Tag Archives: death

Prayer, God’s Voice, and Psalm 58

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, August 24, 2017

Psa 58-3 voice of charmers

Prayer, God’s Voice, and Psalm 58

Another blog post, another punch in the gut. Seriously, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words hit home especially hard. In this short commentary on Psalm 58, Bonhoeffer describes the challenging sentiments of King David in such vivid terms.

Yes, Psalm 58 is a psalm of vengeance. (What sometimes is called an “imprecatory psalm,” which has the psalmist “praying evil against” his enemies, and praying death and destruction to come upon them. [1] ) King David wants so desperately to describe his enemies as evil, nasty and abominable.

I was struck by verse 5, which has the enemies of David characterized as not heeding “the voice of the charmer, no matter how skillful his charming.” [2] Or, rather, I was really impacted by Bonhoeffer’s comments on this verse as directed to the modern believer. He describes us as charmed by the “skillful One who by his words of grace charms and controls our hearts.” [3] Yet, there are some who do not listen, and who even go so far as to seemingly stop their ears.

Ah, Herr Pastor, your words hit me right between the eyes…”There are times when, in willful disobedience, we harden our hearts against God’s will and heap up sin upon sin until at last we can hear no more. Then Satan has gained control of us.” [4]

That is me. I am the guilty one. Dietrich, you were exactly correct. Sometimes I willfully sin. Sometimes I deliberately shut my ears to God’s words of grace, Oh, woe is me! Who shall save me from such a sinful state? (Yes, I know—rhetorical question. Read Romans, especially chapters 6 and 7, followed by chapter 8.)

And, as Bonhoeffer eagerly admits, all we can do in such a case is pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to walk in Your ways and listen to Your words. Unstop my ears from willful disobedience, and lead me in the Way everlasting. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our 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

[1] https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/asbury-bible-commentary/Imprecatory-Psalms

[2] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 78.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 79.

Daily, Mindful Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily, Mindful Prayer.


Sometimes, life happens. In my life, other people’s lives. Mindfulness helps when life happens. Daily, mindful prayer.

I went through life, as usual. Yeah, I encountered some rough spots, as well as some great times. Sometimes stuff happens to me, and sometimes stuff happens to my family. Like, when an elderly loved one of mine had a serious illness in November, and the doctors finally told the family that he needed to enter hospice at the beginning of December. Then, two weeks later, he died. So, the extended family had to deal with something quite serious—a death in the family. On top of which, things were complicated by the holidays.

Sometimes stuff just happens. All during the fall, during my loved one’s illness, I was reminded that I could pray and meditate anywhere.

Prayer and meditation are not determined by anyone’s position. Sitting, standing, walking—however you would like to practice, it works. What’s more, prayer, meditation and mindfulness are is not exclusive, or only for one particular group of people. Each one of us has the opportunity to reach for the stars.

Each day, each night, mindful meditation and prayer are good options. I need to remember that. Gracious God, help me. Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to come before You, at any time, any place.


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

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

This is a blog on prayer, and matters of prayer.

I seldom do this, but I would appreciate prayer for an older relative’s family, in another state. A recent death of the senior. I haven’t seen any of the family for years, yet I feel the loss.

Reflecting on John 14:27, it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus gives me peace. He offers me peace in troubled times, in grieving times. Plus, I can offer that peace to others. Yes, I can grieve. My friends and family can grieve. However, the Holy Spirit has promised to come alongside and comfort. Not as the world tries to distract, but real and genuine comfort and encouragement.

Gracious God, thank You for the peace and serenity that Jesus promised in this verse. Help me to bring some of that peace and comfort to my family. I pray that You hold all who loved my relative in Your everlasting arms of care and concern. Please encourage them even in the midst of their grief and sadness. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Lord, I Cannot Do This Alone

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 29, 2015

eternal life John

Lord, I Cannot Do This Alone

I am approaching the end of the Lord’s Prayer, and the end of the month of October. Appropriate and fitting that I ought to consider today’s topic. Today’s prayer is about Death and Eternity. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer deals with “For Ever and Ever” (Prayer 538, page 161) [1]

As I read through the prayers in this section, I was drawn to one particular prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The notation alongside of the prayer is marked “written while awaiting execution in a Nazi prison.”

I have done extensive reading of Bonhoeffer’s writings, as well as pertinent biographical information (and two biographies). Bonhoeffer was a sincere man of great faith in the unrelenting face of evil. Most people do not know with precision exactly when they are going to die. I am afraid Bonhoeffer did. This is what he wrote.

