Tag Archives: forgive me

Prayer: Tears and Anguish

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 16, 2019

rain on window, tree

Prayer: Tears and Anguish

Father Gallagher did not shy away from presenting strong, deep emotions in this book. In the very first chapter, the very first personal story he brings to us relate some of these gut-wrenching emotions.

We hear more from K., a woman who suffered from a stroke some years ago. She had entered into a regular practice of Ignatian prayer and meditation. While on a retreat, she felt drawn to the passion and death of Jesus. She sat with that image, in that space, for hours. She was filled with compassion and terror as she tried to comfort Jesus in His passion. “She desires ‘to tell Him I was there for Him and that I would not leave Him alone.’ K. draws close to Jesus as she prays.” [1]

Her retreat director gently pointed out perhaps God was bringing together the experience of Jesus during His passion and death and her own, as she had experienced years before in her stroke and the long-term recovery from it.

K. then relates her return to prayer, and “scenes of my hospital stay after my stroke so many years before alternated with scenes of Jesus’ passion and death….I cried inconsolably for hours—seventeen years’ worth of tears. God was truly embracing me tightly and saying, ‘Do not be afraid even of this. I am holding you tightly and nothing can hurt you.’” [2]

How intense is this? In this time of prayer, K. allowed God to touch her deeply, in such a significant hurting place. Ever since her stroke, she had placed a certain internal part of herself at a distance from God. For years, even though she had a regular practice of prayer and meditation, K. had erected an internal barrier for protection.

I am so struck by this. What internal barriers have I erected? What messages of God do I ignore? Or, drown out? I can do this in so many ways. Work, relationships, activities, even busy-ness. Any or all of these can be distractions or excuses for allowing God into my life. Forgive me, dear Lord. Help me to desire You, to listen for Your voice and read Your Word. Thank You for loving me, and for drawing me close to You—even when I hold myself at a distance and erect barriers between You and me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayers.

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] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 20.

[2] Ibid, 21.

Prayer, Hoping for a New World…

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 12, 2018

Rev 21-5 all things new

Prayer, Hoping for a New World…

Resentment. Oh, how pervasive it is!

Resentment, frustration, cynicism. And finally, resignation. What’s the use? What good will mere praying do? The structures of this fallen, imperfect world certainly seem to be set in stone. I’ll never be able to budge those structures, or practices, or attitudes, or groups. “Oh, well,” I say to myself, with a melancholy, half-cynical grin.

“And yet, you are Christian only so long as you look forward to a new world, only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society in which you live, and only so long as you emphasize the need for conversion both for yourself and for the world.” [1] How much faith does Father Nouwen have! How much resilience and wherewithal did he harbor, deep within.

Sometimes, I do not see how I can continue to have this sort of hope, the hope in a new world that Father Nouwen so clearly had.

I saw several questions taken from Henri Nouwen’s writing, quoted today on social media. These questions arrested me, and started me thinking. (Are these the types of questions Nouwen mentions here in his book With Open Hands?) The questions run as follows:

“Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love? These are the real questions.”

Instead of feeling beaten down and defeated by the societal structures, common practices, and overarching attitudes of this world, I can concentrate on these personal questions. I might be able to use them in personal interaction. One on one, person to person. That is the only way I can try to affect change, anyway. One kind act at a time, one gentle word at a time. So help me, God.

Dear Lord, forgive me for my resentment, frustration and cynicism. I think. I hope. Amen.

@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, 2005), 103.

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

 

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, 2005), 70.

[2] Ibid, 71.

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

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 15, 2017

Psa 119-13 recount God's laws, words

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Ah, Pastor Bonhoeffer, again you have struck me right in the heart. Again you have hit me in the gut. Not fair, I say!

Actually, I feel such judgment and conviction from Bonhoeffer’s comments on the current verse. (Bonhoeffer, you have certainly done your job, I can tell you.) Let’s take a look at this verse:

With my lips will I recite

All the judgments of Your mouth.

I do not think the author was kidding around at all. Not in any of this incredibly long psalm.  The author seems to be perfectly serious whenever he mentions taking God’s Word to heart. And in referring to this verse, Psalm 119:13, Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells his readers to be cautious about the words that come from their mouths. “It is often easy to carry God’s Word in our heart, but very difficult to bring it upon our lips!” [1]

Ah, Herr Pastor, your words hit me in such a delicate, awkward place. How often do I keep my mouth closed, lest I seem to be a “schoolmarm” by other people? “Is there not an atmosphere of frivolity and godlessness in which we no longer find the right word and simply become silent? Does not false modesty and fear of others often keep our mouths shut?” [2]

Yes, I am certainly guilty as charged.

