silence, accepting others. Freedom!”

So much overlap with these two personal viewpoints.

I’ve been asking groups of people this question for several months now. (I have over 150 definitions now.) Overwhelmingly, I get a sad or horrified response from most people about the division and animosity in current politics and society. It doesn’t matter from what background or what age. There is a great deal of free-floating anxiety, stress and fear out there.

“Equality between everyone.” Amen! Yes, certainly something to strive for. And, “accepting others.” What would that look like?

I encourage everyone to think of small, loving steps towards PEACE each of us can take, each day. If a whole bunch of people start doing loving, encouraging activities, or saying positive, loving words to each other, we can change the world. #PursuePEACE.


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.   There is a new Facebook community page, too! (see https://www.facebook.com/Pursuing-Peace-476689469194249/?fref=ts )

See my Twitter account? @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Day #28 – Roll Up My Sleeves? Yesss!

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

My A Year of Being Kind t-shirt!

My A Year of Being Kind t-shirt!

Day #28 – Roll Up My Sleeves? Yesss!

When I read the #40acts post for today, I couldn’t have been more pleased. This blog post was right up my alley. I don’t know if you know, but I am intimately acquainted with this idea. I wrote a daily blog in 2014 called A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

In this blog, I tried to focus on being kind, being helpful, and being of service. In most blog entries, I tried to write about how I tried to be kind. Each Friday, I focused on someone else being helpful or of service. (Yes, a Focus Friday!) I was successful in writing every day in 2014. What a wonderful offering to God! And, what an opportunity to show my friends, family, church, and strangers that God loved them, too. (I am still highlighting my Being Kind posts, at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com . )

Yes, I immediately connected with #40acts back in February, when I saw that they were offering the opportunity for people to do 40 acts of generosity and kindness. When #40acts asked people to think about how much they could affect their neighborhood, their church, their friends, their workplace, their school. This is a marvelous chance to truly change the world! One generous, kind act at a time.

Practical generosity. The kind that gets things done, one act at a time. One day at a time.

Before I even saw today’s suggestion for Day #28, I saw an older woman trying to open a door at a coffee shop, later last night. The woman had mobility issues, difficulty with her feet, and walked with a cane. Without even thinking about it, I held the door open for her. (Second nature, I suppose.) I smiled at her with my friendly, cheerful expression, and waited for her to slowly make her way through the doorway.

After getting my coffee, I proceeded out the other way. I saw the older woman again, near the bathroom. She had dropped one of her gloves, and was trying to scoot it up the wall with her cane. (She had difficulty bending over.) She wasn’t doing very well, and I could see her start to get frustrated. I stooped to get the glove and gave it to her on my way out. She was so grateful!

I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but that is typical of what I often do. I help people. I’m often kind and of service. Of course, having the spiritual gifts of helps, mercy, discernment and spiritual nurture makes it easier. (Note I did not say “easy!” No. Just easier.) I wonder how much I have affected the world? The world? Nah!! Too grandiose. My neighborhood is enough for me.

God willing, I can express God’s love. And I can preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, I can even use words. Thank You, Lord!


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.  I also have Being Kind t-shirts at my blogs, too. @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .