Tag Archives: faithfulness

Prayer: An Expression of Hope

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 9, 2018

HOPE scrabble

Prayer: An Expression of Hope

Depression, fear, worry, anxiety. When these things creep into my life, I feel like I am suddenly walking through chest-high water. It can be so difficult to get through a day, even an hour. I have friends and relatives who deal with depression and anxiety, too. Yes, it can be more than a challenge to keep one’s head above water.

When Father Nouwen quoted from Bertold Brecht, I felt the words deep inside. Because—sometimes I feel that way. Not as much as before, but still, sometimes. Here is the quote:

“As it is, it will stay/What we want will never come.” [1]

Life without prayer, life without hope—that is what those words reflected inside of me. Father Nouwen said, “If you believe this way, life stands still. Spiritually, you are dead. There can be life and there can be movement only when you no longer accept things as they are now, and you look ahead toward that which is not yet.” [2]

That is hope. That is what can be, if we believe in prayer. Although, prayer seems to be more about asking than about hoping.

When I have hope somewhere inside of me (no matter how deep it is), I have more ability to go forward. I have dragged myself along when I have been in deep depression, or filled with fear or anxiety. At times, it has been a difficult journey. (Like walking through chest-high water.. But, I repeat myself.)

Thank God I know that God always has ears wide open to my cries, and arms ready to receive me when I stumble and fall into them. Dear Lord, help me to have hope. Hope in prayer, and hope in You and Your faithfulness. Help me to believe, to hope, and to pray more easily.

Thanks, God.

@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, 1972), 39.

[2] Ibid.

Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 9, 2017

fasting - empty plate

 

Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Originally an Anglican priest, Cardinal Newman found comfort in many spiritual disciplines—including fasting. As Richard Foster writes in his definition, Newman is intimately engaged with scripture. It shows, too.

I was struck by the following excerpt from his writing: “Even now, Angels are especially sent to those who thus seek God. Not Daniel only, but Elijah too, was, during his fast, strengthened by an Angel; an Angel appeared to Cornelius, while he was fasting, and in prayer.” [1] I can’t fast like I used to, years ago. (Sorry about that, Lord.) But—was God watching over me when I fasted? What a point to ponder.

Jesus seems to imply that prayer is somehow augmented by fasting, too. When someone prays AND fasts, is there an additional layer of strength and blessing granted to the one who does both of these things? Fasts and prays? It certainly seems so. I am intrigued to think of the Devil getting scared of people who fast! Amazing thought.

Gracious God, thank You for giving us the discipline of fasting, as well as the scriptures that talk about fasting. What an idea, that someone can fast from different things, not only from food. Show me how to fast like this, Lord. Grant us faithfulness and grace in order to fast.

@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), 63.

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

A Look Back at 2014, in matterofprayer

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, December 31, 2014

winter snowflakes

A Look Back at 2014, in matterofprayer

Thanks to all my dear readers! I appreciate you and your faithfulness.

I know that it helps to check the numbers from time to time. I’ve been following the daily readership on this blog, but it also helps to look at the big picture—the macro view. Just to let all my dear readers know, here are several facts and figures on matterofprayer.

In 2014, this blog was viewed about 1,700 times. That’s a lot of views! My viewing audience per day—on the average—ranged from between the low teens to the mid twenties. The busiest day of the year turned out to be November 29th, with 37 views.

Two representative posts with a high number of views were Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer, posted July 2, 2014, and Prayer—and Walking the Labyrinth, posted September 29, 2014.

How did people find my blog? People came from a large number of different website, but the top referring sites were Facebook, Twitter, and dailyoffice.org. (Thanks for including matterofprayer in the blogroll, Josh!)

The sands of the hourglass are running out. 2014 is quickly slipping away. But before it completely disappears, I do have a few things to say. I have learned so much through blogging regularly this year. I was fairly quick to come up with writing or an article before 2014 started, but now? Even more so.

I am not sure whether you are familiar with my sister blog, A Year of Being Kind. I started this second blog at the beginning of January 2014. Yes, I succeeded in writing every day. Quite an accomplishment. I have been even more encouraged by the response to my service, my being helpful and kind. So, I am going to continue, except in a slightly different vein.

I posted to matterofprayer about once a week to every ten days throughout 2014, Starting tomorrow, January 1st, I will shift the main focus back to matterofprayer. I’m making an addition to the name, too: matterofprayer: a year of everyday prayers.

So, this will be my primary blog! God willing, I will see what God has in store for me in 2015, as far as prayer is concerned. I wish my dear readers the very best. And, a happy, healthy and blessed new year.

@chaplaineliza

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

Grace and Peace and Hugs

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, August 29, 2014

PRAY praying for you

Grace and Peace and Hugs

Praying for others can be wishing them grace and peace. People who are in your house, or next door. People who are across town or across the country. People you are mad at, or feeling sad about. People you don’t even know.

