Tag Archives: dear child

Pray in Hope, Hope in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 21, 2018

hope - light, dark night

Pray in Hope, Hope in Prayer

I can see how some cynical people might scoff at Father Nouwen’s words here. Sure, “hoping” might be overrated. “Hoping” has little to do with the mundane day-to-day experience. “Hope” is for naïve people, or worse, for suckers.

Such a dreary, pessimistic way to approach life! I have met a couple of people who had this kind of attitude and way of thinking about life. I would not trade places with them for anything.

Father Nouwen tells about the trusting relationship of little children with their loving mother. “All day long they ask for things, but the love they have for their mother does not depend on her fulfilling all their wishes.” [1] In this simple, straight-forward description of the mother/child relationship, Fr. Nouwen hits the theological and relational nail on the head. Our relationship with God our heavenly Parent does NOT depend on whether God gives us everything we ask, or grants us each request (no matter how ridiculous or outrageous those requests may be).

It reminded me of a long-ago memory. One of my children (in preschool then, now in her 30’s) dearly wanted a pony. She had a plan, had thought about it a great deal, and came to me and her father with this plan. The pony could live in the storage space in the basement, and would not take up much room at all. She would go down and feed the pony, too.

At the time, we lived in a smaller vintage apartment building in Chicago. I realized what the landlady would say if my daughter brought this up to her, much less the animal control department of the City of Chicago. However, I could not tell all this to my preschooler. I needed to let her know that it was not possible, of course.

But—she really, really, REALLY wanted that pony. She hoped against hope that she would get a pony for Christmas.

How many times do I want a pony, too? How often do I come to God with a sincere, deep-seated request oh, so similar to my dear daughter’s Christmas wish? Yet, a little child still loves their mom or dad dearly, even though their parents know that the requested thing (or wish or experience) would be negative or not at all good for their dear child. In the same way, our loving, caring God sovereignly knows what would help each of us.

Yes, I can hope. Prayer is hope. Hoping is prayer. “All those concrete requests are ways of expressing [my] unlimited trust in God who fulfills all promises, who holds out for [me] nothing but good, and who wants to share goodness and love with [me and] you.” [2]

Thank You, dear God, for wanting to share goodness, love, and caring with me.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 74.

[2] Ibid.

@chaplaineliza

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Honest to God, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 7, 2015

cast your anxiety on Him 1 Pet 5-7

Honest to God, in Prayer

Am I truly honest when I pray? Or, do I just include those prayers, those parts of me that I think or feel God wants to see?

What about those parts of me that are less than godly? Less than righteous or pure? What do I do with those? Do I ever allow those parts of me to come out of hiding—in prayer? To “let it all hang out,” as it were? Am I kidding myself when I think that God just doesn’t see or even know about those less-than-holy parts of myself?

God, I know those impure thoughts (and deeds, too!) are a part of me. Yes, I sin. Yes, I fall short. But You want me to continue to come before You, even though. Time after time in scripture as well as in history I can see people continuing to come to You in prayer. You don’t turn anyone away. Not ever. Even though people continue to sin and to fall short.

You are the best place in the world to cast all of our cares. (As 1 Peter 5:7 tells us.) You are the only place I can run to when I stumble and fall—repeatedly. And You pick me up—repeatedly.

I realize that some of today’s modern-day Pharisees would have me all tied up in spiritual, physical, and psychological knots. In some super-spiritual straightjacket, where the real me, the me You intended me to be would be all stifled and muffled and starved. Where some Pharisees’ conception of God was all harsh and angry, throwing thunderbolts at the least little misstep. (Gee, sounds a lot like mean, capricious Zeus, if you ask me!) No, sir. No, thanks.

Reminds me of my dear prayer partner of several years ago. When her youngest child was about one, she would call for the child to come to her from across the room. The determined little tyke would toddle across the floor, sometimes falling down. Boom! Right on the padded backside. Yet time after time, my friend would urge her dear child to get up and to keep going. Keep on trying to toddle to her. And at last, finally hug her dear child to her in a warm embrace.

That little toddler is me. I fall down, and make missteps. Mistakes. Sometimes I may even toddle in the other direction. But I know my God is there for me. And God won’t leave me alone, either.

Thank You for loving me, for caring for me. After all, that’s exactly what 1 Peter 5:7 tells me: that You care for me. You are my Heavenly Parent, after all.

God, I can—indeed—be totally honest with You. So, help me, God.

@chaplaineliza

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.