Tag Archives: Christianity

Prayer of Little Faith…

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 31, 2018

bad days, good days, every day

Prayer of Little Faith…

Ouch. Really.

Ouch, Father Nouwen! You hit a little too close to the bone. I am afraid I might make prayers of little faith, every now and then. Maybe even more often than that.

Father Nouwen’s description of a prayer of little faith is quite telling. Less on the spiritual side, and heavy on the concrete. Almost like a person is really skeptical of “getting” anything in prayer, or that they expect too much on the material end of things.

I realize that people go through stages like this, especially when they have recently been introduced to Christian faith. However, what I have understood for decades is that Christianity is a relationship. I don’t walk up to God, bold as brass, like the younger son in the parable of the Prodigal, and demand stuff like I am entitled to it. And, heaven forbid that I shouldn’t be able to get any old thing I ask for. (At least, I dearly hope I am not like this. If I am, God, forgive me…)

As Father Nouwen says, “People of little faith pray like children who want a present from Santa Claus but who are so frightened of the “Holy Man” that they run away as soon as they have their hands on the package…All the attention is on the gift and none on the one who gives it.” [1] Oh, isn’t that the truth!

We are reminded that the prayer of little faith is a prayer of no hope, a prayer of despair. Even, “The prayer of little faith is carefully reckoned, even stingy, and is upset by every risk.” [2] Bullseye! I hide my head in shame, fear, and trembling. Why on earth we have been fingered, I have no idea. Perhaps it is because we sin regularly. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” [3]

Dear Lord, gracious God, forgive my prayers of little faith. I want to seek after You with my whole heart. Thank You for loving me—loving us, and holding all of us in Your everlasting arms of comfort and care. 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

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 70.

[2] Ibid, 71.

[3] “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” (NETTLETON). Words by Robert Robinson, 1735-1790.

G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 9, 2017


G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

I have been intrigued by G.K. Chesterton for some years. And, no. I still have not read any of his writings. (Although I do have one or two Father Brown mysteries on my shelf, waiting for me to read them.)

Born in a middle-class family, at first studying art and then English literature, he developed into an astute writer of apologetic essays and books. He became a Roman Catholic in midlife, and was called “Defender of the Faith” by the Roman Catholic church.

This extended excerpt by Chesterton is not from his later period, when he was all somber and serious. However, this is from his younger (and to his mature mind, more frivolous) period.

“For instance, we often hear grown up people complaining of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train. Did you ever hear a small boy complain of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train?” [1]

In this selection of pieces, Chesterton is writing in a light-hearted, breezy style. Yet, he is writing about people and events that shape our own understanding of Christianity, after World War I.

Chesterton wanted to bring up the length of the flood (or, was it the German word for the flood?) And then, something tongue-in-cheek happens. He had such a way with words (even as a younger man) that he was able to communicate matters of faith in a lighthearted way.

This extended selection is in this book partially to show that we need not be somber and sober all the time. A gentle reminder for those who are reading this book with their mouths constantly down-turned and somber.



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), 301.

Pray for the Shining of Thy Face

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 4, 2015

winter-landscape-forest with sun wallpaper-

Pray for the Shining of Thy Face

How refreshing and alive are the words of many expressions of Gaelic Christianity! (Translated into English, of course.) Today’s prayer is about Affirmation. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer again deals with “Who art in heaven (Prayer 152, page 58) [1] This is a Gaelic prayer translated by Alistair MacLean.

A quote from this short prayer: “… the dark happenings of my lot hide the shining of my face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough.” Yes, the prayer is deep and meaningful. I feel it deeply, especially recently.

I have had some run-ins with sin lately. (And, who hasn’t?) However, I was especially feeling my sinfulness during the past few days. Because the happenings of my lot—my life—are sometimes dark and sin-filled, I can’t always tell that I stray from God’s path for me. But, I do. Dear Lord, how I wish I could walk with You more nearly! Love You more dearly!

Yes, it’s all about my yearning to walk with my God.

(I’m taking just a moment to talk a little about my view of God. Between ten and twelve years ago, I discovered I had new difficulty with calling God “my Heavenly Father.” I struggled with my feelings for some time. I even didn’t want to pray the Lord’s Prayer, for months on end. However, I have pretty much come to terms with that difficulty by now.)

Dear God, my Heavenly Father, thank You for coming alongside of me. Thank You for being present with me, even through the darkness. I know it doesn’t matter to You if we are in darkness (since both night and day are the same to You), but often, it matters to me very much. I get scared and uncertain. Thank You for holding my hand. And, yes. It is enough.


