Tag Archives: encourage

Spiritual Imagination and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 18, 2019

Jesus and Coptic-Children-01

Spiritual Imagination and Prayer

As I go through this book, I repeatedly find Ignatian prayer can be freeing, liberating, and exciting. Yes, I have read through books on Ignatian prayer before. (Including the Spiritual Exercises, the book that started it all.) Yet, I cannot get it cemented in my head that Ignatian prayer is truly a marvelous way to communicate with God. I still have difficulty practicing regular, daily prayer.

Father Timothy gives further examples of substantive Ignatian prayer. First, R. used the instance in the Gospel of Luke where Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus come by. R. saw himself as Zacchaeus, up a tree, and Jesus encountered him. The warmth, the intimacy, the desire of simply being with Jesus—all became a marvelous experience of imaginative prayer. [1]

Second, A. had a retreat where she intentionally set aside time to pray. The spiritual director gave her several Scripture passages, and she was drawn repeatedly to Jesus’s encounter with the children (from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19). A. imagined herself as one of the children, ad felt herself hugged by Jesus. [2] What an intimate, engaging experience!

I would love to be hugged by Jesus. How nurturing and loving that would be. Can I feel the warmth and intimate experience of this kind of prayer, on a regular basis? What if I do not feel it at all? (Now, since I have had these opportunities and experiences in Ignatian prayer before, I know it is possible. I just have not often tried Ignatian prayer.)

Perhaps I am afraid, or shy, or leery, or hesitant.  Forgive me, please.

Dear Lord, please encourage my heart to try Ignatian prayer more often. Overcome my hesitancy and fear of failure. Thank You for being there, for having Your arms open wide. Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for running to meet me, like the Father from Luke 15 ran to meet the Prodigal. Help me to want that intimacy. Please, dear Lord. It is in Jesus’s precious name I pray, 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] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 38.

[2] Ibid, 39.

More on Compassion and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 28, 2018

compassion - in His steps

More on Compassion and Prayer

Father Nouwen had such insights. I’ve read a number of his book, and I am amazed at each one. Such simplicity, and such clarity of expression. The words with which he discusses the close relationship of compassion and prayer—so straight-forward. Even simple. (But NOT easy to do. Very rarely that.)

“Risks are involved. For compassion means to build a bridge to others without know whether they want to be reached.” [1] Bridge-building is definitely a trusting exercise of good faith. However, without the building of bridges, individuals would still be separated by walls and moats of their own making.

I fear that bitter feelings are often the dividers between individuals and groups. “Your brother or sister might be so embittered that he or she doesn’t expect anything from you. Then your compassion stirs up enmity, and it is difficult not to become sour yourself and say, “You see what I told you, it doesn’t work anyhow.” [2]

As I consider Father Nouwen, I cannot help but see him as someone with clarity of speech and insight. Someone who wrote many books, and touched many lives. How can someone like that not be a builder of bridges?

When we pray, we can try to build bridges. Each of us can strive to show compassion, to trust in God and in God’s love and caring. Is this easy? No, so in the least. Is this necessary? Only if we would like to be caring, compassionate individuals.

Dear Lord, help me show Your caring and love, in compassion and by building bridges. God, it doesn’t matter whether I build verbal bridges, bridges of relationship, or actual, concrete bridges to cross from one side to the other. Gracious God, bless each of us today, and encourage us to reach out in compassion. Amen.

 

@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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 96.

[2] Ibid.

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 15, 2017

Psa 119-13 recount God's laws, words

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Ah, Pastor Bonhoeffer, again you have struck me right in the heart. Again you have hit me in the gut. Not fair, I say!

Actually, I feel such judgment and conviction from Bonhoeffer’s comments on the current verse. (Bonhoeffer, you have certainly done your job, I can tell you.) Let’s take a look at this verse:

With my lips will I recite

All the judgments of Your mouth.

I do not think the author was kidding around at all. Not in any of this incredibly long psalm.  The author seems to be perfectly serious whenever he mentions taking God’s Word to heart. And in referring to this verse, Psalm 119:13, Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells his readers to be cautious about the words that come from their mouths. “It is often easy to carry God’s Word in our heart, but very difficult to bring it upon our lips!” [1]

Ah, Herr Pastor, your words hit me in such a delicate, awkward place. How often do I keep my mouth closed, lest I seem to be a “schoolmarm” by other people? “Is there not an atmosphere of frivolity and godlessness in which we no longer find the right word and simply become silent? Does not false modesty and fear of others often keep our mouths shut?” [2]

Yes, I am certainly guilty as charged.

Dear Lord, forgive me. Let me strive to honestly and sincerely use God’s Words to uplift and encourage others. Gracious God, help our words to be consistent with our hearts, in all things. It’s in the powerful, mighty name of God we pray. Amen.

 

@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, 118.

[2] Ibid, 119.

Dom John Main’s Words on Solitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 27, 2017

 

solitude...

Dom John Main’s Words on Solitude

This book, Spiritual Classics, has such innovative readings from some remarkable people, including John Main. He was involved in some fascinating activities before he found his vocation: British Intelligence, the British Colonial Service, plus, stationed in the Far East. Fascinating, indeed.

