Tag Archives: emotions

Praying, Sharing Humanity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 13, 2018

compassion, word cloud

Praying, Sharing Humanity

Compassion. That’s what today’s section of Henri Nouwen’s book With Open Hands is all about. Amazing insight with such brevity. Father Nouwen says such sensible things, I cannot believe they never crossed my mind before. Like, “Compassion grown with the inner recognition that your neighbor shares your humanity with you.” [1]

I cannot help but compare Father Nouwen’s words here with the basic outlook and principles behind Fred Rogers’ treatment and attitude towards everyone he dealt with. It did not matter what sort of person Mister Rogers met—age, height, ability, ethnicity, status (or lack of status), or any other kind of difference or separation. Those differences did not matter to Fred Rogers. I do not think those differences or separations mattered to Father Nouwen, either.

Fr. Nouwen clearly states “Across all barriers of land and language, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, we are one, created from the same dust, subject to the same laws, and destined for the same end.” [2] I don’t know how Fr. Nouwen was able to do that, but there was an equitable, caring, open attitude he had towards everyone he encountered, just as there was with Mister Rogers. That kind, caring attitude and openness are what I strive for, God willing.

Yet, compassion—according to Fr. Nouwen—is not only a positive, warm, fuzzy kind of expression and emotion. Compassion “also means sharing in joy, which can be just as important as sharing in pain.” [3]

Yes, we are human; yes, we all have the experience of pain. Some people experience pain more often than others. Yes, I have sat with individuals who go through painful episodes in their lives regularly. I know some have inner anguish, others have physical pain. Those painful emotions and situations did not make Fr. Nouwen care for those people less. Those negative experiences caused Mister Rogers to care even more for children and adults alike.

Dear God, when I grow up, I want to be like Fred Rogers. I want to have the attitude of Henri Nouwen. Help me—help us to offer others real support and comfort from our hearts. For real, not with false faces or fake feelings. Thank You for giving us such excellent examples as Henri Nouwen and Fred Rogers.



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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 92.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 93.

Instruct Me in God’s Laws?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 7, 2017

Psa 119-12 teach me, words

Instruct Me in God’s Laws?

When I read this brief comment on Psalm 119:12, I sat back and thought about it for a while. Let’s get the verse in front of us, so we can see what Bonhoeffer is talking about.

Blessed are You, O Lord;

Instruct me in Your statutes.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Does the ‘I,’ which is so noticeably repeated in these psalm verses, signify preoccupation with the self in self-criticism and self-justification?” [1] I do not know about that. What I recognize is that the Psalms are one of the most personal and emotional books in the Bible. I always appreciated the fact that the different psalm writers had no problem expressing deep (and sometimes troubling) emotions.

I have never thought of this specific idea before. Does the psalmist have some hyper-sensitive preoccupation with the self? (I mean, unhealthy preoccupation. I am not talking about a normal self-concept here.) That is a fascinating idea, and one that is new to me. I simply cannot answer that right now.

However, I can agree with the psalmist and with Bonhoeffer on his other striking insight. “In blessing God, we confess what we have received. In making our request of God, we confess our poverty.” [2] Oh, my. I know very well how poor I am. I need God’s instruction, God’s wisdom, and especially God’s help. What can I do, but pray?

Gracious God, source of all wisdom, thank You for these words. Thank You for this psalm. Continue to impress these verses on my heart and mind. Please, Lord, help me to follow Your statutes and laws. I thank and praise Your blessed name, Lord. All glory be to You. Amen.



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, 118.

[2] Ibid.

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.


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.

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 25, 2016


suffering word cloud

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

I get sad sometimes. Anxious. Depending on what has happened in my life, and how my emotional barometer is reading, I can get depressed. On occasion, to the point of despair. What am I to do? How on earth can I get out of this?

Psalm 40 gives me some positive steps, and words to match. Not only am I advised to wait for the Lord, but I know God will hear me. God will come to my aid. (Sooner or later. And, I know. Sometimes it really seems like “later!”)

Negative emotions can be the pits. (And, sometimes I can feel like I am in the depths of a horrible pit, too.) If I am not careful, negative and depressing feelings can run away with me, just like wild horses can gallop away, too. Horrible. I don’t even want to think about such things. Good thing I know where I can turn—I know God can help.

