Tag Archives: fear

Peace and a Conference

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 19, 2016

IMG_0355

Peace and a Conference

I’ve been concentrating on peace for some time. Peace, personal definitions of peace, and harmony amid diversity. The last few days I spent at our state conference celebration in my denomination. I’ve been continuing the conversation of peace, just as I’ve tried to do for the past few months.

It is fascinating to see how peace (or, the lack of peace) can affect different individuals. I have not had specific discussions with people since last weekend, since the shooting in Orlando. I haven’t wished to intrude on people’s grief. However, I would like to offer an alternative to the fear and anxiety that many people feel.

The conference I just attended had diverse people from all over the state. Plus, the keynote speaker had returned from Orlando the day before speaking before the assembled conference. What an opportunity to mingle with many different people. What a chance to hear different viewpoints and see a variety of different ways of dealing with adversity and grief.

However, the conference celebration was not all grieving and adversity. Heavens, no! There was a good deal of celebrating and worship, besides.

What kind of personal definition of peace could people who attended the conference give? I suspect these personal definitions of peace are as individual as each person who gave them.

A wonderful opportunity to gather together, so much diversity in one place. God willing, help each of us as we scatter from the gathering downstate. Each of us can continue the conversation of peace. Please God, we all can do something helpful. Say something encouraging. Be something hopeful.

What is peace to you? What is your personal definition of peace? Please God, each of us has the opportunity to say something, do something, and be something. We all can #PursuePEACE in our own ways.

@chaplaineliza

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

Pray for a World Emancipated from Violence

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 4, 2016

peace world free

Pray for a World Emancipated from Violence

Imagine a world of peace. That was what our prayer from The Oxford Book of Prayer spoke of today.

Good overcoming evil? Good triumphing over the evil perpetrated by individuals, as well as angry mobs, or fearsome armies? Oh, to live in such a wonderful place. To be able to trust people openly, on a regular basis! That would be an amazing experience.

Love overcoming hatred? When I think of all of the twisted ways in which one group of people hates another, I feel physically ill. I watched an older television program—a science fiction show, with aliens, where one alien race hated the guts of another alien race. And, how could this be alleviated, much less eradicated?

And, then, to have a world emancipated from violence? Violence, horror, despicable behavior of every imaginable kind? The thought of this causes me to tremble. Tremble with fear and deep sorrow, because I am afraid it will never, ever happen while this earth exists.

Yes, this prayer asks God for such things as no more fear, no more injustice. This prayer wishes to have selfishness evaporate, along with the suffering that accompanies it. [1]

Dear Lord, this prayer for World Peace zeros in on so many worthwhile requests. Please, gracious God, bring more peace, more harmony. Lower anxiety and fear. Help individuals and groups all over the world to live together, converse together, eat together. And, not kill each other. Gracious, peace-loving God, hear us, we pray.

@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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 78-79.

In Which I Am Made in the Image of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 29, 2016

image of God

In Which I Am Made in the Image of God

Another birthday is drawing near. Another year older, and another day of reflection. (I find that’s what I tend to do on my birthdays now.)

Also, another day to remember how it was. Remember back to when I was a child, and then an adolescent. I was terribly self-conscious. I had low self-esteem. The youngest in my family, I was on my own pretty much, once I got into school. So, once again on the familiar hamster wheel of self-doubt, second-guessing, and all the uncertainty of adolescence.

I reached out for the life preserver that God provided. (Thanks, God!) That helped a great deal, but I still was self-conscious. Still had low self-esteem. (They didn’t go away, although they were lessened.) Thank God, they are still diminishing.

I have come to learn that—just as with each other person on the face of the earth—I am created in the image of God. Even though I might be looking at a mirror, I can see the reflection of the glory of God! And, my reflected self in the silvery mirror’s face shines brighter with Your image. Your Word says so. I’m not imagining it.

Yes, I do get disheartened from time to time. Yes, I still can beat myself up, internally, forgetting I am made in Your image. Dear Lord, forgive me. I can get paralyzed with anxiety and fear, too, even though I know—intellectually—that You know me thoroughly. You know me inside and out, and You still love me. You know me far better than I know myself. As the psalmist says, such knowledge is far too wonderful for me.

