Tag Archives: friends

Prayer with Friends, for Friends

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 28, 2016


PRAY I always hug them with my prayers

Prayer with Friends, for Friends

Ever run away and play? Even, for a little while? Yeah, that was just the other day. I told my husband I was going away with several people for an overnight. On top of that, I had some marvelous meals, thanks to my good friend and two new acquaintances.  (And, I even was invited to pray.)

Unstructured, absolutely free time. We had fun. Girls’ day away. Seriously! I have not done anything like that for months and months.

Upon reflection, I find I get so stuffy and sensible—I wonder how that happened? Something to amend in the future, for sure.

Dear God, thank You for my good friend. I pray for her. I ask You to bless her in the midst of her busy-ness, and especially as she has a great number of things to take care of in the next few weeks. I thank You for the time we had away, resting. Having serious fun. Help us all to remember how we did that, and try to repeat it again, soon. God, thanks for reminding me that it is okay to rest and relax. Really. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my earnest prayers.


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Why not visit my sister 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

PEACE: A Personal Relationship with God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 14, 2016


rest in God, dove

PEACE: A Personal Relationship with God

A friend and I traveled to the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago again on Wednesday. We participated—again—in the nightly dinner outreach hosted by the Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK). This was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the good people in the Englewood neighborhood and show them that friends outside of their community care, and are concerned. Friends want to help them strengthen relationships, and bring peace into their streets. Their neighborhood. Their community.

My friend Laura had her face-painting kit, again, and the children loved it. They lined up to have all different kinds of face art painted on their faces. I made myself useful helping out by the serving table, making sure the bottled water was ready to be served, taking care of trash and checking to see that the area around the street corner was neat and tidy.

Yet, I remembered back two weeks, when Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church stopped by that same corner after dinner was cleaned up. The church folks set up a traveling outdoor worship service, just as they do each Wednesday night during the summer. As I finished my good-byes to Mama Knight and several other friends, I had the opportunity to talk with the Senior Pastor of that church, Rev. Walter Matthews.

A personable, earnest man, he was more than ready to share his view of peace. Pastor Matthews’ personal definition: “PEACE is having a personal relationship with God.”  

Just as the Mothers Against Senseless Killing wishes to strengthen relationships between friends in their Englewood neighborhood—on a horizontal plane, so Pastor Matthews wishes to strengthen relationships on a vertical plane—the personal relationship with God, our Redeemer and Friend. As I asked him to elaborate on his personal definition, he said, “I want everyone to have peace with God, so that we are able to have the peace of God.”

Amen! Pastor Matthews, thank you for those good words. May you and your church community have a nurturing, continuing relationship with your neighborhood. Dear God, please help Pleasant Green M.B. Church to continue to be faithful, spreading the Good News of a personal relationship with You. Amen!


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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Praying Through Several Encounters

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 1, 2016

definition of prayer

Praying Through Several Encounters

Today was a different kind of a day. A day of encounters, a day of prayers. A day out of the ordinary. Or—was it?

First, I arranged a test for a friend. Assisting him was a bit roundabout. I helped cut through some of the red tape, and got things taken care of. To finally take care of that situation was gratifying, to be sure.

Next up, helping another acquaintance with some paperwork. This was certainly easier. Tracking down some older files, and that was another item off my list of things to do.

Third, and perhaps most significant, I needed to drop off a file. Simple, indeed. However, I also took the opportunity to pray with someone at that house. (That was the significant part.) I talked with the family, prayed, and prayed some more.

In each situation today, I prayed. Three varied situations, and three very different people. However, I felt the need to take them all before God. All were heavy, and I needed God to help me to bear them. I could especially feel God’s presence on the last visit. (Not that God wasn’t in the first two. Of course God was! Don’t be silly—I keep telling myself.)

Today was indeed a day of encounters. A day I encountered three people, in separate situations. However, today was a day that I encountered God. God was with me on my errands and trips around the area today. God heard the words I said out loud, as well as those words I thought to myself, and those cries I couldn’t even put into words. Yes, God still heard me. And, God heard the friends I was with today

Thank You, God, for encouraging us to come to You in prayer. Thank You for the encouragement and support. I appreciate it. I depend on it, sometimes. Thank You. Thank You.


