Tag Archives: dear Lord

More About Morning Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 26, 2017

sitting in park

More About Morning Meditation

A puzzlement: am I just convicted and disgruntled by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s injunction to pray and meditate first thing in the morning? Or, am I truly a night owl, able to find other times to meditate and pray during the day and even the night? Possibly, both.

Pastor Bonhoeffer might well have been a morning person. My mother was, too. She would wake up early every morning and think, make her lists, have coffee, and get ready for the day. (She was definitely not a Christian, but that is the matter for another post.) From what I understand, Martin Luther was a morning person, too. He was also a man of great prayer and meditation. And, yes. He would pray and meditate over Scripture in the morning, too.

How my heart yearns to get on board with Bonhoeffer when he says: “The morning must yield an hour of quiet time for prayer and common devotion. That is certainly not wasted time. How else could we prepare ourselves to face the tasks, cares, and temptations of the day?” [1]

Sure, I might be able to drag myself out of bed on occasion, and get involved with prayer and meditation first thing in the morning every once in a while, but I know my body. Faithless flesh and blood, it would scream out for more sleep. It would hit the snooze button on the alarm.

The principles of Scriptural prayer and meditation that Bonhoeffer sets out make such sense, though, especially given my job—my calling—as a minister? “How should we go about during the day as ministers of the Word, preaching and instructing, helping to carry the burdens of others, if we have not experienced God’s help for the day ourselves?” [2]

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me figure out this prayer piece in my life. Not only for my personal life with You, but also for my professional life. Yes, I know I have been coming to You for years now with variations on this same prayer. I still need Your help. I suspect other people need Your help in the same way, too. Dear God, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 30.

[2] Ibid, 31.

Why Meditation?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 11, 2017

woman in prayer, sanctuary

Why Meditation?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer must have been wonderful at meditation and prayer. He was quite devoted to it. Why did he meditate? He explained, “Because I am a Christian. Therefore, every day in which I do not penetrate more deeply into the knowledge of God’s Word in Holy Scripture is a lost day for me.” [1]

In Bonhoeffer’s mind, meditation and prayer were closely intertwined with the Word of God, the Bible. Bonhoeffer felt his calling as a minister of the Word very strongly, too. Because he was a preacher of the Word, he said, “I cannot expound the Scripture for others if I do not let it speak daily to me.” [2] Yes, meditation and introspection were tied closely to rightly dividing the Word, for Bonhoeffer. “The pastor must pray more than others, and has more to pray about.” [3]

This whole conception of Bonhoeffer’s touches me deeply. I agree with him. The Bible has amazing things to say to regular, ordinary people. I’ve felt that way for years. I have been involved with meditation and prayer (off and on) since my twenties. However, Bonhoeffer was so much more faithful than I. Every single day, and several times a day.

I wish I could be as faithful in prayer and meditation as several of my friends. I consider them real pray-ers, in the major leagues, for example. I’m only a bush league pray-er. It’s true that I am also a pastor. Bonhoeffer’s words convict me strongly. God help me, they do.

Dear Lord, thank You for Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words and example of prayer and meditation. Help me to be more faithful. Guide me in praying regularly. Thank You for hearing my prayers and filling me with Your peace. Dear 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 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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 22.

[2] Ibid, 23.

[3] Ibid.

God’s Law and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 3, 2017

Exod 20 ten commandments word cloud

God’s Law and Meditation

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had some fascinating words to say about the Ten Commandments. Just two paragraphs are quoted in this chapter of Meditating on the Word, but they give us a glimpse of what Bonhoeffer was thinking. “It is grace to know God’s commands,” he said.  Knowing God’s commands—God’s laws—helps us to understand conflict. What is more, God’s laws help to set us free from “self-made plans.”  Intriguing!

Of great important is the beginning of the commandments, for we are messing up that relationship in Exodus 20. “I am the LORD your God.” According to Bonhoeffer, the “I” of the commandments is the Almighty God, and we are called into intimate relationship with God.

When we break one (or more) of God’s commands, the rules are not just of human origin. Bonhoeffer reminds us that we transgress against God. We break God’s commands in our disobedience, not mere human ones, and it is serious, indeed.

If we add to the law God is certainly in charge of, we see Bonhoeffer’s amazement; God dispenses grace through the Ten Commandments, as well. The Ten Commandments ”are not detachable, as if we could  somehow separate God’s will from God Himself.” [1]

God’s grace comes to us from God’s word. This—Exodus 20—as   is as surely God’s revelation as punitive sections of the Mosaic Law as well as many of the Prophets and their writings. God is revealed with mighty power throughout this interaction.

Dear Lord, help me to understand Your abundant grace. Even in the midst of diversity. Dear God, thank You for being on our side, with grace, with love, and with Your open arms of compassion and forgiveness. In Your mercy, hear us as we pray.

@chaplaineliza

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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 13.

Starting to Meditate on the Word

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 1, 2017

sit in pew, praying

Starting to Meditate on the Word

It’s June. It’s the start of the summer season. I will begin my summer sermon series the week after Pentecost (this coming Sunday). Plus, I just finished the anthology compiled by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Spiritual Classics. I wondered about another book I could go through in a similar way to the anthology, and I found one that seems to speak to me. This new book is also an anthology of sorts: a collection of short writings by theologian, professor and pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer.

Meditating on the Word was translated by David McI. Gracie. As we will see over the next weeks, reading the Bible was a source of devotion to Bonhöffer. He not only studied and interpreted the Bible, and heard the words of the Bible in worship services, but he found great comfort and meaning in praying, using the words of the Bible. He considered such reading and meditating on the words of the Bible another means of grace. (God-sent, and God-given.)