“O God, early in the morning I cry to You. Help me to pray/And to concentrate my thoughts on You;/I cannot do this alone.” – As he neared the moment of his execution, he asked for help. He knew he was unable to walk that path alone.

“In me there is darkness,/But with You there is light;/I am lonely, but You do not leave me;/I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help;/I am restless, but with You there is peace./In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience;” These are five compare/contrast statements. I feel certain that Bonhoeffer definitely, deeply felt each of these negatives. And I am equally certain that he was infinitely glad (relieved?) that God met him and matched him with each of these positives.

“I do not understand Your ways,/But You know the way for me.” – O, Lord. Can there be any statement so truthful? So acknowledging of Your care? You know us so much better than we can possibly know ourselves.

“Restore me to liberty,/And enable me so to live now/That I may answer before You and before me./Lord, whatever this day may bring,/Your name be praised.” – I am moved beyond measure. “Restore me to liberty,” indeed! I think Bonhoeffer knew very well what that meant, for him.

Dear Lord, gracious God, enable me to come before You in grace, truth and rigorous honesty, and to truly echo Bonhoeffer’s words: that “whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.”


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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 161.

Day #37 – Can I Lift Someone’s Load?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 1, 2015

God wrap Your arms around all those

Day #37 – Can I Lift Someone’s Load?

Am I getting to that age when I am more likely to hear about an acquaintance, or even a friend, who has recently died? Or, am I in a profession where that is more likely?

How about, both?

A good friend of mine died last week. She was in hospice for a severe illness. The illness had been in remission for several years, and when I saw her last fall, she seemed fit (if thinner) and upbeat. However, I found out recently that the illness had recurred, and I went to the hospice to visit. I hope I was a comfort to those who were there. And then, after the weekend, I found out about her death. God bless those who mourn her passing. She was a wonderful lady, and she will be greatly missed.

The spouse of a good friend of mine died yesterday. This dear one had beaten the odds by being stubborn and—gosh darn it!—remaining alive for about two years longer than the medical staff had predicted! My good friend, dear friend, has been faithfully at the spouse’s side at all times. Serving as patient advocate (very necessary!), spokesperson when needed, and generally keeping track of every little aspect of patient care.

As of yesterday, the hospice called and let my friend and family know that their dear one had died. Quietly.

Yes, I prayed. On a regular basis. Yes, I sent a number of emails over the many months, and even sent several cards by snail mail. Tomorrow, a condolence card will go into the mail. Snail mail. Several states away.

Heavy lifting, indeed.

I am accustomed to being with people in anxious times, even traumatic times. In this holiest of Holy Weeks, I stop and reflect on death. Especially on the death of our Lord Jesus. I find myself becoming quiet. Continuing to reflect. Ponder. Cry. Wish I could be there with my dear friend. And then, knowing that God is there, I think that is enough. It has to be.

God, be with my friend, the bereaved one. Be with all who mourn these dear ones’ passing. Please. Thank You for walking with them in their pain and mourning. Help them to reframe, gently. Gradually. In Jesus’ healing name I pray, amen.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Comfort and Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 28, 2013

Comfort and Prayer

I went to a funeral today. An elderly person close to me died recently. Today was a celebration of long, fruitful life as well as a grieving for someone who has passed beyond our immediate connection. Into God’s gracious hands.

As a chaplain and caregiver, I frequently am put in the position of communication with elderly individuals. I enjoy coming alongside of them, traveling with them for a little while. My heart goes out to these dear people. Each one has a story. Whether big events or little circumstances, whether traveling to far places for years or staying in one place for an entire lifetime—I always can listen to and learn from their personal stories.

This particular, much-loved senior had a full life. I heard many personal anecdotes today. Many remembrances, and a great deal of love and caring was shared from a long and blessed life.

I realize that some are less blessed in their lives, but each one has a continuing story. As I listen to each story, I can rejoice with the teller, or share their concern or pain. I can offer to pray, and bring their story before God—with or without words. That’s my privilege, to journey with individuals, couples, or families. Whether at a care center, a private home, or on the street, it doesn’t matter. God is still here. And I can come alongside people with the ministry of presence.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for the opportunity to come together, in community. Thank You for the blessed, yet difficult, experience of grieving and mourning. I know You are with each of us, every day—whether we realize it or not. Forgive me, God, for forgetting You so often. Lead me—lead us—to a blessed understanding of Your presence by our sides, each day. Thanks for Your care, Your comfort, and Your encouragement. God, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

water and sunset