Tag Archives: encounter God

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 31, 2018

dream not interpreted, letter not read

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Often, when Father Nouwen suggests something, I strongly consider it. Except—in this particular situation. He was talking about silence, and noise, and especially about sleep. Then, he mentioned dreams. Oh, no!

It’s not that I never dream. From what I understand about dreams, I must dream with some regularity. I just never remember my dreams. Other people remember their dreams with great detail. Alas, not me. I am even uncomfortable talking about the fact that I don’t remember my dreams. (Well, hardly ever. Two, maybe three dreams a year, at most. And those, only vague impressions.)

Nouwen is talking about God being a Master Gardener; “Under this gentle regime, we can once again become masters over our own house. Not only during the day, but at night as well….Sleep is no longer a strange darkness, but a friendly curtain behind which dreams continue to live and to send out messages which can be gratefully received.” [1]

I am terribly sorry, Father Nouwen. I can’t make use of this friendly curtain, or the dream-space behind it. I feel my lack of dreams strongly. Periodically, I hear others discussing their dreams. An older friend encounters God on a fairly regular basis in dreams. (That’s how God communicates with my friend…not me!)

Realizing God communicates with me through the written word was (and is) a comfort to me. Gosh, I am so word-based! I know lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are great ways for me to pray. However, I have tried other ways of praying and meditation.  I really have tried, and tried hard. But, I just can’t allow myself, turn myself over to dream, because thereby leads to frustration and sorrow and disgruntlement.

Dear Lord, I do not think You want me to be disgruntled when I’m coming before You in prayers! I think that much be the furthest things from Your mind. Thank You for letting me find out that lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are two ways of praying that can lead me into Your presence, on a reliable basis. Gracious God, help me to be able to come before You on a regular basis. However, if I should be some change remember my dreams, help me to find some meaning in them. Just another in the dozens of ways You find to communicate with us. In the loving name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 21.

Be Present, O Merciful God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 25, 2015

mercy and grace crossing

Be Present, O Merciful God

It’s a good thing God has big ears and can hear a whole lot of people praying at one time. It’s a good thing God is merciful. A number of people I know are crying out to God right now. And, it’s a good thing God is present. I mean, really here. (Or, wherever people need God to be.)

As I read through the Evening Prayer on www.dailyoffice.org tonight, I came to an abrupt halt as I read through one of the collects for the evening. Just before the private, free time of intercession. I have it handy. “Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The beginning and ending of this section gives me no problems. I can agree with every word—from the first and last parts of the prayer. But God, the part of the prayer that particularly throws me this evening is “we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness.”

Just out of curiosity, I put the sentence above into the search bar on my computer. Lo and behold, I found this, from the Diocese of Mississippi. A notice for a spiritual formation retreat. ‘Life is full of transitions. Some are chosen while others are thrust upon us. Within each of these moments of change and adjustment there come opportunities to encounter God in unique ways. This retreat will provide an occasion to explore the transitional moments in our lives and discover anew the One who abides with us in “external changelessness.”’ [1]

What a thought. God abides with each of us in external changelessness, even while we are going through transitional moments. Yet, we can encounter God at work, at home, in the hospital, even as we travel from place to place.

Each and every moment is so often a transition from one thing to the next. It just so happens that many people in my acquaintance are going through awful things right now. Or, their loved ones are. So difficult to bear. The weight of the knowledge and sometimes even the despair.

Yet, God’s changelessness is so much greater than the transitions you or I or your neighbors or my friends or the people across town or—you get the idea. God is forever the same. Loving, constant, faithful, caring—praise God, we can encounter this God, for real.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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] http://www.dioms.org/digital_faith/events/3160983

Day #16 – Turn It Off. Off the Hook. And Pray.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 7, 2015

cell phone illustration

Day #16 – Turn It Off. Off the Hook. And Pray.

Have you ever attended a silent retreat?

I attended a Lenten silent retreat today. Wonderful. Restful. Soul-searching, too. The retreat focused on the Lord’s Prayer. However, God wanted to bring much more than that to me.

One of the retreat leaders, Jay (my marvelous spiritual director), told us we were to turn off our cell phones as we entered into the retreat time. Having some concerted time, all morning and all afternoon to concentrate on myself and my relationship with God, the last thing I needed was a telephone call. Even, a telephone text.

I had left my cell phone at home, since I knew how tempting it would be to check calls. Voicemails. Messages. Texts. Oh, how wonderful to be free of the rigors and bother of a cell phone! At least, for a few hours.

God did communicate several interesting matters to me. One was especially profound. As I went through the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer through the day, certain things surfaced. Questions I was asked included: Are there particular areas of your life in which you long to encounter God? How in your life are you aware of your need for God’s provision—both material and spiritual? For what do you need to seek God’s forgiveness? And, what personal obstacles or temptations are you encountering in life; in what ways have you taken these to God?

Today was a fruitful, peaceful time of encounter with God. Prayer, meditation, and resting in God.

And, yes. I also tried to follow today’s suggestion for #40acts. Being on the retreat only magnified (in a good way) the silence and stillness. And, I did not even notice the absence of the cell phone until the retreat was over.

I also found I was able to listen to God much more clearly. Leaving my cell phone at home? A great idea! For at least a little while.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

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