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

Prayer and the Discipline of Community

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 4, 2015

people diverse fellowship in the church

Prayer and the Discipline of Community

Everyone needs someone. I don’t care who it is, each person needs some other person (or, persons) to relate to. To be with. To give and express love, caring and sharing. Henri Nouwen calls this the Discipline of Community.

I was previously unfamiliar with this particular Discipline. The more familiar, general Spiritual Disciplines I am familiar with, true. (To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the Discipline.) Except, this one was new for me.

The concepts of talking and walking with others, spending time in each other’s company, and especially of physical contact—free hugs, anyone?—all of these have been studied in recent years by research studies on both the social science and public health sides as well as the medical side. Physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically? Even spiritually. In every way, as Fr. Nouwen says, “I need people to love me and care for me.” [1] [emphasis mine]

Yes, while He was here on earth, Jesus gathered a band of people around Him. The named disciples, but more than that. Mary, Martha, their brother Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, the other Mary, Salome. Even some of the healed people, the formerly demonized, those with their sight and hearing and full range of motion restored to them, miraculously—some of these came into Jesus’s circle. All kinds of people, from all different walks of life, gathered around Jesus.

This reading today makes me wonder: are my friends diverse? Or, are they all monochromatic? All white-bread? Do I “reach out and touch” my friends and acquaintances? Am I open to their touch? Do I welcome their smiles, their words? Difficult thoughts, and hard words, indeed.

Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me and bringing this important challenge to my attention. For, it is indeed a challenge. Encourage me to be a good small group member, and good member of my congregation. So, help me, God.


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), 12.

Implore Thy Clemency for All

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 20, 2015

St. Anselm illustration

St. Anselm illustration

Implore Thy Clemency for All

Such old-fashioned language! That’s my initial thought, now. (And to think, as a teenager, I used to love the King James Version of the Bible for the beauty of its expression…)

Perhaps I’ve been listening too much to my husband, the journalist. He regularly tells me “eliminate needless words.” One of his favorite quotes is that of George Orwell: “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.” Accordingly, I often try to follow my husband’s advice. Except—when I consider lovely writing from The Oxford Book of Prayer.

Today’s prayer is about Relationships. The prayer I chose for today from The Book of Prayer concerns “As We Forgive” (Prayer 372, page 113) [1] This prayer for clemency and for love from our God is attributed to St. Anselm (1033-1109).

“…Grant us grace that having received Thine undeserved bounty, we may love everyone in Thee and for Thee.” O, Lord! Undeserved grace and undeserved bounty? I do not deserve any of it. Do You hear me? I feel like Isaiah beholding the vision of the Lord Almighty seated on the heavenly throne in the Temple. Falling flat on my face, and not even daring to lift my eyes.

“We implore Thy clemency for all, but especially for the friends whom Thy love has given to us.” Is it any wonder that I have any friends at all? According to the good saint, it is only through Your gracious love that I even have friends. And, clemency? You are merciful, indeed, Lord! Merciful to me, a sinner. Imagine, the audacity of St. Anselm, asking—nay, imploring mercy and clemency for all. Not for some, not for most, but for all. Fairly takes my breath away.

“Love Thou them, O Thou fountain of love.” What an expression! Fountain of love. I can imagine the Lord having a never-ending supply of love. (which is quite possibly the image Anselm had in mind. I’m not sure.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Anselm’s gracious and generous words. Thank You for the opportunity I have to examine these words more closely. Help me to heed them, and to follow Your will and Your ways. O blessed Lord, in Your name I pray, amen.


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), 113.

Prayer, When Friends Really Need It

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 17, 2015

PRAY hug friends with prayers

Prayer, When Friends Really Need It

Turns out, I have a friend who really, really needs prayer. My friend lives out of state, so I can’t just dash out to have a cup of coffee with this friend whenever I feel like it. No, I need to plan a visit. Take the time and intentionally decide to go see my friend.

Which is no problem! Believe me, I enjoy this friend’s company so much. I enjoy the whole family! But, it makes me sad that I can’t just run across town any time I get a spare moment and have a cuppa or a bite to eat with my dear friend.