Let’s turn to God, now. Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for me, and for my loved ones. Dear God, I pray against anxiety, anger, despair, depression, and hopelessness, in any of our lives. In all of our lives. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Restore to my loved ones the ideas and thoughts of positivity. Give us the ability to take the sad or angry or fearful situations we are—sadly—so familiar with, and turn to You. Trust in You. Please, dear Lord, hear 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.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Praying God’s Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, July 18, 2015

PEACE I leave with you kitten

Praying God’s Peace

Tonight’s chapter in Praying the New Testament as Psalms highlighted peace. Peace expressed in various verses, peace displayed in various ways.

I agreed with many of these modern verses from this modern psalm. The composite verses are true, and worthwhile, and give more information about peace. However, none of them touched me significantly, until I reached the last verse. That one hit home.

“Jesus, You have given Your peace to me,/May I never be troubled or afraid.” [1] This sentiment from John 14 made me think hard. And, take a deep breath. And, ultimately, thank God.

Today was quite a day. I left the house a little after 6 am, drove hundreds of miles, and now am at a conference. Hectic, happy, jumbled, tiring, emotional. That was just to begin with. I’m sure there are more emotions I’m feeling right now, but I haven’t had the time to figure out quite what they are yet. There’s time enough for that tomorrow. Tonight, I’ll concentrate on God’s peace.

Peace. God’s peace. I need God’s peace right now!

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of peace. Even when things are hectic, I so appreciate Your free gift to me. When everything seems jumbled and stress-filled, You promise that I might not be troubled. It’s not any generic, cheap quality of peace that’s coming my way. No, it’s Your peace. Top quality, extra special kind of peace. Your peace.

Thank You, God. I appreciate it, so much.


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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 151.

Helping? Praying? Being There for My Friend!

Upon reflection, I thought this was such a wonderful post on prayer and meditation. It comes from my other blog–A Year of Being Kind. (Apologies to those who have seen it before.) I hope this post blesses many.

A Year of Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, October 26, 2014

Centering-Prayer-hands holding candle

Helping? Being There for My Friend!

I have a friend who lives in a neighboring state. We recently had dinner when she was in Chicago for some business. We have gotten in the habit of having lively conversations over social media. It is so enjoyable! And I hope it’s mutually beneficial, as well.

My friend told me recently about a long, difficult day she had at work. On top of that, the situation at her home was not particularly peaceful. After the stressful day at work, of course she was anxious and frustrated. (I’ve been there, too—I know!) She gave me a play-by-play on her irritating home situation. And I commiserated. Good grief! I know how families can be sometimes.

I had a sudden thought. I asked my friend whether she wanted me to give her a brief meditation…

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Intimacy with God

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sometimes, God does not seem very close to me at all. I realize I often rely on my faulty feelings and errant emotions. But God, why is it that I don’t feel You by my side, especially when I really need You?

I did get sort-of-an-answer earlier this week, as I read my devotional book. (on prayer) Written by a Methodist elder, James Howell said, “What we bring to God is not great holiness and wisdom, but brokenness and profound need. . . . Our weakness is not something to be corrected, but becomes the very crucible in which intimacy with God is established.”

I sort-of understand where Howell is going, with this thought. My brokenness and my feelings of being dreadfully alone do not keep me from God. God holds arms open wide, no matter what. God wants intimacy with me. The humorous saying goes something like this: “If someone is far away from God, who moved?” Just so, I need to continue to come to God with whatever is going on in my life, and not shy away.

God intimately knows all about my various weaknesses. God’s strength can bear me up when I fall on my face, or get discouraged, or one or two of the most ridiculous words out of my mouth. It is in these times of dark despair that I am invited into God’s own presence. And the invitation is never withdrawn. Thanks be to God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for deep words that James Howell wrote. Whether a few days ago, or years in the past, it doesn’t matter to You. You love me anyway! Help me to celebrate my personal weakness, God. You can turn it around. You have the loving care to bring my wandering-minstrel-mind closer to You. Help me want to stay in Your arms. God in Your mercy, hear our prayers. Thanks!