After studying the Church Father John Cassian, Father John found that silence and solitude held such a near and dear place in his heart. Here are several quotes by Dom John.

“Now to tread the spiritual path we must learn to be silent….We all know that we can often come to know another person most profoundly in silence. To be silent with another person is a deep expression of trust and confidence and it is only when we are unconfident that we feel compelled to talk.” [1]

What a straight-forward way of thinking about solitude. How often do we feel “unconfident.” How easy is it to fall into talking.

“To be silent with another person is truly to be with that other person. Nothing is so powerful in building mutual confidence between people than a silence which is easeful and creative.” [2]

Ah. Silence—a mutual, easy silence—is a way to join that other person in a way that touches deep places inside. It seems as if attachment is to be encouraged and celebrated, in silence.

Lord, such common, every-day ideas about silence and solitude, yet how profound. Let us learn from Dom John. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 156.

[2] Ibid.

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 7, 2017

cloud of unknowing, quote

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

I have read a number of books on prayer, and I even have The Cloud of Unknowing on my bookshelf. Alas, I have not gotten around to it yet. That book is still on my list of books that I plan on reading. Someday.

Perhaps I will move this book up on the long list. It is certainly intriguing, from the little bits I have just read.

I especially focused on “How and Why Their Short Prayer Pierces Heaven.” Forceful, indeed. Here is a sample: “The eternity of God is his length; his love irs his breadth; his power is his height, and his wisdom is his depth. No wonder, then, that the soul which is so nearly conformed by grace to the image and likeness of God his maker is immediately heard by God.” [1]

Our author waxes eloquent about the Apostle Paul, and how he describes with great economy the practice of prayer. “As Saint Paul teaches; not fully, but in some way and to some degree, as is proper to this work.” [2]

Somehow, I have lost the elegance of certain types of prayer, over time. I would rather pray in plainspoken, straightforward language, rather than in fancy, ornate words, like spun glass or with delicate silks and threads. Even when urging the reader to confess sins, the author still comes across in a winsome, pleasing way.

Dear Lord, let my heart—all of our hearts—be softened and even tenderized by Your gracious hand. Come alongside of us, just as the author of The Cloud persistently watches and gives us pointers and encourages those who are trying with all their heart to pray. 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 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), 45.

[2] Ibid.

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 8, 2016

comfort-encourage-peace

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Feeling low? Dispirited? Needing support? Yeah, me, too.

What’s more, I feel disconnected, like I need someone to come alongside of me and sit with me for a while. That is the closest I can come to describing my feelings right now. It’s a sad and lonely sort of a feeling.

Yet, I have a job. I need to do stuff, every day. I have worship services to prepare, bible studies to work on and conduct, church business to administer, meetings to attend. Not to mention phone calls and personal calls to make. On top of everything else, I have all of this other stuff under the surface of my life. It is a complicated thing right now.

Gentle waiting for an elderly loved one to die can be difficult, indeed.

Dear Lord, gracious God, please encourage my loved ones right now, especially that elderly one who is approaching the end of life. We pray that the end might come gently, and that this loved one does not die alone. Dear Holy Comforter, come alongside of all those who grieve, even now. Provide Your comfort and joy, in the midst of weeping and mourning. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. In your loving and 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 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

In Which I Attend an Ordination

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 6, 2016

harvest candles.jpg

In Which I Attend an Ordination

A moving, soul-stirring service this afternoon! That’s what I attended.

Let me back up. My church is in the process of rejoining a denomination. I met Megan several months ago, and she is lovely. Not only as part-time associate pastor, but also as chaplain (her primary ministry). Today, she was finally ordained into ministry of Word and Sacrament, becoming the Reverend Megan Dalby-Jones.

Her journey of ministry—and toward ordination—took a number of years. Yet, it now has been affirmed and validated. And, praise God! Megan has joined the number of ordained clergy.

This reminded me of an article I read several days ago, on social media. I follow a few Evangelical websites, and I noticed a headline on of the sites that intrigued me. Accordingly, I opened the post and found a good article with several pointers about pastors. MALE pastors. Exclusively. (Forgive me, guys. But, I respectfully disagree.)

I am sorry. I have been in ministry for over ten years, most of that in chaplaincy. I have had colleagues from any number of faith traditions and expressions. Not only in various parts of Christianity, but also from other faith traditions. I felt nothing but support from them. I enjoyed collegial fellowship, but more importantly, I felt supported as I was chaplain at the hospital. I knew my fellow chaplains had my back, and I had theirs.

It did not matter whether the chaplains were men or women. Or, what faith tradition they came from. We all supported, encouraged and were there for each other—because there were some tough times. As well as good times. Nevertheless, there was collegiality, for sure.

That is what Megan was ordained into, today. Not only chaplaincy, at a wonderful hospital. But, collegiality among other ministers, who do a tough job. And, a good job. Sometimes, a difficult job. But also, a God-filled job. A God-honoring job, too.

Dear God, bless Megan. Not only today, but every day. Bless her in her work at the hospital, as well as her work and worship at her local church. Watch over her and her loved ones. And, grant her abundant support, encouragement, caring, and love from friends, family, colleagues and congregation. Dear God, in Your mercy, bless Megan today.

@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