Tag Archives: earnest

Take Delight in God’s Decrees

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Psa 119-14 God's statutes, bible

Take Delight in God’s Decrees

I am amazed at how earnest the psalmist is, sometimes. Taking delight in God’s rules? Laws? Decrees? I know this psalmist really meant it, with all his heart.

Let’s read verse 119:14, as translated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

I have taken greater delight in the way of Your decrees

than in all manner of riches.

As Bonhoeffer said, “’Delight’ is the great word, without which there can be no walking in the way of God.” [1] He then mentions the Gospel of Matthew, where a man found a treasure hidden in a field, and then buys the whole field for the joy of it. Such exuberance. Such joy.

Sometimes, I cannot quite bring up the joy of the Lord from within me. I wonder why? Perhaps the day-to-day routine covers up that joy. Maybe the week-in, week-out rat race gets me down. Yes, I can read statements like Bonhoeffer’s, that “God’s word creates joy and delight in the one who receives it.” [2] Yes, it is delight about restored fellowship with God, and the ability to walk with God, sit with, cry with, even be angry with God.

But, I suspect it is much more than that. I am delivered from fear and separation and alienation from God. God’s Word – which is both the Bible and the Logos – is full of that joy. Especially at this time of year we hear about it. “There is the great proclamation of joy about the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus Christ in Luke – ‘Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’ (Luke 2:10).” [3]

Even though people go through challenging times, or difficulties, or the valley of the shadow, or joy on the mountaintop, there is still joy. That good news of great joy is truly a delight. I can reach out and accept that gift of great joy. I can delight in that precious treasure. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for this matchless gift of the incarnation of the Word of God. Thank You.

@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, 119.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 120.

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 8, 2017

bench-sun-mindfulness

Meditate, in Mindful Prayer

It’s cold outside. Boy, the wind is wicked! Plus, there’s the difference I feel after sitting in prayer, quietly. All kinds of wintry weather. Just perfect to continue my prayer blog.

But, I have a few questions, first. How should I start to meditate? I’ve been practicing the prayer part, for years. (With varying degrees of success.) But, how to meditate? Is it three easy steps? Or, five definitions for silent meditation? Is that how to figure it out? How should I start? Walking? Sitting? Eyes shut, or open?

As I read the book “How to Sit,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, he gives some great advice. Wonderful, and open-ended. As I understand, however I am most comfortable, that’s what he suggests. Walking? Yes. Sitting? That, too. Inside? Yes. Outside? Yes, again.

It’s more of an inside job. Meditation, that is.

Paying quiet attention to whatever crosses my path is a good start. Looking deeply from a point of quietness, I “can begin to see the true nature of what is in front of [me].” [1]

What a generous, enlarging attitude of meditation. Simple and straightforward, really.

Dear God, thanks for such a teacher. And, thanks for such good advice. Help me to follow it regularly. In earnest prayer, I appreciate You so much. God, thanks!

@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), 19.

Thankful Prayers, Earnest Petitions

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, July 23, 2016

 

open hands

Thankful Prayers, Earnest Petitions

My daughter and I safely arrived at the New Wilmington Mission Conference in Pennsylvania this afternoon. We are thankful! And, I have already received several great spiritual boosts from the several sessions I attended.

Thank You for this conference, God. It is truly a marvelous place.

I saw a request from my friend Vicar Josh (online vicar of the Episcopal www.dailyoffice.org website). He earnestly requested prayer for our mutual friend, honorary deacon and soul-medic, Clint.

Here is the prayer I offered. Hear all of our prayers, please!

Gracious God, You hear all of our prayers ascending to You for our dear brother Clint. You know his heart, his love for You, and his love for all of the brothers and sisters. Please, Lord, hear our prayers. Please, Lord. It’s in Jesus’s powerful, healing 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 sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Important Prayer—Earnest Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 14, 2016

candle red

Important Prayer—Earnest Prayer

I heard the horrific news this afternoon. Not on the radio in the car, not on the computer at work. But, from my husband after I got home.

Yes, I admit I thought the news report was some sort of sick prank (of the most twisted kind), when I first heard the news. However, I soon had to admit that this attack in France was even more sick and even more twisted.

I was aghast as I read more and more about the attack and the attacker. And, I pray earnestly for those injured, those medical staff taking care of the injured, the emergency workers and the police who were immediately on the scene, and especially for all those traumatized by this new horror. The families, the little ones, the least of these. All those who were in the midst of celebrating a national holiday in France, and having it interrupted in such an appalling manner.

I pray for all those in great fear and anxiety, right now. Those who are not able to sleep tonight. Those who are mourning lost loved ones. Those who are afraid or angry, Those who are grief-stricken, unable even to move, to go about their daily activities.

This is so difficult. This weighs on me so much. I am running to the One who told us, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.” Just so. Help, Lord. I beg You. Help, Lord.

In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. #PrayForNice

@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

Wounds Too Deep for Us to Heal

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 24, 2015

compassion heart

Wounds Too Deep for Us to Heal

Dear Lord, I feel so inadequate.

Just looking at this prayer for today, I do not say I chose it. Instead, it patiently waited for me to read it, and captured my heart, my soul. Pulled my heartstrings, to boot.

The prayer for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Deliver Us from Evil” (Prayer 454, page 135) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled Compassion. It is taken from a collection entitled Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship, edited by Caryl Micklem.

