Tag Archives: confession

Prayer, Acceptance, Openness.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 7, 2018


acceptance word cloud

Prayer, Acceptance, Openness.

What profound insights Father Nouwen has. Seriously, at times his words penetrate deep inside me. Like, tonight.

He speaks of prayer being acceptance, if one is experiencing deep silence. This is rare for me, since I am so wordy. Lectio divina is one of my favorite prayer methods, as is Ignatian prayer. Both depend strongly on the use of words, Bible reading and sometimes written responses. However—I have experienced deep, silent prayer. Meditation is a challenge for me, but I have done it. It’s like writing with my left hand. (Yes, I am right handed.) I can do it, but writing with my non-dominant hand is a challenge, even difficult at times.

Yet, I immediately understood what Father Nouwen was talking about. If one experiences deep silence, prayer can very well mean acceptance. But, that is not all. “Prayer creates that openness where God can give himself to us. Indeed, God wants to give himself;” [1] Now, this is more difficult for me to believe. God wants to give Himself to us? To me?

But, wait. Father Nouwen clarifies, and explains further. “This openness, however, does not simply come of itself. It requires our confession that we are limited, dependent, weak, and even sinful.” [2]

Oh, yes, I am more than ready to admit that I am not God. (I am very familiar with the Recovery Program, which talks about that very thing. I am—one is—most certainly not God, no matter how much one might want to think that is the case. Or, feel rather omnipotent.) Yes, this does make one feel vulnerable. However, if God is right by my side, I will not feel as lost and alone. Or as vulnerable and small.

Thank You for Father Nouwen’s wonderful words, dear God. Just what I needed tonight.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 25.

[2] Ibid, 26.


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Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 18, 2017

compassion heart

Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Adolfo Quezada is a licensed professional counselor in California. He has published several books, and is a loving, caring, supportive counselor. He specializes particularly in depression, anxiety, grief and trauma. He also leads prayer retreats.

As I alluded to in the title of this post, Quezada is all for letting go of what happened in people’s individual lives. There is the negative side: things people have said, done or thought. Quezada recommends: “Make restitution as best you can in ways that bring healing and restore harmony to your life and lives of those you have hurt.” [1]

I read Quezada’s profound statement, “When you accept God’s love, you also accept God’s forgiveness.” [2] This is truly life-changing, for some people. People who feel that whatever they might have done was so terribly awful that God would never forgive them, and—guess what? God really will forgive us. Even more so than flawed parents who sometimes interfere with their children and even reject them, God will never, ever reject us.

Then, I noticed this gut-wrenching statement: “Reconsider your expectations. Examine the demands you make on yourself. Are they realistic? What do you base them on?” [3] Ah, so painful. So much pain in these few words. God will help us all with those faulty, unrealistic expectations. We all can gain access to God’s immeasurable, bountiful love and mercy.

I can—we all can—experience God’s love. Generous and unconditional. Do you feel unworthy? Or, perhaps, disgruntled at someone, so you have something blocking you from God’s love? Nevertheless, God loves you. Abundantly, immeasurably, marvelously, God’s love lasts forever. Amazing love and grace and mercy.  Alleluia.


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[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 246.

[2] Ibid, 247.

[3] Ibid.

Hildegard of Bingen Urges Confession

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 12, 2017

confession, word

Hildegard of Bingen Urges Confession

Hildegard was a woman who stood head and shoulders above all those around her. She lived in the 1100’s, and was extremely unusual for that time—a literate woman who was a published author, administrator, visionary, and person with the gift of prophecy. Plus, she went on regular speaking engagements, later in her life.

All of this striving and working to further God’s work in the world! The excerpt from one of Hildegard’s writings is entitled “Letter to Christian Laypeople.” This is a solemn reminder to turn from the devil and his works and ways.

Hildegard wrote about the clear dichotomy between secular and religious, and how far even changing climate and legal responsibilities can be, adding to the persistent uproar. Hildegard mentions the death of some shameful experiences, the idea of wanting desperately, or even anger at not being chosen.

Are we able to write out the happenings of the day, and become deeply involved in the confession of what we have done as well as by what we have left undone? What about those in Hildegard’s time? She is, indeed, pointing out several sad areas of many, in the 12th century, the 21st century, and everything in between.

What Hildegard is suggesting is called by yet another name: the practice of examen. Would that more Christians had this practice as a regular part of their spiritual lives. Confession of sins and places where people fall short is a sure way to a closer walk with God. As the Apostle Paul says, “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14) Prudent advice, whether it comes from Hildegard of Bingen, Billy Graham, or some other spiritual director.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, allow each of us to monitor our lives in such a fashion as is pleasing to You, and take corrective measures when necessary. In Jesus’s powerful name we pray, amen.



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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

Pray on a Gray Day

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 28, 2016


Pray on a Gray Day

Today was a wet, dreary, gray day. Chilly and cold. Damp, too. Altogether unpleasant.

I know it is not a huge thing, but I have a confession to make: I did not pray, much. In retrospect, the day probably would have been a bit more positive if I had. However, I did not pray. Much.

I did do a whole lot of computer work today, though. I suppose I could say that the computer work was urgent. Wasn’t prayer urgent, too?

God, You must be really tired of me by this time. The way I cycle through faithful and faithless, I mean. Yes, I stick to my plans for a good, steady prayer time, for a while. (It depends, on the whether. Whether I can or not.) But sooner or later, I fall off. Fall back into my old, prayer-less ways.

For the past few years at Advent, I try my darnedest to be faithful to my devotional readings. Each year, I do follow them to a fair extent. So, yay! At least I’ve had a fair track record, for several years running.

Speaking of prayer, let’s pray.