All I can say is, thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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

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

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

Prayer, Affection, and Love

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, January 5, 2016

sun behind clouds over water

Prayer, Affection, and Love

Relationships are a tricky thing. On my own, I am separated from other people, and separated especially from those close to me. My husband, my family, my dear friends. Not to mention acquaintances and those I meet. We are all isolated, one from another.

I don’t care whether you think the separation comes from fear, anxiety, anger, or coldness. Apathy, or indifference. That isolation can also be called sin. God provides a remedy for that separation. God encourages togetherness, affection, caring, and love. Thank You, God.

Dear Lord, I know I have a problem with sin. With separation and isolation from You (vertically) and from others (horizontally). Thank You for the possibility for love. Love from You, and love from others. Help me to care for others, especially for my dear ones. Allow each of us to be warm and affectionate in our relationships, instead of cold, heartless, apathetic and uninterested. Please, Lord, support each of us in our commitment to others, and give each one a portion of Your endless, abundant love. In Jesus’s precious, transformative name, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

This Prince of Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Prince of Peace Jesus Isa 9-6

This Prince of Peace

The world today is not a peaceful place. Definitely not peaceful.

I live in the Chicago area. There is definitely a lack of peace here, too.

I crave peace. Calm. Gentleness, kindness, love, joy. Lord God, peace seems so out of reach, both corporally as well as individually. Yet, there is good news. Good news of great joy, which was given for all people.

God came to earth at Christmas. It was not only Love that came down at Christmas, but also the Prince of Peace came into this world. God reconciled the fallen, hateful world to Godself, in a vertical direction. One of the compilers of this book of December meditations writes, “Where God comes in love to human beings and unites with them, there peace is made between God and humankind and among people.” [1]

But, wait. That’s not all. God also overcame the enmity one person has with another. One group with another, one country with another. “Come and see how God, out of pure love, has become our brother and wants to reconcile us with each other.” [2]

Now there is the possibility of peace, love, and togetherness, instead of fear, hatred, and isolation. Prince of Peace, You entered into the world to show us love, in the most personal and vulnerable way possible. All that I can say is thank You, Jesus.

@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

[1] God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr., compiled and edited, Jana Riess (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), 74.

[2] Ibid.

Everyone is God’s Beloved

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 19, 2015

God loves you, nothing can change that

Everyone is God’s Beloved

When I think about my fear, my anxiety, my insecurity, my anger at myself and at others, what can possibly take those negative feelings away? God. More specifically, God’s love. And, knowing that God loves me. Me, myself. Exactly the way I am. I don’t have to change. I don’t need to become something different. God loves me exactly the way I am right now.

Once I start getting used to this earthshaking idea (Imagine—God loves me! I am God’s beloved!), I can start to explore the idea that God also loves other people. Perhaps just as much as God loves me.

Can God really and truly love everyone? Can each person be beloved by God?

That’s what Henri Nouwen says, in the reading for Saturday. “ … When you discover yourself as being the beloved son or daughter of God, you suddenly have new eyes to see the belovedness of other people.[1]

The Advent Action for Saturday is: “Make a list of the blessings and benefits that have been given to you by God, your Savior. Take a few minutes today to give thanks for one of these undeserved blessings. If possible, pass this blessing on to others.” [2] What a marvelous way to express this feeling of being God’s beloved.

Dear Lord, loving God, thank You for Your love. You are so generous with Your love, mercy and kindness. You shower me with undeserved blessings each and every day. What’s more, I am not even aware of many of these blessings. Forgive me for being so oblivious. And, thank You for being willing to overlook these flaws and faults. Thank You so much for loving me.

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 42.

[2] Ibid, 43.

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 20, 2015

believe that good things will happen

Spiritual People, Spiritual Choices

Ah. Teaching myself to make better choices.

The daily meditation book, Keep It Simple, has a provocative reading today. “Life is about choice. To be spiritual people, we must make spiritual choices. Honesty is a spiritual choice. And working the Steps is a spiritual choice.” [1]

Living one day at a time, I am breaking life down into manageable bite-sized pieces, it’s true. But teaching myself to make better choices? A day at a time? That’s taking one-day-at-a-time living to the next level.

I have the option to make good choices today. Healthy choices? Yes. Safe choices? Yes. Beneficial and loving choices? Yes, yes. All of these are possible to me, now that I am working a Twelve Step program. I no longer am a slave to the unmanageability of life, to the madness and maelstrom of a life full of fear, anxiety, frustration and depression.