Dear Lord, forgive me. Let me strive to honestly and sincerely use God’s Words to uplift and encourage others. Gracious God, help our words to be consistent with our hearts, in all things. It’s in the powerful, mighty name of God we pray. Amen.

 

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 118.

[2] Ibid, 119.

Be Present in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 27, 2017

lily-and-lily-pads-mindful

Be Present in Prayer

As I read the short passage this evening from the book How to Sit, I was struck by how much common sense was to be found in this brief reading. “When we have the capacity to be peaceful and joyful as we sit, we can sit anywhere.” [1] Yes, that is correct. The quote says “we can sit anywhere.” That is anywhere, in peace and joy.

When I am anxious or fearful, this is an option for me. When I am angry or jealous or depressed, again—this is an option for me. Being in the present moment, striving after peace and joy.

From what I understand, peace and joy flow into the sitting, and being present. Prayer and meditation are part and parcel of sitting, and being present. This practice is simple, and straight forward. NOT easy, but it is simple. “We are not pulled away by the past, the future, or by anger or jealousy in the present. When we sit like that, we sit as a free person.” [2]

Then, as I sit in prayer and meditation, I am free. I am not bound by strong, difficult emotions. My insides are not tied up in knots, and I can approach the Holy freely. What a gift.

Gracious God, thank You for showing me this option. Thank You for giving me possibilities in this life. Forgive me for disregarding You and Your kindness to me. Help us walk close by You from this day forward. In Jesus’ precious name we all pray, amen.

@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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 82.

[2] Ibid.

Please Forgive Me.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 21, 2015

FORGIVE as quickly as you want God to forgive

Please Forgive Me.

A position of control. Who doesn’t like to be in control? That is exactly where I am when I say, “That’s okay. I forgive you.”

But what about the flip side? What about when I totally made a misstep? When I put my foot in my mouth? Make a fool out of myself with another asinine comment? That makes me feel really small, really young and foolish.

So, who wouldn’t feel small, after considering that? Regardless of whether I have sacred guinea pigs or a deal of an alphabet soup, Henri Nouwen’s insight remains so profound. Imagine asking another person, “Can you forgive me?” Just think of how much openness of spirit and generosity it would take?

But, let’s go one further. Imagine asking God, “Can You forgive me?”

Nouwen even goes the next step, after that. He says in a quote from today’s reading: “Can I be open to forgiveness?” [1] Can I, indeed!

The Advent Action for this day, so appropriate: “Ask forgiveness of one person today. Let each person you meet today leave your presence a happier person.” [2]

@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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 46.

[2] Ibid, 47.

Pray for the Coming of the Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 13, 2015

Second coming, Autun Cathedral  (Giselbertus, 12th century)

Second coming, Autun Cathedral
(Giselbertus, 12th century)

Pray for the Coming of the Lord

Look up! Be not afraid! The coming of the Lord will be like a thief in the night. Come creeping on tiptoes, perhaps? Or, with a loud trumpet blast? Regardless, Our Lord will return. Soon and very soon.

Henri Nouwen made an intriguing statement today, in the meditation reading: “Be alert, be alert, so that you will be able to recognize your Lord in your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily papers. The Lord is coming, always coming.” [1]

Recognizing Jesus in my family and friends? Recognizing Jesus even in all I read in the daily papers? (and other media sources?) This reminds me of something Karl Barth said, about interpreting the Second Coming: “We can’t fathom the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, and we stammer when we try to speak of it.” Truly, the Second Advent is far, far bigger than anyone in the world. I suspect it’s even larger than the whole universe. (And, that is pretty big.)

Many of these Advent meditations concentrate more on the First Coming. The birth of the Baby in Bethlehem. Yet—Advent is much more than that. Although, that is a huge event, too. But the Second Coming? That is certainly a game-changer. Talk about the end of days. The end of everything, as we know it.

I do not claim to know very much about the Second Advent. Except—I will be with God when it happens. If I am in God’s arms, under God’s protection, that is usually more than enough for me.

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be watchful, waiting for Your arrival. Don’t let pride, arrogance, stupidity, or fear blind me to Your coming. (I know I can be all of these. Forgive me, Lord. Let me say with so many of Your faithful people, Maranatha! Come, Lord 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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 30.