Dear God, thank You for this period of waiting and preparation. Help me to be more faithful to You, even though times in my life are not as rosy as they could be. Gracious God, thank You for loving me with Your everlasting love. Lord, help me to be an example of watchful, hopeful waiting these next few weeks.



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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

No Time for Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 25, 2016



No Time for Prayer

Shh. I have a confession to make.

I am not consistent with spiritual disciplines.

Yes, I know I am writing this blog about prayer. And, I love prayer. I receive such comfort through praying, and delight in the sometime-closeness to the Holy I feel. That is, sometimes. And, then, sometimes there is nothing. A dryness, or drought. I feel dull, or perhaps dim.

I am afraid to say that I often go in cycles. Cycling in and out of intimacy with God. (God, You know I do. You and I have had this continuing conversation for years. For decades.)

Today, I did pray a bit. In between running around. Oh, I went to a breakfast and lecture, ran to the gym, prepared some paperwork, worked on the computer (a lot), and got ready to take a trip. But, why is it that I feel as if I ought to be a person like Martin Luther, who was so busy he had to take an extra hour to pray?

However, I try to pray when I can. I have asked God to nudge me and remind me when I am to pray. Usually, it works out fairly well. But, still. Not consistently.

God, I am sorry. I feel my lack of prayerfulness. Forgive my hesitation, my forgetfulness, my busy-ness. Help me to attend to Your will and Your ways more diligently. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my hesitant, bashful prayers.


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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

Day #36 – Do I Do the Dirty Work?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BK help people

Day #36 – Do I Do the Dirty Work?

I laughed when I read this post with today’s suggestion. I really did. Believe it or not, I did exactly this, yesterday morning. I did some spot cleaning in the bathroom yesterday before I left for work. Not unusual. I sometimes do this. Give a quick wipe to the surfaces in the bathroom. The sink, the toilet top. The mirror. But yesterday, I went the extra mile. The next step.

The bathtub was looking especially grimy. We had the older bathtub refinished last spring, and it looked amazing! But that was a year ago. With four growing and grown people using the bathtub in our condo on a regular basis, we quickly got the bathtub grimy. You know, with soap scum. (Gee, I feel a bit scummy, just thinking about it!)

As I gave the bathtub some swipes with the cleanser, using some elbow grease, I was gratified to see the bathtub come clean. (Or, at least, clean-er.) However, this is not my favorite-est chore in the world. Far from it!

I have a confession to make. My name is Elizabeth, and I am not the best at cleaning my house. It’s not that I live amidst piles of crap. I definitely do not live in a place with half-eaten food and other remains littered in front of the television! Heaven forbid. No! However, even though I have some ancestors who came from Poland, I did not inherit the Polish cleaning genes that some of the females in my extended family did.

(I can remember some of the grandmas, in the neighborhood of Chicago where I grew up, who kept spotless houses. One Polish grandma several doors down from our house even washed the garage floor. Imagine!)

I can clean. I even do a good job for other people! Like seniors, or shut-ins, or people who have just gotten out of the hospital. I honestly enjoy doing things for others. However, having a perfectly clean house is just not a priority for me. So, today’s suggestion gave me some pause. I definitely have some work to do in this area!

Dear God, thanks for giving me four working limbs so that I am easily able to clean house. Help motivate me to clean, more often. I mean, more often than I do, now. And thanks, especially, for giving me a heart to help out others! I know that’s important to You, too. As is often the case, You would like me to reach some balance. Help me work on that. Amen. So be it, Lord!


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Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

matterofprayer: a year of everyday prayers – Thursday, January 1, 2015

winter road

Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

2015: a clean, fresh, bright new year. 365 new days ahead. I started this blog to talk about prayer and meditation, and I mean to continue that way. However—I feel I have a responsibility to my friends and acquaintances who have been telling me in the past few weeks that 2014 has not been a particularly good year for them. Anxiety! Sadness! Grief! Instability of many kinds! No, not particularly good, for many in my acquaintance. I want to make a firm foundation for myself, as well as for others. In prayer.

Therefore, I am going back to basics. I went to my prayer and spiritual formation shelf. (Actually, I need to make that shelves, since I am gathering more and more books on that area, recently.) I pulled a tried-and-true book off the shelf called The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray. A prayer guide in 31 lessons, I’ve used it in the past, to good effect.

In January, then, I will read and pray through 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. He’s written a marvelous book of instruction. This book shares his insights, as well as those of other knowledgeable people, both living and dead.

Before I go any further, I need to make a confession. I have difficulty being consistent, as far as prayer is concerned. Even though I love to pray, and receive blessing and benefit from regular prayer, I can’t pray every day. At times, I come close! I prayed through the whole month of November this past year, for example! But, I have a need for occasional change, too, because of my personal preferences. (If you speak Myers-Briggs, my preferences are ENFP.)

I shift from one helpful prayer guide to another. (I’m afraid I’m not that constant, as far as prayer guides are concerned.) Since it provides a good foundation, I will be sticking with Rev. Howell’s helpful book through January.

The secondary title of this blog, A Year of Everyday Prayers, is meant to be hopeful. Some might say, even presumptuous! I hope and pray that God will assist me in praying every day. (And, I would appreciate any and all prayers in support and encouragement.) But . . . I will take that one day at a time. I was greatly encouraged by 2014! I successfully blogged each and every day. God willing, I’ll do the same in 2015.

A few significant sentences from this first lesson of prayer are: “ . . . prayer is not a way of getting a grip on our lives of getting things under control. Prayer is the yielding of control. Prayer is discovering I am not the center of the universe.” Let’s pray. God, thanks for the excellent food for thought. Help me—help us as we pray and come to You. Thanks for giving us the understanding that we have a relationship with You, with a good and loving God. In gracious thanks we pray, amen.


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