As I walk with my loving Higher Power, I have the ability to choose spiritual choices. To choose serenity and peace, as much as I am able. I have the option to keep my side of the spiritual street clean, too. And, as I continue to walk with God as I understand God, I’ll have better and more loving relationships: with God, and with others around me.

All in all, that sounds like a pretty good choice to me. A spiritual choice. So help me, God.

@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

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 20 reading.

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Virgin Mary praying mosaic

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

I’ve been hesitant to dip my toe into the imaginative style of prayer that St. Ignatius recommends in the Spiritual Exercises. This time, that is. Ordinarily, I find Ignatian prayer and meditation exciting, exhilarating, even intriguing. I appreciate using the abilities of my senses to assist in my prayer times.

But—there was something about the passage Margaret Silf chose for the first passage. The Annunciation, from the first chapter of Luke. That made me hesitate, for several days.

I finally pulled up my figurative-bootstraps and waded into the passage. That’s what it felt like, truly. At first.

I read it through, relatively slowly, three times. The first time, just to get a handle on what I was reading. The second time, to particularly notice things. Trying to imaging the setting, the house, the dusty road outside the door. Mary, a teenage girl, and her being frightened, startled. And the third time—the angel. I was arrested by the angel. The special effects in my mind must have been great, because I saw the angel as vaguely masculine but with a body of light. Corporeal, but filled with light. Or generating light from within. So awe-inspiring, and frightening.

I realized I was peeking into the main room from the adjacent room (a kitchen?). I saw the conversation between Mary and the angel, and I could sense Mary’s anxiety and fear. Yet, as the angel spoke of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth (which is my name, I think in retrospect), I feel a sudden kinship with Mary’s cousin. I don’t believe I ever have, before.

That’s all I got for today. That’s what the passage held for me. That’s a lot, too.

Let’s pray. Dear Mighty One, overshadowing all of Your children, You are loving and You see everything. You want each of us to say “I am the servant of the Lord,” don’t You? Help me to be willing to say that, on a regular basis. Thank You for the assistance Your Spirit gives to me, each day. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of us as we pray.

@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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Praying When Scared Silly

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, July 10, 2014

don't worry about tomorrow--trust

Praying When Scared Silly

I had an oral surgery procedure earlier this week. Yes, most of my friends and even my husband let me know that this extraction was nothing to worry about. Piece of cake! Even though there was some infection around the base of the tooth, it wasn’t complicated. Gee, when I went to see my oral surgeon last week, even he told me it was basic and routine.

So, why was I scared to death?

I know, I know. My husband tried to allay my fears. (He is fearful of dental procedures, himself.) He told me how far advanced dentistry has come, since he and I were small. He told me about the great staff in the oral surgeon’s office, and how our surgeon was a master at his craft.

But I was still shaking. Frightened, on a deep, fundamental level.

As I said in my other blog (A Year of Being Kind), I did not take care of my teeth when I was small. I also ate a lot of sweets. So, by the time I hit kindergarten, I had a number of small cavities in my teeth. I would not sit still for the dentist my parents used. So, my parents sent me to a special dentist. He was special, all right! He was downright cruel. He held my jaw in a deathgrip, and had the most piercing eyes of anyone I had ever seen in real life. Through the sheer force of his will, plus a healthy dose of sadism, he was able to fill the cavities.

He also scarred me for life. However, for that reason, I understood where I could go for help. I fled to the fellowship of other believers in prayer. I spoke up about my dental anxiety, and asked for prayer. Nay, even begged for prayer.

Yes, my prayers for my anxiety and fear did have more than a touch of the foxhole prayer in them. True enough. And I think God was right there with me. Helping me. Allaying my fears, all the time I was in the dentist’s chair for that procedure. Yes, I used breathing. Mindfulness practices. Relaxation techniques. And, I was surprised. They did indeed work.

Now that I’m on the other side of that procedure, I feel much better about things. I would even have significantly less fear, if I needed to have more oral surgery. (But that is not an invitation. Please, God, NO more. At least, not for a long time!)

And, I would like to send out sincere thanks and praise for everyone who prayed for me. Let’s pray right now. Dear Lord, Gracious God, You are always with me. Even through the dark valley, You stay right by my side. Even under the bright lights of a surgical procedure, You allay my fears. Thank You for your constant presence. Thank You for being right next to me, even when it seems like You are so far away. In gratitude and praise, amen!

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net