Tag Archives: forgive me

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.

Pray in the Presence of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 10, 2015

Matt 22-26 greatest command

Pray in the Presence of God

I try to remember God. Really, I do. But—it’s so difficult, sometimes. I forget. God slips my mind, sometimes. How can that be, I ask myself? (!!!) Forgive me, God.

Reading in the Advent book of reflections for today, Henri Nouwen talked about forgetting God. About how humans here on this earth, here in this plane of existence, pre-empt my attention and my direction.

I need to direct my thoughts to God, to give as much as possible of my heart, soul and mind to God. Not to have my heart, soul and mind redirected. I know, I know. It is so simple to just allow it to happen. To allow my heart, soul and mind to drift away from God.

Nouwen’s words cut me to the quick: “Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul.” [1]

For the Advent Action of the day, I am advised to go through the “old tapes” that play inside my head, those “tapes” that do not allow me to acknowledge God’s love for me. “Pick one ‘tape:’ a resentment, a belittlement, a loss, and pack it away permanently in exchange for the shelter of a loved and loving God.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, You love me. You really do. And, You want me to be all I can be. You want me to give all—that is ALL—of myself to You. Help me to be willing to be willing. Help me as I wait for You and Your coming. It’s in Your name I 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 my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 19, 2015

autumn leaves on a bridge

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Many of the prayers in this section are prayers of people from traditionally English-speaking countries. Or, prayers of Church Fathers and Mothers, prayers of Saints, translated into English. However, I am intrigued by those prayers that come from vastly different cultures, distant places, far removed from the sociological and cultural place I call “home.”

The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” (Prayer 355, page 109) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled Penitence. It is titled “Prayer from Polynesia.”

“Lord, today You made us known to friends we did not know,/And You have given us seats in homes which are not our own./You have brought the distant near,/And made a brother of a stranger,/Forgive us, Lord … /We did not introduce You.”

O, how poignant and tear-filled! How deep the pain that is felt; it spills over into the endless emotional pit. Powerful emotions and feelings churn within me. Yet—and yet—positive feelings flow over some of these words like a waterfall.

Dear God, these words from half a world away wash against me. Sometimes quiet and affirming, but other times knowing, nudging, concerned as a dear grandparent. And, the last two lines of this prayer? Not shaming, not demeaning, no! But at the same time, instructive. Giving gentle counsel. Almost, entreating.

And, I received admonishment. Gentle, to be sure. But, sure and certain. I do not introduce You to others as much as I have the opportunity. I see that. This prayer holds up a clear mirror to me.

Forgive me, Lord. Please, gracious God. Look with both forgiveness and favor on this poor sinner. Thank You for Your help and patience. Help me to look with love on all others, to those who do not yet know You, and an extra portion of thankfulness on those who do.

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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 109.