As Gracie mentions in his introduction, meditative reading of the Bible led Bonhöffer to prayer on a regular basis. “The Bible was the school of prayer for Bonhöffer, a school in which we learn the language of God, and ‘repeating God’s own words after him, we begin to pray to God.’” [1]

I read this book in depth some years ago, and tried to practice prayerful meditation on a regular schedule. Studying this book was so good for me. Once more, I look forward to practicing prayer and meditation using the Word of God.

“In examining these unfinished pieces, …we may feel freer to pick up hints and insights that fit with the broken pieces of our own life and worship.” [2] I hope and pray that this book serves as a regular help to others as they meditate and pray, too. Dear Lord, help all of us as we pray.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 8.

[2] Ibid, 9.

Frederick Buechner and Celebration

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 14, 2017

laugh more

Frederick Buechner and Celebration

I have heard of Frederick Buechner, but never read anything by him. It was interesting to read the short introduction about him. Presbyterian minister, accomplished writer of both fiction and non-fiction, this particular excerpt features Peculiar Treasures, appreciating the humor of the Bible. This book is a particularly apt way of celebrating with God.

Laughter, outright. Laughter in a sly way, in a shy way. Out and out hoots and hollers of laughter. Ironic laughter, and hesitant laughter instead of tears of sadness and frustration. All of these kinds of laughter are found in the Bible, and Buechner wrote about them.

One example is the laughter of Sarah. (And, Abraham.) Sarah was over 90 years old when the heavenly visitors come to visit their tent as their guests. No one is more surprised than Sarah and Abraham when the guests tell them that the old lady Sarah will have a baby before a year is up.

“Abraham laughed ‘till he fell on his face.’ (Gen 17:17), and Sarah stood cackling behind the tent door so the angel wouldn’t think she was being rude as the tears streamed down her face. When the baby finally came, they even called him Laughter.” [1]

A number of other biblical references are mentioned. Such a gathering of references to laughter, in so many forms, causes me to smile. The Bible is truly a gathering place for a multitude of emotions. This article and excerpt shows us how we ought to enjoy the breadth of these happy times—or, at least, positive situations.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the gift of laughter.

@chaplaineliza

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), 315.

Celebrate with Christina Rossetti

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 12, 2017

little lamb

Celebrate with Christina Rossetti

Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin have done a wonderful thing by giving us snapshots of all of these diverse believers from many different faith traditions, including Christina Rossetti. I have loved Christina Rossetti’s poems for decades, ever since I discovered them as a teenager. (The last verse of this particular hymn has been precious to me since then.) However, I never knew very much about her, other than the fact she was an invalid for much of her life.

Her father was an impressive man: a refugee from Italy, he became a professor of English at King’s College, London during the 1800’s. Their family was part of the artistic creativity of that time. Rossetti was a devout Anglican, and her poems reflect her deep beliefs.

This excerpt is a poem (also the words of a hymn, tune CRANHAM, written by Gustav Holst). It shows the deep, reverent feelings Rossetti has about the Nativity. I appreciate Foster and Griffin’s placement of this in the “Celebration” part of this anthology, since this poem is at once celebratory, wonder-full, and prayerful.

Yes, the setting of the first verse is striking and sets the scene of midwinter in England exactly. However, on this reading, I was struck by Rossetti’s prayerful wonder. True enough, “Angels and archangels /May have gathered there,/Cherubim and seraphim/Thronged the air/.” All of heaven’s glory must have stood in watch and wonder at the birth of God’s Son. But—but— “But only his mother/In her maiden bliss/Worshipped the Beloved/With a kiss.” [1]

Indeed, what wonder.

And, the last verse of this hymn always brings me to tears. “What can I bring him, poor as I am?/ If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,/If I were a wise man I would do my part—/Yet what can I give him, Give my heart.” [2]

Dear Lord, sweet Jesus, these words come from deep inside of me, and deep inside of many. Hear us, dear Lord. In Your sweet, loving name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 310.

[2] Ibid.

Dorothy Day: One who Served Well

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 9, 2017

SERVE do something for those who can't repay

Dorothy Day: One who Served Well

A good many people know of Dorothy Day, of her love for the poor and her lifelong work in social settings that were gritty, ugly, even heartbreaking. She began as a journalist, converted to Catholicism, and started publishing a small newspaper called “The Catholic Worker” which shook large parts of the American society. (Especially the managers and owners of different companies and corporate leaders.)

However, some people do not know about how increasingly important Christianity had become to Ms. Day. “Her Christianity was deeply formed by prayer and study of the Gospels.” [1] Plus, she always strives to live exactly the way that our Lord Jesus lived, showing compassion, care and mercy to all she could, in such desperate and hopeless situations.  It takes someone with a strong stomach and constitution to read the words Ms. Day writes in her memoir.

“Yes, we have lived with the poor, with the workers, and we know them not just from the streets, or in mass meetings, but from years of living in the slums, in tenements, in our hospices…We have lived with the unemployed, the sick, the unemployables. The contrast between the worker who is organized and has his union, the fellowship of his own trade to give him strength, and those who have no organization and come in to us on a breadline is pitiable.” [2]

Ms. Day could not turn away from these horrible situations, duplicated time and time and time again. Instead, she suggests that people of all levels of society show strength and fortitude, through the most desperate places, happenings, and lack of resources. Why not give downtrodden, down-and-out Americans, a real opportunity? And, enough food, shelter and dignity to hold mind and body together?

Dear Lord, help me to sit with this example of Dorothy Day for a while, and then to act. To do, to listen, to walk with, to accomplish needed and valued gifts and activities. And at last, my Judge will be the King from Matthew 25. I know what my marching orders are. Lord, give me the strength, the willingness, and the love and mercy necessary. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 211.

[2] Ibid, 212.