Tag Archives: frustration

Prayer and Frustration…

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

hugs, hearts

Prayer and Frustration…

If I truly believe in prayer, and in a God who answers prayer, that whole premise can be frustrating. I realize that many people have a “vending-machine” idea of a God who grants wishes. For some, like a huge cosmic Genie, except we are not limited to one three wishes.

Why do I believe in prayer, anyway? It doesn’t work. People still get sick, and have horrible diseases, and devastating accidents. Just look at a pediatric ICU ward. (Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for those suffering, in and out of hospitals and care centers.) Or, stroke unit, or burn unit, or homeless shelter. Or an inner-city police station. Or refugee camp. Or disaster relief center. The list goes on and on.

As Father Nouwen says, “We realize that our world need to change and that no change will ever happen without action, but we often feel lost when it comes to the question of ‘how?’” [1] Actually, two pertinent questions come to mind: “How?” and “How long, O Lord?”

Such desperate frustration does get people up in arms, or confuses them, or causes them to protest, or—in defiance or a wish for oblivion—do nothing, or flee to the bottle or to drugs. Yes, so many are forced to live out their lives in poverty, or pain, or homelessness, or in some other deeply hurting place of body, mind and spirit.

Dear Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. In frustration and agony and surrender, these words come to mind. These words let God know that I realize my dependence on God’s love and mercy and forgiveness. Yes, life is often frustrating! And, yes! God has promised to be with me, every step of the way.

Sure, as Nouwen said, there are ideals of freedom and justice, yet they “are trampled underfoot in everyday practice.” [2] Gracious God, I seek peace, calm, and Your presence. Show me Your love, mercy and forgiveness. Help me to have renewed faith in You, who wants a relationship with me above all else. Even above giving me a soft, easy life, even above any personal frustration I feel on a regular basis. Lord, Your highest goal is to have a relationship with me That’s it. Help me—help us to focus on that aspiration, on that goal. To be loved and known by You, not to get stuff, or money, or power, or prestige. Help me to focus on the things that You want me to. So help me, God.



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), 100.

[2] Ibid, 101.

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 31, 2018

dream not interpreted, letter not read

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Often, when Father Nouwen suggests something, I strongly consider it. Except—in this particular situation. He was talking about silence, and noise, and especially about sleep. Then, he mentioned dreams. Oh, no!

It’s not that I never dream. From what I understand about dreams, I must dream with some regularity. I just never remember my dreams. Other people remember their dreams with great detail. Alas, not me. I am even uncomfortable talking about the fact that I don’t remember my dreams. (Well, hardly ever. Two, maybe three dreams a year, at most. And those, only vague impressions.)

Nouwen is talking about God being a Master Gardener; “Under this gentle regime, we can once again become masters over our own house. Not only during the day, but at night as well….Sleep is no longer a strange darkness, but a friendly curtain behind which dreams continue to live and to send out messages which can be gratefully received.” [1]

I am terribly sorry, Father Nouwen. I can’t make use of this friendly curtain, or the dream-space behind it. I feel my lack of dreams strongly. Periodically, I hear others discussing their dreams. An older friend encounters God on a fairly regular basis in dreams. (That’s how God communicates with my friend…not me!)

Realizing God communicates with me through the written word was (and is) a comfort to me. Gosh, I am so word-based! I know lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are great ways for me to pray. However, I have tried other ways of praying and meditation.  I really have tried, and tried hard. But, I just can’t allow myself, turn myself over to dream, because thereby leads to frustration and sorrow and disgruntlement.

Dear Lord, I do not think You want me to be disgruntled when I’m coming before You in prayers! I think that much be the furthest things from Your mind. Thank You for letting me find out that lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are two ways of praying that can lead me into Your presence, on a reliable basis. Gracious God, help me to be able to come before You on a regular basis. However, if I should be some change remember my dreams, help me to find some meaning in them. Just another in the dozens of ways You find to communicate with us. In the loving name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 21.

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.


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.

Love and the Care of Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 17, 2015

love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

Love and the Care of Soul

How do I nourish my soul? Let me count the ways.

Today’s chapter from Handbook for the Soul tells me. More on how to nourish the soul. Yes, Gerald Jampolsky repeats some of what the other writers have said. However, he also had a different take on this nourishment. Simplifying our lives and bringing balance by disciplining “my mind so that the peace of God is my only goal.” [1]

I was struck by these two activities, simplifying and bringing balance, and by their corollary. The peace of God.

As Jampolsky ticks off the important ways he suggests to nourish the soul, I was intrigued that he mentioned a woman with no arms. An angry woman, who felt rejected by all, including her family. Art was a saving grace for her, as it is for many.

The garden is also mentioned as nurturing to the soul. The parallel between gardening, weeding, and dismissing negative thoughts is also important.

This chapter also mentions attitudinal healing. I only have a vague idea of what attitudinal healing and workshops are. However, many people have found these helpful. Jampolsky links these healing workshops and love closely.

Want to nourish your soul? Try service. “By concentrating on helping another person, we renew contact with our soul and with God. We can feel peaceful again. A sense of joy surrounds us and all the frustration, agitation, and self-anger disappears.” [2]

What a wonderful feeling. Truly,


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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 104.

[2] Ibid, 106.