Tag Archives: cloud of witnesses

For All the Saints (A Bit Early)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 30, 2015

people diverse fellowship in the church

For All the Saints (A Bit Early)

As I come to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, I’m also approaching the end of October. All Saints’ Day is celebrated in two days’ time.

The prayer for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “For Ever and Ever” (Prayer 558, page 168) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled The Virgin, Martyrs and Saints. The editor marks this selection as penned by “Anonymous.” I thought this prayer both elegant in tone, and comprehensive, for its brevity.

“We thank Thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning;” – I think of historical figures from various places who not only were faithful themselves, but were God’s lights in uncertain and dark times. God bless them.

“For the great souls who saw visions of larger truth and dared to declare it;” – I think of those courageous “great souls” who did not shrink from naming truth. I think of desperate situations where noble “great souls” stood up and cried out, like a voice crying in the actual or virtual wilderness. They were God’s lights in treacherous and dangerous times. God bless them.

“For the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world;” – I think of countless Marthas and Stephens worldwide, unassuming, going about their quiet work in a quiet manner. Loving God and loving their neighbor. They were God’s lights in tranquil backwaters and placid times. God bless them.

“For those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller light of life with Thee.” – I think of many dear ones I have known my life long, who have passed into God’s glorious presence. Bless each one. Bless their memory.

Gracious God, as we are surrounded by such a vast and varied cloud of witnesses, help us to continue to lift Your name high. As we praise Your name along with the mighty company of saints from all time, we say, Amen.


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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), 168.

All the Saints—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 14, 2015

prayer candles

All the Saints—in Prayer

When I say the word “saints,” what do you think of? What immediately pops into your head?

When I think of “saints,” two things come to mind, more or less interchangeably. First—coming from a Protestant background and upbringing, regarding my theology—I think of all believers. The Apostle Paul calls us all “saints.” It was not a special designation for him.

However, the second strong impression entering my mind is that of the Catholic and Orthodox tradition, where “saints” are particularly revered, especially-holy believers in Christ.

Either way, these ideas of saints can help me as I pray.

The verse for the day, heading today’s reading in my prayer guide, comes from Hebrews 12:1-2. Yes, that great cloud of witnesses helps me as I pray. And as I live my life. As I stand (or fall on my face, which is sometimes the case) before God.

I have many Catholic relatives in my extended family. My parents were both baptized Catholic as babies. I feel an affinity, some familiarity with Catholic believers, and I was born in one of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the country. This has aided me in my work and calling as a chaplain in hospitals and care centers in the Chicago area. Thus—I have been able to come alongside Catholic believers in difficult or traumatic situations, and walk with them. Pray with them. Cry to the Lord with them. Some of them have requested assistance from a favorite saint, several have asked me to pray the Rosary with them, and I agree with them in prayer before God.

I can also think of several Protestant “saints,” who have helped me so much as I have learned about prayer, over the years. Dear Miss Rose, now in God’s presence. A woman of immense faith and prayer if ever there was one. Several more dear ones, who have inspired me and nurtured me along the way. I am grateful beyond measure for their examples and lessons.

As I understand from the words of Rev. Howell, we are not supposed to come to God as extra-holy super pray-ers. Instead, what we bring to God “is brokenness and profound need, a virtually desperate desire to be loved, held, and swept up into the very heart of God.”[1]  This, then, is what I bring to God. This, then, is where the saints can gather round me, and cheer me on. Sometimes console me and sit with me, as I sit or stand or kneel before God.

Regardless, I am not alone. God is with me. And so are the company of saints. That great cloud of beneficent, loving witnesses, cheering me on as I journey with God through this life. That cloud of saints is with you, too. Praise God, they are right at our sides.

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), 50.