Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 20, 2015
What About Tomorrow? And Prayer?
Today I am looking at the last section of a brief prayer form of St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen. This part of the examination is a bit different for me, especially since I have been trying to live by the credo “One Day at a Time.” For years.
I really have tried to live each day, in the “now.” I’ve been trying not to get lost wandering in yesterday, and not to get ahead of myself by immersing myself in tomorrow. That’s exactly what our Lord Jesus told us to do at the end of the sixth chapter of Matthew. Each day has concerns of its own; or, as the Revised Standard Version says in verse 34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”
St. Ignatius has a little different view of what I ought to do, however. The last section of his Daily Examen tells me to look forward to tomorrow. Plan for the day. Here’s the quote from the Ignatian prayer website:
“5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.” 
It’s always beneficial to ask for God’s guidance. No matter what. And, to pray? Develop my relationship with God further? That can only help me.
Thanks, God, for giving me a hand, and helping me out.
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Tagged ask God, beneficial, brief prayer, Daily Examen, do not be anxious, feelings, God's guidance, in tomorrow, light, Mathew 6:34, my relationship, St. Ignatius, tomorrow, wandering in yesterday
matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 16, 2013
Advent calendars are wonderful. Great ways to show small children, visually, how many days have to pass before Christmas comes. I have used Advent calendars in my house for years. They are pretty and useful. In years past, the young people here have really appreciated the yearly calendar. But now, my two younger children are in their late teens. Yes, I got an Advent calendar, but my 19 year old did not want to open any windows (this year, at least). And my 16 year old is opening windows in the calendar, but is not particularly excited about it.
What do I do when some Advent activity or small tradition of Christmas is left behind? How will I feel? Will my unrealistic expectations be dashed? What then?
This is where prayer comes in. Prayer can be calming. Prayer can be life-saving. I can pour out my disappointment to God in prayer, and get some relief. (some release, too!) I know, intellectually, that my children are growing and changing. As each new year passes and each December proceeds toward Christmas, I need to grow and change, too. My prayer life helps me come to terms with that part.
God knows our disappointment and fear, as well as our anxiety, anger and distress. God is familiar with our joy, excitement, and laughter, too. These are God-given expressions, meant to express our feelings, desires and the innermost cries of our hearts. (chuckles, too!) God calls us to pray, to communicate, to curl up alongside and have a heart-to-heart talk. Just what I need, so often.
Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for such wonderful ideas as Advent calendars! But help me come to terms with facts: my younger children are growing beyond such things. I know You can bring me—You can bring us—to fresh understandings of the Advent season. Thank You for this time of preparation. Prepare our hearts to receive You. Amen!
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Tagged activity, Advent, Advent calendar, anger, anxiety, calming, chuckles, desires, distress, expectation, expressions, feelings, God, innermost, joy, laughter, pray, prayer, prepare, tradition, waiting, what I need, wonderful
matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Sometimes, God does not seem very close to me at all. I realize I often rely on my faulty feelings and errant emotions. But God, why is it that I don’t feel You by my side, especially when I really need You?
I did get sort-of-an-answer earlier this week, as I read my devotional book. (on prayer) Written by a Methodist elder, James Howell said, “What we bring to God is not great holiness and wisdom, but brokenness and profound need. . . . Our weakness is not something to be corrected, but becomes the very crucible in which intimacy with God is established.”
I sort-of understand where Howell is going, with this thought. My brokenness and my feelings of being dreadfully alone do not keep me from God. God holds arms open wide, no matter what. God wants intimacy with me. The humorous saying goes something like this: “If someone is far away from God, who moved?” Just so, I need to continue to come to God with whatever is going on in my life, and not shy away.
God intimately knows all about my various weaknesses. God’s strength can bear me up when I fall on my face, or get discouraged, or one or two of the most ridiculous words out of my mouth. It is in these times of dark despair that I am invited into God’s own presence. And the invitation is never withdrawn. Thanks be to God!
Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for deep words that James Howell wrote. Whether a few days ago, or years in the past, it doesn’t matter to You. You love me anyway! Help me to celebrate my personal weakness, God. You can turn it around. You have the loving care to bring my wandering-minstrel-mind closer to You. Help me want to stay in Your arms. God in Your mercy, hear our prayers. Thanks!
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