As I read these lines at the beginning of the Evening Prayer tonight on the website www.dailyoffice.org – I immediately thought of my friend’s situation. “O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.“

Lord, why won’t You help my friend? Save, make speed, make haste. Why won’t You do any of that? It certainly doesn’t seem like it makes any difference at all. AT ALL.

(Sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted.) But, I feel upset! I feel angry. I feel discouraged. And, I am not even in the middle of that yucky situation.

Let’s pray for my dear friend. And for the yucky, continuing situation.

Dear Lord, gracious God, You know my dear friend. You know the whole situation. You can bring positive things out of all the nonsense that is happening. You can work wonders. I’m asking for that, right now. I am not sure quite what it is that You will do, but I am asking. As Psalm 31 tells me, “deliver me in your righteousness. Incline your ear to me; *
make haste to deliver me. Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe.”

Dear God, I pray all of that for my friend, and even more!

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. Especially my friend’s prayers.


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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

Sixth Sunday in Lent – Be Gracious to Me, Lord! Please!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 29, 2015

God is my comforter Psalm 56-8

Sixth Sunday in Lent – Be Gracious to Me, Lord! Please!

Reading the Psalm for today, Psalm 56, I found myself plunged into that dark, scary emotional hole. Yet another time. This time, I wasn’t there to stay for a while. I recognized that pit, and I hesitated before I dove in. Yay, me!

Ever have the experience of enemies rising up against you? Fighting against you? King David sure did! Yet, he was able to go to the Lord and take refuge in Him.

I can remember several times when my negative momentum got the best of me, and carried me down into depression. I am glad I didn’t have such serious enemies threatening me, like David did! I praise God that I can count on Him, whenever I need to. As David said, if God is for me, what can mere mortals do to me?

I am grateful to my friends, spiritual leaders and pastors, and especially God. Some combination of them all help keep me centered and spiritually healthy. Thank You, God!


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PRAY hug friends with prayers

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

If you’ve been following this occasional blog during the past few months, I may have mentioned my change in job circumstances a time or two. About how my good friend and co-pastor Pastor Gordon and I were working together at the small congregation in the Chicago suburbs. And how Gordon has since left for another call and responsibility with his denomination, the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ. So, I won’t go into that again.

However, before Gordon left the church, he and I met during the last week of May to recap our ministry over the past three months. In other words, look at all that we had done, and done right!

My good friend affirmed the fact that we had been a real encouragement to this congregation. That was a real affirmation for me, personally! During the next few weeks, as I was thinking about and praying about possible summer preaching series-es, the idea of prayer kept coming to me again and again. So, the week after Pentecost, I rolled it out. I began the series, and I want to concentrate especially on intercessory prayer, in the weeks ahead.

I know, from both my work and my personal experience, how much people often appreciate intercessory prayer! When I worked as a chaplain, I would usually ask the patients and/or their loved ones, “Is there anything you would like for me to do?” Very often, the answer would be, “Yes, please! Could you pray for us?” or, “Pray for good test results!” or perhaps, “Could you pray for this other situation, too?” And, people of all different denominations and faith traditions, too. Even those from outside of Christianity would occasionally ask me for prayer.

Time and again, I was so awestruck and honored to be entrusted with this precious opportunity—the opportunity to come into God’s presence with these friends. And, to journey with them, for a little way, down this road of challenge, difficulty, grief and pain.

That was such a vivid, sometimes rewarding, sometimes heart-rending experience. I really feel called to present this opportunity to this congregation. We can offer to pray for others. God willing, we can be loving, caring friends to people in need. I plan on starting this prayer ministry the first week in August.

I know there are some praying friends who are reading this blog. If you feel so led, could you pray for us and this congregation, as we prepare to minister to others? And, show others the love and care of Christ, as we pray for them and their needs? Thanks so much. I don’t know what I would do without sisters and brothers in God to walk with me. Together, we can do so much more than me, all by myself. Praise God!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your comfort and care. Thank You for the invitation to come before You in prayer. Gracious God, help us to lift up our friends and acquaintances to You, in both praises and requests. We are so glad You are always ready to hear us, and respond. Thank You! Amen.


(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.