Tag Archives: God willing

Prayer: Meditation and Contemplation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 31, 2019

lordhearourprayer

Prayer: Meditation and Contemplation

Praying with Scripture can be moving, inspiring, soul-shaking, or heart-piercing. Sometimes, several of these at once or in succession.

I’m not saying that St. Ignatius had a corner on this praying-with-Scripture thing, but he certainly was able to guide people into the practice. That’s the reason “Ignatian prayer” is named exactly that. I love to use this kind of prayer, and I have had deep spiritual encounters while using it.

The two halves of the Ignatian-prayer-whole are meditation and contemplation, both using Scripture as a basis for going in-depth in prayer. Fr. Gallagher is basing his approach in this book on St. Ignatius’ own words and method, as follows:

“I will consider how God our Lord looks upon me.”

“I offer all my will and actions to God. (preparatory prayer) I review the Scripture for this prayer. I imaginatively enter the place of this Scripture. (composition) I ask of God what I wish and desire in this prayer.”

In meditation, for each point “I call to mind this truth, with love. I ponder it, with love. I embrace it, with love and desire.” In contemplation, for each point “I see the persons. I hear the words. I observe the actions.” And, after each session of prayer, I speak to God as my heart is moved (colloquy). [1]

Such a simple manner of prayer. Yet, how deep. Talk about being pushed into the deep end of the pool! I can still vividly remember an Ignatian prayer session I participated in, where I could feel the dusty dryness of the street and the jostling of the crowd. I remember the excited buzz of conversation as I led a group of moms (at a mothers’ bible study) through an Ignatian prayer exercise on Jesus and the disciples out on the sea of Galilee in a storm, and how several of my fellow moms were astounded by the depth of the prayer experience.

While I realize that kind of experience may not be an every-day sort of thing, still. Ignatian prayer does offer the possibility and opportunity of having that kind of prayer time. God willing, I would like to have those experiences more often than I do right now. Dear Lord, as I work through this helpful book, lead us all in Ignatian prayer. Guide us as we come into Your presence. It is in the name of Your blessed Son 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] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 16-17.

More on the Word of God and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 30, 2017

Bible, OT scrolls

More on the Word of God and Meditation

This particular letter was so fascinating, and had so much in it, that I just had to take another day to reflect upon it. I’m referring to a letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his brother-in-law and good friend Rudiger Schleicher. (The two men had many interests in common, including theology.)

I was struck by what Bonhoeffer said about the Bible. “This is how I read the Bible now. I ask of each passage: What is God saying to us here? And I ask God that he would help us hear what he wants to say.” [1] Bonhoeffer does not read the Bible as someone preparing for a sermon, or doing bible study, with an eye to commentaries and delving deeper behind the words and meanings of the text. No. This is not the point for Bonhoeffer.

Instead, he particularly refers to what he saw as God’s central purpose for the Word: “…God’s Word begins by showing us the cross. And it is to the cross, to death and judgment before God, that our ways and thoughts (even the ‘eternal’ ones) all lead.” [2]

I think Bonhoeffer is saying that the cross is the apex of all things, the crux of God’s purpose and meaning. I almost hesitate to say this, but I understand it to be God’s be-all and end-all. The main point, the one-and-only. (Those phrases sound so trite, compared to God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.)

Sure, there are lots of things that are still hidden from common understanding, or puzzling, or downright confusing. However, Bonhoeffer freely admits that he “does not yet understand this or that passage in Scripture, but is certain that even they will be revealed one day as God’s own Word.” [3]

If someone as spiritually and theologically brilliant as Dietrich Bonhoeffer freely admits that, I suppose I ought to feel no shame and embarrassment at admitting the same thing. Yet, just as Pastor Bonhoeffer did, I need to keep reading, keep meditating, and keep studying. If I do this, God willing, I will add to my knowledge, understanding and wisdom about the Word of God. I hope my readers do, as well. Dear 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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 36.

[2] Ibid, 37.

[3] Ibid.

William Law’s View of Fasting

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 13, 2017

fasting, prayer, mountains

William Law’s View of Fasting

In the past, I loved classic religious and theological books. I read many of them in my teens, 20’s and 30’s. As soon as I picked up that book in my early 20’s, I found I loved A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I’ve read it through completely three times, and dipped into it several more, for partial reads.

So, when I read William Law’s name next in the chapter list of this current book, I got legitimately excited.

Law’s view of Matthew 6 fascinates me. His take on it is so practical. (Just as is much of his writing.) “Therefore the privacy of fasting does not suppose such a privacy as excludes everybody from knowing it, but such a privacy as does not seek to be known abroad.” [1] Law compares Jesus’s words concerning fasting to the situation with Cornelius in Acts 10. The centurion’s fasting was well known within his family. By Cornelius’s devout example, “his household were made devout themselves by continually waiting upon him, that is, by seeing and partaking of his good works.” [2]

Law considered legalistic devotion to the secret strictures of fasting a clear violation of the spirit of the words of Jesus. He understood that many people in his time had that absurd attitude, and he wanted his teaching to be crystal clear. As Richard Foster said, “by using Cornelius as his illustration Law gently causes readers—you and me—to examine their own legalisms by considering whom they might find unacceptable to God.” [3]

God willing, I can take Law’s (and Foster’s) words to heart. Please, Lord, help me follow these excellent interpreters of Your words.