“Lord, the wounds of this world are too deep for us to heal. We have to bring men and women to You and ask You to look after them—the sick in body and mind, the withered in spirit, the victims of greed and injustice, the prisoners of grief.”

O gracious God! My chaplain’s heart breaks, just reading this first section. Such a number of dear ones come to mind from mention in this paragraph alone! I know You know each name that comes to mind. I know You know each situation so much better than I can possibly know myself. Dear Lord, gracious God, I lift my deep and earnest cries to You.

“And yet, our Father, do not let our prayers excuse us from paying the price of compassion.”

Oh! Piercing me in the heart, God! How often and how many times do I allow surface, peripheral prayers to salve my wounded pastor’s heart? Forgive me, dear Lord.

“Make us generous with the resources You have entrusted to us. Let Your work of rescue be done in us and through us all.”

Dear Lord … when I realize what bounty You have given to me and my family, how can I help but be generous? Sure, I can feel inadequate, comparing myself and our small apartment to others who live in this community, in a generally well-off suburb of Chicago.

And, yet. And, yet, when I look at poverty around this country, especially around the world, I shudder. I realize how much stuff I have. I realize how blessed I am. I bow my face to the floor to thank You for so many things. Like a job I enjoy, good health, a loving husband and family, wonderful friends, electronics at our fingertips, food in our kitchen, abundant clothing to wear.

Gracious God, help me to be generous with all You have entrusted to me. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my earnest prayers.

@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), 135.

Prayer for Missionaries? Prayer for Serving.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 11, 2015

pray for the world

Prayer for Missionaries? Prayer for Serving.

This evening, I set out the information for next Sunday’s bulletin. I’ll be preaching from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10. The focus for the sermon is service. And, one particular verse is echoing in my head. (And will probably be the verse I center my sermon around.) Which verse? Mark 10:45. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Today’s prayer is titled “Prayer for Missionaries.” It comes from the Scottish Book of Common Prayer, dated 1912. The prayer is about Serving. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 221, pages 76) [1]

This heartfelt prayer brings to mind earnest folks praying in a heartfelt way for earnest missionaries half a world away.

A century and more ago, I know that missionaries often would leave home for many years at a time. The journey there and back again was often arduous, long, sometimes fraught with danger. “Protect them from all perils by land and sea,” indeed. I understand that the mission life was sometimes lonely and often difficult: thus the prayer “support them in loneliness and the time of trial.”

Lord, I realize that whether in times past or today, a missionary needs “grace to bear faithful witness unto Thee.” They need to be endued with “burning zeal and love, that they may turn many to righteousness and finally obtain a crown of glory, through Jesus Christ.” Dear Lord, I know a number of missionaries. I pray this prayer for them, and for their friends and colleagues. I ask that You look with favor on their mission and ministries. I know from Your Word that You “willest all men [and women] should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”

I earnestly pray this prayer for all those mission workers I know, and for many, many more. Dear Lord, 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 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), 76.

I Want What I Want When I Want It

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 15, 2014

knows you and loves you

I Want What I Want When I Want It

I sometimes have difficulty settling down to prayer. I mean, real, earnest prayer, as uninterrupted as I can make it. Sometimes my mind flits about, from one topic to another to yet another. And that’s all in about three seconds. This has been happening more lately, and I suspect it’s due to having so many things on my mind. However, I have been consistently coming to God. Pretty consistently, anyhow.

Recently, when I was praying in the morning as I customarily do, my mind and my attention began doing the same thing, flitting around. Hop, skip and jumping all over the place. But then, I started thinking about what I wanted. What I needed. I continued in this vein for some seconds, and then I drew myself up short.

Wait a moment! I drew back, mentally, and reconsidered how I was expressing myself in prayer. “I want! I want! I want!” It seemed like that was most of what was coming out of my mouth that morning. Isn’t that the request that most people have in hand, when they come to you? Goodness, I should think that might get pretty whiny, even unpleasant. And then, I turn right around and ask—no, beg is the appropriate word. I am afraid I am also guilty of praying like this, from time to time.

What about when people want things they shouldn’t have? Or, in a related way, what if people ask for things that are wildly inappropriate?

Take my daughter, for example. (It’s been several years since she graduated from college, just to let people know how long ago this was.) Years ago when she was a preschooler, she very much wanted a pony for Christmas. Her father and I lived in an apartment in Chicago at the time, finances were very tight, and a pony was absolutely, positively out of the question. But, how could I tell my young daughter that? How could I give her the very adult, reasonable, matter-of-fact reasons why she wouldn’t be receiving a pony for Christmas?

She was so earnest, so sincere in her child’s-desire for a pony! I knew I had to do something, since her strong desire was lasting for days and days. Eventually, I got up the courage to tell her that there was no way she could receive that pony. I had to be the loving but firm parent, telling her that she would not get her heart’s desire.

God, how often do You have to be the loving but firm Parent, letting me down easy? Telling me in loving but firm manner that I am not receiving a “pony” for Christmas, either. (Whatever the “pony” in my life happens to be.) Thanks for loving me, no matter what.

Let’s pray. God, Your ears are always open, Your arms always widespread. Help me align my will with Yours. Thank You for helping me find innovative ways to approach You in prayer. Thanks for being my loving, heavenly Parent. I appreciate and love You, too! Amen.

@chaplaineliza