Tag Archives: encouragement

Seeking Guidance with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 30, 2017

guidance, compass

Seeking Guidance with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King was an African-American Baptist minister, assassinated in 1968. He also was a civil rights leader, an eloquent preacher, and proponent of dignified social action with the creative weapons of love and non-violence. He believed in taking the biblical stories and transforming them into God’s prophetic voice for the present, turbulent times. [1]

I was especially struck by Dr. King’s statement: “I believe firmly that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, good will and justice.” [2] Love is a transforming power, indeed!

The creative weapons of love and non-violence were indeed innovative, attention-getting, and peaceful. These creative, innovative weapons were accepted by a widespread group of people, mostly people of color—but not all. In today’s parlance, a number of allies (white folks) stood with the civil rights movement.

God’s hand was clearly in the civil rights movement, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The prophetic voice of God was heard not only throughout this country, but around the world. Alas, today many people of color are still fearful. (Or, newly fearful.) This is because of several reasons, including the rise in xenophobia, racism, and generalized fear and anxiety. Many people find themselves fearful of the rise in xenophobia and racism, coupled with random acts of vandalism and violence.

I urge those who are frightened and anxious to come together, gather to pray and meet together in groups. If enough people gather together, and refuse to retaliate with hate and anxiety, there will be a strong, vital group expressing encouragement and love.

I close with this call for prayer from Dr. King: “We ask people everywhere to pray that God will guide us, pray that justice will be done and that righteousness will stand. And I think through these prayers we will be strengthened; it will make us feel the unity of the nation and the presence of Almighty God.” [3]

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), 279.

[2] Ibid, 280.

[3] Ibid, 281.

In Which I Serve at a Blue Christmas Service

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 14, 2016

blue-christmas-snowflake

In Which I Serve at a Blue Christmas Service

This evening was the Blue Christmas service at my sister church, Epiphany UCC in Chicago. Touching service. So effective, in many ways.

This quiet time in the church happened to occur on one of the coldest evenings that I’ve experienced for a long time. We had a small congregation. I do hope they received a blessing from the service.

It was a challenge to lead worship and to deliver several readings tonight, especially since my father-in-law died on Monday. Yes, I could relate to feelings of grief, fear and anxiety, anger—I could feel them, strongly.

There were two parts in the service that were particularly poignant: candle-lighting, and writing names on ornaments. Any members in the congregation who wished to, could come forward .

So, could we support grieving people? What about people who have lost a dear one? What about people who are overwhelmed by all the rushing of the holidays?  And, refugee families? They all need support and encouragement. i

Dear Lord, gracious God, bless all those who are hurting and grieving this evening. Give them comfort and support. Encourage all who mourn or are hungry or who are overwhelmed. Thank You for walking at our sides, for praying with us, and being Holy Comforter for those in need of comfort. 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

Gentle Prayers for Peace at a Home-Going

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 12, 2016

praying-hands-stained-glass

Gentle Prayers for Peace at a Home-Going

Today was a busy day. The Interfaith Gathering for Mutual Support and Prayer happened this evening and everything was very encouraging. Cold, frigid weather outside, but everyone was warm and supportive inside.

I praise God for such a good beginning. We will be meeting together again on the second Monday night of January, Jan. 9th.

Except—that was not all for today, or tonight.

My elderly relative died quietly tonight. In hospice for a number of days, this loved one drew the final breath and crossed into the loving presence of our God.

A good many thoughts and feelings are going through my mind and my heart.

Dear God, thank You for the supportive, encouraging meeting this evening. Dear God, thank You for the support and encouragement my elderly loved one received over these past few weeks. As I watch a new thing coming to life, in the beginning of a new interfaith idea, I also grieve over the gentle death of my loved one. Please comfort all who grieve this night. 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

Gentle Prayers, Remembering Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 31, 2016

lord-teach-us-to-pray

Gentle Prayers, Remembering Prayers

When I was small—four, I think—my grandmother moved in with us. I remember feeling badly that my sweet grandmother could not live on her own any longer. My mom and her siblings agreed that Grammy ought to come to live with us. Except—I did not really know how to pray. Yet.

