Tag Archives: connection

Place of Prayer Protection

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 13, 2016

God - refuge and strength Psa 46

Place of Prayer Protection

People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. No man is an island, and all that. Each person has a connection with each other person. Connection, attachment, kinship, relationship. We do need each other. But, that isn’t all.

I know I need a relationship with my God. If I am separated from God, I am in bad straits. Cut off from God and cut off from other people? Not a very good situation, at all.

How our enemy loves to cut us off from each other, and separate each one from God. How dare they? I’ll tell you: through natural happenings, through human error, through emotional or psychological or physical attachment gone awry. And sometimes, through something as straightforward as loneliness, or grief, or anger, or boredom, or fear.

What can you and I do about this? The answer in part is: prayer. Prayer stands as a protection and strength.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Your presence. I appreciate You acting as a refuge and strength. God, You are my rock and fortress, sure to be there for me and with me. I know the Lord is there when I go through the thick of things. Just like King David said, even though each of us is walking down the solitary path through the valley of shadow. No matter! We are still on God’s side. And, God will keep each one under the shadow of heavenly wings. Thank God.

@chaplaineliza

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

Sacred Impulse = Soul Impulse

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 25, 2015

sacred space - autumn tree

Sacred Impulse = Soul Impulse

Boy, could I relate to this chapter in Handbook for the Soul. What Jacob Needleman led off with was exactly what my former associate said, on a regular basis. Basic physiology and psychology all during the 20th century claimed that there was no (or, at best, very little) credence in the idea of Soul or spirituality.

My former associate—in a tiny program which had as a major component video/computer/distance learning—saw helpfulness in the narratives of the Bible, regardless of the faith tradition or belief structure held by the curious one. People haven’t changed over the centuries–and the Bible is chock full of narratives highlighting struggles and development of the Soul.

Needleman spoke further, concerned that the connection between each person’s Soul and the sacred impulse were not being named. “Widespread signs throughout the world indicate that our modern culture has left something out. That ‘something’ is the Soul.” [1]

It’s true that the search for a deeper knowledge of the Soul has been going on for a long time; but Needleman suggests that Western civilization could be on the brink of re-learning about Soul. Widespread, enthusiastic interest in all kinds of areas? Noted, thank you! That foundation of Soul needs to be nurtured, developed. And what is one of the best ways to develop that nurturing sacred place within? “To find other people who have the same kind of aim and associate with them. . . Together, you support the search for nourishing the soul.” [2]

Truth, love, service, meditation, silence. These are a few of Needleman’s top ways to (re-)integrate the Soul. Would you like to embark on a journey for Soul? For the sacred within? God willing, yes. I’ll strive to get closer to You, too, God.

@chaplaineliza

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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 156.

[2] Ibid, 158.

Love? Connection with the Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love? Connection with the Soul.

change everything

I appreciate Bernie Siegel’s chapter in the book Handbook for the Soul, in several different ways.

First, as clergy trained in chaplaincy, I understand what he’s talking about. From speaking to patients, their loved ones, and hospital staff, I have an appreciation that is much more of a reality check. Yes, so many have a renewed understanding that they have “today.” Just one more day. Today is the most important time, the best time. Not next week, and certainly not next year. Getting lost in anything other than “today” is not conducive to true joy.

Second, I relate because of my familiarity with the 12 Steps and the Recovery program. “One Day at a Time” is all important. As someone trained with a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, as well as many acquaintances involved with Recovery, I understand the concept that NOW is the most important time. The only time worth living.

Third, I agree with Dr. Siegel’s recommendation: change your attitude toward your life. (italics his) I am strongly reminded of a quote I saw several years ago that deeply moved me. It said, “Some people see the glass half empty. Others see it as half full. Be glad you have a glass.”

Dr. Siegel suggests: “. . . if you can’t change your external circumstances at this point, you can change your attitude toward your life. You can say, ‘All right, I choose to be happy. I choose to view what I do every day as a way of contributing love.’ When you go about your life with this attitude, you’ll find that your circumstances do begin to change.” [1]

And, each day is filled with choices. Little choices, larger decisions. Forks in the daily road. The Recovery program tells me to choose the next right thing. I would go that one better: I strive to do the next loving thing. This I see as closely linked to changing my attitude toward my life, exactly what Dr. Siegel tells us to do in this chapter. Otherwise, if the little, incremental choices I make day by day lead me down a path towards a person I do not want to be, what good is it? Do I really want to end up feeling awful, even if I see awful things at work? Even if someone confides awful things to me in confidence?

Yes, attitude is everything. God, I choose love. I choose the next loving thing.

@chaplaineliza

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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 41.

My Connection to the Stars. Or, Not.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 8, 2015

moon and clouds

My Connection to the Stars. Or, Not.

I began the next exercise in the book Inner Compass this evening, in chapter 2. The author Margaret Silf encouraged her readers to use a passage from 1 Kings 19 in meditation and prayer. Where Elijah chooses Elisha, and there is some business with yoked oxen.

Somehow, I did not connect as closely with Elijah and Elisha, and the specifics of the passage. However—in an instant, I entered into the preliminary imagery and meditation Silf described:

“Begin by imagining yourself standing outside your own home, beneath a brilliant, starry sky. Take in the splendor and the immense space stretching out above you, beyond your grasp, beyond measurement. . . . Now find a familiar constellation. Out of the infinity, there is something recognizable—it pinpoints your location exactly in time and space.” [1]

Boy, was I able to visualize this in my imagination. I was immediately outside, face upturned, searching the sky for a constellation. I thought of Orion. I’ve almost always been able to find Orion’s belt when stargazing. Except—on this occasion.

Here in the Chicago area, the stars are less bright. Or, the street lights and various other lights of the city and suburbs mask the brilliant evening sky. Or, something in between the two. I usually see only a small portion of the stars that others tell me about. Others who live in rural areas, far away from the bright city lights. (I hear tell of the glorious wonders of the star-filled heavens.)

But that was not all. In my imagination, I stood in the middle of an open grassy space where I ought to have been able to see some stars, at least. Wouldn’t you know, all the eyes of my imagination could see were clouds. Over almost the whole sky. Although, I did spy the moon, struggling to shine through the cloud cover. The clouds tumbled along in a hurry, and the dim light from the moon flickered. Brighter, then more subdued. I could catch a quick glimpse of a star or two, but then they would be covered up again as the clouds continued to roll across the dark panorama of the sky.

Try as I would to follow Silf’s instructions, I just could not focus on a single star, much less a constellation. That detour at the beginning of my prayer exercise short-circuited the exercise for me. Or, at least sent me in a different direction.

I vaguely understood that my place in the heart of God was hidden. Somewhat. God is still there, of course, just like the moon behind the clouds. But, I am still struggling to find my place, find that unique place that is all mine, in the heart of God.

God willing, I may find that place. And meanwhile, I am still on the journey with God, even though God is hidden. Sometimes.

I didn’t even really consider 1 Kings 19 tonight. I was too caught up with the starry preamble. But, that’s okay, I think. Wasn’t it? I hope so. I pray so. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.

@chaplaineliza

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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 13.