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 74.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 76.

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 22, 2017

water-lilies-mindful

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

I still have difficulty praying and meditating on a regular basis. Yes, I have had this blog for many months. I strove to be faithful in prayer and meditation for many years before. (Lord, You know I have.) And still, I struggle.

Yet, when I do pray and meditate—on occasion—I can feel the peace and serenity of God come into my heart and mind. Marvelous feeling! (Even when I do not feel the sense of the presence of God surrounding me, much.)

Plus, every now and then, I gain insight, or wisdom, from the prayer and meditation. Every now and then, I find I have discernment that I did not previously realize was there.

See, when we pray and meditate, sometimes long-held internal ideas of resentment, fear, anger, despair and hatred are quietly transformed. In some cases, relationships with other people and with nature can be transformed, too.

When I become aware of this—this discernment, this wisdom beyond myself, I am filled with wonder. How amazing that negative ideas and qualities can quietly transform. As I continue with the prayer and meditation on a regular basis, positive things begin happening on the inside. As teacher Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us, “As we become freer and happier, we cease to act in ways that make others suffer, and we are able to bring about change in ourselves and help others around us.” [1]

God willing, may I become more and more positive. May my mind become more in line with the way Jesus would view my thinking. Dear 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 34.

 

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 6, 2017

 

waves-storm_drawing

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

As I was reading the slim book “How to Sit” this evening, I was struck by the analogy given. Of anxious people on board a boat, at sea, in the middle of a storm. And, one person’s calm demeanor became what calmed the whole boatload of passengers.

I don’t want to bend over backwards to pat myself on the back, but I have noticed that I am that person, sometimes. I have a calm, less-anxious presence, at times. (I’ve noticed this, and so have my former chaplain supervisors.) Whether in a health care setting, or a funeral home, or in a tense situation outside the church, sometimes I help to bring a bit of calmness and serenity into an anxious or awkward or scary or angry situation.

When I considered this attitude lifted up by the book earlier this evening, I did not pray all that much. Instead, I found myself reflecting on this kind of attitude. A calm, less-anxious kind of attitude. I really do thank God that I can be that person, sometimes. I know I have been trained as a chaplain, and trained to express that kind of attitude, but some of it is natural.

I am so glad I have gravitated to a line of work where I can express these kinds of attitudes and talents. I know I need to continue to keep my attitudes and actions sharp, and be certain of continuing to reach out in care and concern. God willing, those will be the kinds of things that others will help me in doing. I pray that some here will work with me, so we all can support each other. One day at a time. (God, thank You!)

@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

Praying in Contagious Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 4, 2017

peace-and-quiet

Praying in Contagious Peace

Finding a place and space of calm and contentment? It can be challenging, even difficult. Yet, I am striving to do this during my time of prayer. A worthwhile challenge, indeed!

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, serves as my guide for this month. His slim volume called “How to Sit” will be my guide book.

Today’s short reading was that peace is contagious. No matter what, if I pay attention to my breath, that is. I must insist and make this post about peace, and calm, and quiet—just as much as I try to make my prayer time a time of contagious peace.

As I sat and prayed, I sat still and calmed my breathing; that is, I tried my very best to stay quiet and center my mind on peace.

God willing, we all will strive for peace.

@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

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 6, 2016

peace-word-cloud-3

Interfaith Banquet for Peace

I gathered together with a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, interfaith group of people for a banquet on Sunday evening. The banquet was co-hosted by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and the Islamic Society of North America at a Chicago-area convention center. Such a fascinating group of people. The booths at the 53rd annual ISNA conference I was invited to seemed a beehive of activity, too.

One meaningful highlight of the banquet was the opportunity to hear Khizr and Gazala Khan, the parents of United States Army Captain Humayun Khan. (Capt. Khan was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War, a Purple Heart recipient buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.) After being catapulted to international fame from speaking at the Democratic National Convention some weeks ago, the Khans continue to be the measured, sincere representatives of their faith in God. They both brought that same message of faith, honor and love for their adopted country to those who attended the ISNA banquet on Sunday.

However, not all the speakers at the banquet had positive messages. A strong concern came from Dr. Christopher Bain, professor of social sciences at Duke University. He spoke on the motion of the widespread demonization of Islam (and of individual Muslims, in general) throughout the United States since 9/11, fifteen years ago. This negative message of “radical Muslims” has moved from the fringes of national discourse rapidly into mainstream thought and media perception, in less than fifteen years. This concerns me—and many people—very much.

Yes, there was a great gathering of a diverse group of people on Sunday night. Perhaps—together—we helped to build bridges. Even though there is growing division and animosity against “difference,” perhaps some friendly conversation and sharing a meal helped to build friendships. Perhaps.

God willing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er