Yes, when we intercede for each other, we have the opportunity to ask God to bless others. Wish them grace and peace. “Grace” is a typical Greek greeting, and “peace” (or shalom) is a Jewish blessing and greeting. Grace also has the idea of unmerited favor wrapped up in it. Peace/shalom is not only the general concept of harmony, concord, quiet and tranquility, but it also holds a Jewish component. The idea of wholeness and harmoniousness. The Apostle Paul coined a new phrase as he started greeting people in his letters with these two words.

My, that’s a huge deal to be wrapped up in two little words.

I wanted to add the “hugs” part. Grace, peace and hugs. When the Apostle Paul was signing off, he sometimes would say a phrase like “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” (from Philippians 4:21) This is the English translation. In the original Greek, Paul’s readers would read ‘aspazomai.’ That means even more than “greet.” That word means to enfold in one’s arms, even to welcome and embrace each other.

So when we pray for each other, we can wish each other grace, peace and hugs. What a wonderful expression, what a marvelous prayer. And, what a nurturing, encouraging way to act toward one another, too.

Let’s pray! Dear Lord, Gracious God, we thank You for the Apostle Paul’s words, written in the New Testament. Thank You for his faithfulness and earnest prayers for all the saints. Dear God, as each of us is encouraged to pray for one another, help us remember Paul’s excellent example. We can wish each other grace, peace and hugs! And You can embrace each of us with Your everlasting arms of comfort and care, too. In Your name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink:

Got Some Serenity!

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, May 07, 2014

God handling my problems

Got Some Serenity!

Yup. I don’t know for sure how I got it, but I got me some serenity. Praise God!

I was being a bit humorous there, but my point is clear. Crystal clear. I have some serenity in my prayer life, and certain other areas of my life, as well. I don’t know how long it will last. But I say thanks for God’s bountiful mercy! And for faithfulness and love!

God regularly surprises me. How did I get into this position, working with these dear people? God’s providence, that’s all I can say. If anyone had told me that I would be sitting here at this pastor’s desk, three months ago, I would have thought they were pulling my leg. But God knew differently. And what did I do? I suited up. I showed up. I stepped up to the plate. And what did God do? God showed up, too!

That’s the most important thing of all. God is with me. I mean it! God. Is. With. Me. And the second most important thing? Some loving, caring people are praying for me! How awesome is that?

I’ll be preaching on Psalm 23 and John 10 this Sunday. I still haven’t mapped out the whole sermon yet, but one of the important points to me is that God is always with us. Always by our sides. Whether the Shepherd from Psalm 23 or the Shepherd from John 10, I don’t need to worry or be concerned. No need to be anxious, either. Even when I’m going through some dark valley or some scary circumstance, I am not alone. And God has promised! Whether I’m sleeping, whether I’m awake. No matter what.

Can I hear an amen??

Let’s pray. Dear Shepherd, Gracious God, thank You for Your good and loving promises! Thanks for giving them to me, and to everyone who seeks after You. You created us, You love us, You seek us out when we stray—just like sheep. Help me to stay close by Your side, no matter what. Thank You! In Your warm and comforting Name we pray, Amen!

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Freedom From Fear

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 11, 2014

crocuses in Portland

crocuses in Portland

Freedom from Fear

Among other things, I’m a mom. Although I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, I have begotten four children. I go through cycles where I feel the urge to pray for other things and other people. However, sometimes God instructs me to pray specifically for my children. During the past few weeks, I felt that instruction. So, I did—on a fairly regular basis.

I know there are many ways to pray for loved ones. However, I have been using a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent for years when I pray for my children. On and off, I mean. I do not hold myself up as any paragon of prayer, by any means. (Not like Stormie! And not like my former prayer partner, Zhou Hui, either! Both are awesome women of prayer.)

Today, I was reminded of a chapter in this book where Stormie gives some pointers on how to pray against fear in our children’s lives. Some days ago, I prayed through this chapter. I petitioned God on my children’s behalf, asking among other things that God give them wisdom from above, protect them from evil influences, and bless them in all they do. I prayed for this wonderful prayer of Stormie’s to be applicable in my husband’s life and in mine, too.

Today, I remembered the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real, and how fear could blindside me when I least expected it. I remembered that I had prayed to be free from fear. Today, this freedom from fear touched me, too, in a very deep way. Honestly, I have not had the easiest last few months. Some significant challenges have come my way. But, I have met them with the help of God, the love of my family, the help and fellowship from my friends, prayer, and the readings in some very helpful books.

I quote again one of my all-time favorite hymns—thanks for God’s promise from the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed/For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.”  These words give me comfort, and give me a place to run to. My God has promised not to leave me, nor forsake me. Whether from the Hebrew Scriptures or from the New Testament, God’s promises will not fail. I don’t need to fear. And neither do my children.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your Word. Thanks for Your promise to hear us and deliver us from all of our fears. God, forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for running away from all Your blessings. Show me the way to You, God, so that I may take my fears and anxieties to You and receive freedom from fear. Remembering Your goodness and faithfulness to me and my family, new every morning, Amen.

@chaplaineliza