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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 58.

Waiting in silence

A few days ago, one of the passages I meditated on in prayer was the beginning of Psalm 62. I don’t always pray with a specific passage of Scripture in mind, but recently I’ve been using a method of prayer called Benedictine Rumination. (ruminating or chewing repetitively on Scripture—I’ll have to talk more about that, soon)

I was struck by the first part of the first verse of Psalm 62. “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Wow. I’ll say it again. Wow!

Sometimes, when I encourage my mind, body and spirit to enter into prayer, I feel myself sinking into prayer. This particular prayer time was one of those times. Leaving behind the hurry, the hustle and bustle, the noise, everything distracting or worrisome. I felt a welcome from God, and the gentle silence. Open, friendly, peaceful presence.

Sadly, I was not able to stay there during the whole prayer time. However, I had experienced it for part of it. I knew it was there. I was able to tap into that warm presence, that gentle silence, for some of the time. I really needed it! I sure could use it on a regular basis, God!

I understand that silence is something that makes some people uncertain. Even anxious. Not me. (that is, usually) But I have a difficult time getting there. Your warm, gracious welcoming arms are waiting for me, I know. Thanks for being there. And thanks for being warm and welcoming, instead of cold and distant.

Let’s pray. Dear God, sometimes it’s difficult to enter into prayer, much less break into Your gentle silence. Please help me to leave worry, anxiety and hurry behind. Forgive me for focusing on sad things, angry feelings, and hurt places in my life. I know Your presence is waiting. Thanks for making Your warm, gracious silence available, any time I need it. Any time I want it. Thanks, God. Amen.



“Tomorrow can take care of itself.”

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hi, God. It’s me, again.

I am back considering one of the Gospels, again. I am so intrigued by portions of the Sermon on the Mount. Seriously, Lord, parts of it seem like such common sense! Especially this part. The end of Matthew chapter 6, verses 31 through 34.

God, why on earth do I keep on borrowing trouble? I know, I know. You tell me, in no uncertain terms, not to focus on tomorrow. And I am not to become preoccupied with yesterday, either. It’s like that acquaintance of mine who told me the other day, “It’s like my grandma said: ‘we can look back at yesterday, but don’t stare.’” Lord, ain’t it the truth?

If I get caught up in yesterday, or preoccupied with what might happen tomorrow, I can miss out on today! One day at a time living! Isn’t that what You suggest? Each day has concerns enough of its own. My marching orders from You could not be clearer, from the last verse of this passage. Live one day at a time: today. I want to believe Your promises, where You said You’d never leave me nor forsake me. I do, God! I do believe.

Thanks for the confirmation. Live one day at a time. That’s sufficient. You’ll take care of the rest. And you’ll take care of me, too.

Let’s pray. Dear God, sometimes I really get afraid. Or anxious. Or angry. Or a little bit of all of them. God, sometimes I feel like I’m near the end of my rope, or like my short fuse is burnt almost all the way to the end. Thank You for these very clear words from Matthew, God. You instruct me not to worry. Don’t borrow trouble! Thanks for these straight-forward ideas. Help me remember them. Daily. Even hourly. When I need You most. Thanks again. Amen.

Too busy NOT to pray

Why is it SO hard for me to get around to praying, some days? I have a different take on being busy, I suppose. Schedule too full. Running from activity to activity. Even if they are necessary, work projects, or worthwhile, ministry-oriented activities, still. I am just too dad-blame busy.

Too busy? Too busy doing what?

I get the big hint, God. You want me to slow down, to get off the roller coaster (or is it merry-go-round?) of life, and take time for You. With You.

I’ve already mentioned that I cycle through different practices of prayer and meditation, using various books by various authors, at times. One author I particularly love is Tilden Edwards. His spiritual formation book Living in the Presence is a compilation of different ways of prayer and meditation. I certainly needed a good deal of time when I was praying through that book. The prayer practices he used stretched me, sometimes pushed me into places that were unfamiliar. But it also slowed me down. All of which is good and needed, in my life, at any time.

God, like I said, I get the hint! Help me slow down. Ease me into a calmer state of mind. I need more serenity, and I need it now! Seriously, God, banish busy-ness, worry and frenetic activity from my life. Help me to reach for more of You. And thanks for revealing Yourself to me and to anyone who asks, God. Amen.