I was the youngest of a large family. I remember Grammy trying vaguely to teach me to pray. Gentle prayers were a possibility, but Grammy was not in the kind of mental frame to teach anyone how to pray. Looking back on the next few years of my childhood with an adult’s point of view, I think they are hardly positive, considering the sad downhill journey of my grandmother.

Gentle prayers helped me, eventually. And, I know writing helped, too. After my Grammy died of complications from stroke, I remembered her with great fondness. I wished so much that we could have a relationship. Not a full one. Gentle prayers, remembering prayers kept those things about her in my mind

Here is a poem by Ray Bradbury. More of the same sadness.

O dear sweet dead, come home and welcome here.
Lost in the dark but always dear.
Do not wander,
Do not roam.
Dear ones,
Come home, Come home.

~Ray Bradbury

Remembering my loved ones. May they experience God’s comfort, encouragement and love. May those who have passed into God’s presence rest from their labors.

@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

Prayer and Blessing Animals

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 1, 2016

blessing-of-animals

Prayer and Blessing Animals

This is the third year I have blessed animals on the first Saturday of October. I love it! Praying for our furry friends. What a blessing to me.

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals. It is because of him that we do this “blessing of the animals.” Not that blessing of animals is not a good idea. On the contrary! Yes, it is a marvelous opportunity to come to a place where I have the opportunity to see unconditional love in action.

Why don’t I show others that kind of unconditional love?

Very few people in the world have been able to love with an unconditional love. When I read sections of the Bible, I am amazed at the violence, Yet, I am also amazed by the love in those pages.

I consider animals and their love for us to be exactly what Jesus would like us to do. Please, God, help me to love others with as much faithfulness, as much support and encouragement. 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

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 14, 2016

peace-i-leave-with-you-cross

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

This is a blog on prayer, and matters of prayer.

I seldom do this, but I would appreciate prayer for an older relative’s family, in another state. A recent death of the senior. I haven’t seen any of the family for years, yet I feel the loss.

Reflecting on John 14:27, it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus gives me peace. He offers me peace in troubled times, in grieving times. Plus, I can offer that peace to others. Yes, I can grieve. My friends and family can grieve. However, the Holy Spirit has promised to come alongside and comfort. Not as the world tries to distract, but real and genuine comfort and encouragement.

Gracious God, thank You for the peace and serenity that Jesus promised in this verse. Help me to bring some of that peace and comfort to my family. I pray that You hold all who loved my relative in Your everlasting arms of care and concern. Please encourage them even in the midst of their grief and sadness. 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 30, 2016

praying hands 2

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

This is an in-between time for me. In between summer and back to school. In between the summer vacation-time schedule and the busier fall schedule. In between, not quite this, and not quite that.

I met with a good friend of mine. I pray for her. She is in an uncomfortable in-between time, herself. Please, lift up my friend. Pray with me for her financial well-being.

One of my daughters is just beginning her school year. Such a busy time for her! I pray for my daughter as she embarks on this last year of school, with all the work that entails. Please pray with me, that she may have focus, yet not forget about fun.

I am concerned about a new friend. She is about to begin a new thing, and she needs continuing support, encouragement, and more prayers. Blessings on her! (And, more prayers.)

Last, I pray for a good friend who has a birthday! What wonderful things birthdays are. Beginning a whole new year, yet in the middle of life. What an opportunity to celebrate my dear friend. God, bless my friend richly! Not only today, but all year long, in every aspect of life.

And, bless my husband. Watch over him, and help him at his work. Encourage him in his personal life. Give us both enjoyment as he and I live life. Help us live life to the fullest, as we are in the middle of things. Yet, just at the jumping off point.

Dear God, no matter where we are in life, whether at the beginning, at an ending, or in the middle, listen to us. Dear God, 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er