Tag Archives: everlasting arms

Prayer of Little Faith…

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 31, 2018

bad days, good days, every day

Prayer of Little Faith…

Ouch. Really.

Ouch, Father Nouwen! You hit a little too close to the bone. I am afraid I might make prayers of little faith, every now and then. Maybe even more often than that.

Father Nouwen’s description of a prayer of little faith is quite telling. Less on the spiritual side, and heavy on the concrete. Almost like a person is really skeptical of “getting” anything in prayer, or that they expect too much on the material end of things.

I realize that people go through stages like this, especially when they have recently been introduced to Christian faith. However, what I have understood for decades is that Christianity is a relationship. I don’t walk up to God, bold as brass, like the younger son in the parable of the Prodigal, and demand stuff like I am entitled to it. And, heaven forbid that I shouldn’t be able to get any old thing I ask for. (At least, I dearly hope I am not like this. If I am, God, forgive me…)

As Father Nouwen says, “People of little faith pray like children who want a present from Santa Claus but who are so frightened of the “Holy Man” that they run away as soon as they have their hands on the package…All the attention is on the gift and none on the one who gives it.” [1] Oh, isn’t that the truth!

We are reminded that the prayer of little faith is a prayer of no hope, a prayer of despair. Even, “The prayer of little faith is carefully reckoned, even stingy, and is upset by every risk.” [2] Bullseye! I hide my head in shame, fear, and trembling. Why on earth we have been fingered, I have no idea. Perhaps it is because we sin regularly. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” [3]

Dear Lord, gracious God, forgive my prayers of little faith. I want to seek after You with my whole heart. Thank You for loving me—loving us, and holding all of us in Your everlasting arms of comfort and care. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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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), 70.

[2] Ibid, 71.

[3] “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” (NETTLETON). Words by Robert Robinson, 1735-1790.

Fear Knocks. Prayer Answers.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, January 9, 2016

do not fear, for I am with you

Fear Knocks. Prayer Answers.

Fear and anxiety can be paralyzing. What’s more, fear and anxiety can creep up on me in the most unexpected ways, at the worst possible times.

It’s not that I was an awfully fearful and anxious child. Just sometimes. (Me as a sad and lonely child is closer to the mark. But, I’m not talking about that, today. Maybe on another day, in another post.)

What has helped me is prayer. And, getting among friendly, kind, like-minded people. Seriously, I am helped by prayer, reading the Bible and other helpful literature, getting together in groups with other friends—all of these assist me to shed fear and anxiety.

Dear Lord, gracious God, You have given me power, love and a sound mind. Plus, You lessen my fear and anxiety. You are the Source of my strength and an ever present help in times of trouble or dismay. Thank You for all of that, too. I know—so well—that fear is a big bruiser of an emotion, but thanks to You and Your everlasting arms of comfort and support, You can overcome any awful, crippling effects of fear, anxiety, trauma, grief, and discouragement.

I pray that You will guard around us. Protect us with Your heavenly messengers, and encourage us to follow You all the days of our lives. 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

God, Reveal Your Presence. Please.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 19, 2015

cherry blossom path

God, Reveal Your Presence. Please.

It has been a week. It seems like almost every day in this past week has had 30 hours crammed into it, instead of just 24.

I opened to the page set aside for this week in my trusty liturgical lectionary prayer book, and I saw the readings for today. Yes, great readings! I used two of them in my sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, this morning.

However, what caught my eye and impressed itself upon my heart was the brief opening prayer for this week’s meditations. “Come now and reveal Your presence to me as I make myself present to You.”

I know these probably sound like/are first-world problems, but my life has been filled with them all, this past week.

I had a bunch of days where my hours were jam-packed, crammed with things to do. Moreover, in the middle of the week, I had stomach flu. (I blogged about it.) So, I found myself running to keep up even more frantically. My home land line has periodically been out of service, so no Internet connection at home. (Hello, friendly neighborhood coffee place!) Plus, someone cancelled at the last minute before a big presentation. I had to go to Plan B—and I wasn’t quite sure what Plan B was until just the night before. Added to everything else, on Thursday night I heard about the recent death of a friend. Last weekend.

