Tag Archives: deep breathing

Practice Prayer, Despite Strong Emotions

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 23, 2017

candles-and-cross

Practice Prayer, Despite Strong Emotions

As I read this short excerpt from How to Sit tonight,[1] I couldn’t help but be reminded of my chaplain internships. The teacher Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of strong emotions, and how the regular practice of prayer and meditation helps many people manage their emotional state. In all of my chaplain internships, we were shown several helpful ways of dealing with strong emotions (which included prayer and meditation).

Sometimes, strong emotions can carry a person away, devastate them, send them to the heights of ecstasy, or infuriate them beyond all measure. Problem: how to manage yourself and your emotions if you have a really, really strong emotion going in with you? (Believe me, at times in my chaplain internships, as well as my work as a chaplain, I faced some wild, intense emotional situations.)

Thich Nhat Hanh highlights the regular practice of prayer and meditation as a great help to remaining on an even keel, in situations with strong emotion. (I suspect this practice would be a bit easier for someone who had an affinity for quiet, contemplative, meditative prayer and meditation.) I have experienced this firsthand. I know how valuable deep breathing can be, as well as the use of meditation and mindfulness. I can attest to the helpful nature of regular, concerted prayer, for myself, my family or friends, or in intercession for the loved one of someone who asks me for prayer.

My chaplain internships were so worthwhile. (As is my practice of prayer and meditation.) God, thank You for providing such opportunities for me to learn about these wonderful practices. Each and every one. Lord, in Your mercies, hear 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 72-73.

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet (Repost)

Just reposted this to my new Facebook page, Pursuing Peace. Also, to my blog, matterofprayer.wordpress.com.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

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Quiet. Shh!

One definition for peace certainly can be quiet. Calm, serenity, peace. Yes, quiet.

This was the definition Celeste Magers gave to me, several days ago. Peace is quiet.

Many people pray and meditate as a regular part of their day. Celeste is a practitioner of meditation. This is what she says about how meditation informs her practice of quiet, which is foundational to quiet in her life.

“I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, and the style of meditation I use encourages inner quiet. If thoughts show up, I try not to latch onto them and run with them. I let thoughts flow on by – like light fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. If I’m successful, after a while, the thoughts quiet down and stop intruding. And then I feel as if I’m immersed in a sea of peace and love. And the same is true of my emotions. When they are not in an uproar, when they are quiet, then I experience peace emotionally, too. So peace means quiet to me. I access peace through quiet.”

Celeste, what a wonderful explanation of how peace and quiet are so closely intermingled in your life, as well as in your practice of meditation.

As you or I come before our God, we can thank God we have the opportunity to calm our hearts as well as our bodies. I can feel the peace and quietude tiptoe into my emotions, my intellect, and my physical being—as well as into my spiritual self. Thank You, God, for such a soothing, calming experience. Gently breathing in—breathing out. Feeling my heart rate decrease, my thoughts become more serene. Thank You, God.
(Celeste Magers is a lecturer in meditation, healthful living, nutrition, and holds a laughter yoga certification. She is always ready to share about the power of laughter in healing and ministry.)

@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

Pray for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 9, 2016

meditating Jesus - unknown artist

Pray for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

How fascinating to contemplate peace. Interesting? Much more than that. Truly mind-altering.

When I consider peaceful thoughts, and meditation on peaceful subjects, my mind slows down to a more manageable speed. My breathing slows to a deeper in and out—slowly, in—slowly, out. I can feel my shoulders and back becoming less tense, more relaxed.

My yoga instructor, Ine, is a retired nurse. She regularly tells her class that the deep breathing and calming relaxation of yoga is beneficial in several important ways—including lowering the blood pressure, assisting in opening up the airway, and allowing the diaphragm to move freely.

That’s how I felt as I read through this prayer from The Oxford Book of Prayer.[1] It is taken from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship. It’s short enough that I will quote it in full:

“Show us, good Lord,/the peace we should seek/the peace we must give,/the peace we can keep,/ the peace we must forgo, and the peace You have given us in Jesus our Lord.” [2]

Differing aspects of peace, yet all of them can be said to be gentle and quiet. Peace is not often loud and boisterous! Often quiet and unassuming. Take, for example, this short prayer. If prayed slowly, earnestly, from the heart, it will have a good chance of having those calming benefits my yoga teacher talks about. (Try it, and see!)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the benefits of pursuing peace. I can see the wonderful reaction peace has on my tense, stressed-out body. Thank You for allowing me to learn more about many different aspects of peace, calm, prayer, and meditation. Help me to be able to practice these several actions, regularly. I know You are pleased when I do! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

P.S. Watch this space for Pursuing PEACE. A Project that is also a listening tour. Listen. Share. Pursue PEACE. Coming TOMORROW for Lent!

@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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 80.

[2] Ibid.

A Prayerful Reflection

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, May 25, 2015

PRAY don't worry, through prayer to God Phil 4-6

A Prayerful Reflection

There are different ways of praying, using Ignatian prayer and meditation. Last week, we took a look at one version. This week, we’re looking at another. I’m returning to Inner Compass, the book by Margaret Silf that has been sometimes helpful to me during the past few years.

As Silf says, this meditation and prayer time can be done each night, and can draw the happenings of the day together. Helping the person doing the praying to observe what God is doing through and in that person’s life.

The first step is Stillness. “Relax, be still; let the tensions of the day slip away from you. Know that you are in God’s presence. He rejoices that you have come to Him, however, forgetful you may have been of Him during the day.” [1]

This first step is helpful, and can be cleansing of anxiety, frustration, rage, and depression. Deep breathing often is helpful in this process, too. Any other way or manner of meditation and mindfulness is beneficial, as well.

God’s leading and God’s kind words and actions act as a reassuring support for those in prayer. God willing, I can start now.

@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 .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.