Oh, my dear, loving God, how I need Your presence! I needed it before, and I want it, right now! Help me to be present to You. (And some patience would not go amiss, either.)

I am afraid. Uncertain, anxious, angry, hesitant, even forgetful. All in the space of five minutes, even. I need Your everlasting arms around me. Please, Lord. Reveal Your presence to me.

Please. And, thank You. 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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Treasure in Clay Jars—So Fragile.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 16, 2015

clay jars 2 Cor 4-7

Treasure in Clay Jars—So Fragile.

We have a treasure within our fragile, frail bodies. In clay jars. Paul says so, in the second letter to the believers in Corinth.

This extraordinary power comes from God, not from us. This power is available to me, ready to be tapped. Any time I need it. Whenever I am going through traumatic situations or heart-rending challenges, this heavenly yet paradoxical treasure is shining, waiting. Ready for me to access the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.

I know that Paul says “we are afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.” But—what about someone I know? Or, rather, knew? Someone, who was a faithful worker in God’s vineyard for years. This dear one shared of that treasure within with compassion, kindness, and God’s nurture. This dear friend communicated the gracious and loving word of God’s good news and hope to so many. But, died by suicide recently. What about this dear one?

I believe God is crying right now. I believe God is cradling this dear one in a heavenly embrace right now. I believe God’s everlasting arms of comfort and care are surrounding all those who are mourning right now. Including me.

Dear Lord, gracious God, be with all who mourn today. Not only those who mourn the passing of this particular dear one, but with all who mourn–everywhere. Those in traumatic grief over sudden, accidental death. Those in complicated grief over death made even more difficult by any number of emotional situations. Those conflicted by the grief at the end of a long illness who also breathe a prayer, “at last!” Dear God, You know those who mourn today, and I lift each of them to You. I lift each one who mourns someone who died by their own hand, too. Surround each one with Your support and encouragement. Dear Holy Comforter, help each grieving one who has no words, or is beyond words. Send Your assistance to each, in ways that You know will assist them in their grieving and reframing of their lives. In Your mercy, O Lord, I earnestly 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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 11, 2015

sheep on a hill

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Those words from the hymn printed in the Scottish Psalter move me deeply. And today, when they were printed for me to read in the liturgical daily prayer book, I zeroed in on one particular verse. Or rather, a portion of a verse: “Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale/Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me.”

No matter what, God is with me. I have dealt with some difficulties in my life. Yet, God remains there, to help.

I have had several acquaintances die in the past number of weeks. Recently, I talked with one good friend of mine who just had a loved one die. I asked how the rest of the family was doing as they dealt with the passing, and got filled in. I’ve been privileged to talk with those who mourn quite a number of times in the past, so I sometimes recognize the difficulties in speaking of a recent death. The death of my friend’s loved one was particularly drawn out, and particularly difficult.

God can be with us, holding us in God’s everlasting arms of care and concern. I believe this. Yet, sometimes, I don’t feel God, anywhere.

Where are You, God? I’m scared, and I’m alone. Plus, I don’t know what to do or where to go. What now?

It’s sort of like the sun. Even though the sun is behind dark clouds, I know the sun is still there. Even though I can’t see the sun, I can still feel its heat, still see its faint light.

Even though the weather here in the Chicago area was horrible on Thursday, I still knew the sun was there. Through the dark clouds, even though it was pouring rain most of the day, I was thankful that the sun was a constant in my life, and the lives of the others. Just like God, even though I am not always able to see—even sense—God.

Gracious God, thank You for everything You’ve given us. The knowledge and awareness of Your presence with us, even when You are hidden. You are faithful, and You are there to help. Thank You, God. In Your grace and mercy I pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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 .