Tag Archives: God’s love

Help Through the Hard Times

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 17, 2015

daisy growing through difficulties

Help Through the Hard Times

Recovery can be a difficult thing. A hard time. Challenging, and stressful. It isn’t all a walk in the park, to be sure. And watching a loved one battle addiction and alcoholism? That can be difficult, too.

I attended a talk and a brief panel discussion led by an acquaintance of mine, tonight. She is one of those who is (and has been) dealing with a loved one’s active addiction. Getting clean time, and then slipping back into the horrible trap of addiction. Over, and over, and over again.

But, that’s one situation. One personal acquaintance.

The hardship and heartbreak can be multiplied and compounded, time and time again. And then, finally recovery takes hold!

Friends, I have news for you: recovery is not easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no. One bright spot? We do have a Higher Power, ready and able to give us a hand. Help through the hard times. We have other people who are on this same journey. (It sure is easy when we know we are not alone.)

Help is ready to come our way, through friends—through the We of the Program, and through the God of our understanding.

Today’s prayer as listed in the meditation book Keep It Simple: “Higher Power, help me through the hard times. Help me trust in Your love and care.”[1] Good words, God! Lord, in Your mercy, grace and love, hear our prayer.

@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] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 17 reading.

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.

@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), 113.

Pierce the Cloud of My Unknowing

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 3, 2015

birds, moonrise, water - credit bellofcompassion.org

Pierce the Cloud of My Unknowing

Such an arresting image. I am still struggling to get my head around that image. God’s love, piercing the cloud of my unknowing.

This piece of the Lord’s Prayer has the word “Affirmation” as its focus. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer deals with “Who art in heaven (Prayer 14, page 56) [1]

Another thing I’m wondering about. “Affirmation?” Am I supposed to affirm You, Lord? Do You even need affirmation? Or, does the affirmation concern me? Who is the end-user of this affirmation, anyway?

George Appleton wrote this particular prayer. I find myself pausing at regular points of this page, and I sit and allow the words to wash over me.

“I cannot grasp You/explain You/describe You.“ Appleton’s not-knowing seems to match mine in all the deep places. Why are You so distant? Yet, I stand in awe by all of the things expressed here.

Dear Lord, I focus on “Who are Thou?” And, I get a very partial answer. But, that’s okay. How on earth am I ever going to get a complete image of You in my mind, anyway. You, Lord, are infinite. I am not. You, Lord, are ready to listen. Help me to be equally ready to hear Your voice, and to heed Your words. Thank You, Lord.

@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), 56-57.

God’s Name – Mighty Name

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 3, 2015

God - my rock and my fortress Psa 31-3

God’s Name – Mighty Name

I opened the webpage tonight, and settled in to praying. This webpage, dailyoffice.org, is familiar to me. Comforting, even. I’ve been following, and praying along with it, for years.

As I started to pray, I felt myself fall into the rhythm of prayer. (I have been following the dailyoffice.org Morning Prayer webcast about once or twice a week now, for the past few months. What a great way to start the day!) Yes, Evening Prayer is considerably shorter, with fewer and shorter passages of Scripture. Yet, God pulled me up short with a line from Psalm 31.

Psalm 31:1-5 was the psalm passage for this evening. In verse 3, I read this: “for the sake of Your Name, lead me and guide me.”

As this Psalm tells me, God is indeed my Rock, my Crag and Stronghold. Yet, God is all of these things to me and for me for the sake of God’s Name. Not because I am particularly holy, or extra-good, or a lovely person. No. God is these things, and does these things for me for the sake of God’s Name. For the glorious goodness and graciousness that is God.

What a mind-blowing thing for me to consider. What a mighty and powerful God, not to mention good, gracious, loving and caring. The best part? I am the grateful recipient of all of this fantastic goodness and grace. The second half of that best part? All of that was packed into this short sentence from Psalm 31.

Dear Lord, I cannot even begin to thank You for Your goodness and grace to me. Thank You for your love expressed to me. Thank You for proclaiming Yourself a Rock, a Crag, a Stronghold for all those who run to You. Help me know when I ought to find refuge and safety. I know I can count on You even when other people run away or don’t follow through on their promises. I know You will. For sure. And, that’s a promise.

@chaplaineliza

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!

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

Salvation—How Much More Profound Can It Get?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 23, 2015

Salvation—How Much More Profound Can It Get?

God - who, not having seen, you love

Got salvation? (cue the photo of young adult, smiling from ear to ear)

Salvation—don’t leave home without it.

God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s love. All different aspects of God, and all incredibly powerful. But, salvation brings them all together, and ties it up with a big bow.

The book Praying the New Testament as Psalms has some moving, thought-provoking verses on its pages, under Salvation. However, I was so struck by the adaptation of this verse from 1 Peter 1: “I rejoice with a joy indescribable and glorious/at the outcome of my faith/—the salvation of my soul.” [1]

Peter’s words are “joy indescribable.” Unspeakable. You can’t even express it in words. This joy is so deep, it has to be experienced. Such joy goes beyond anything that humans in this world can describe. I suspect we would need to be in heaven to be able to sufficiently describe the joy we feel.

Thank You, God, for this poor and limited word-picture of salvation. Peter’s striving attempt to describe the joy that only heaven can properly name makes me bow down in worship and praise. Thank You. Praise You. Your grace and mercy are indescribable, too. Thank You. 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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 173.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 10, 2015

LOVE heart He loved first

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Today’s modern psalm is on one of the most striking attributes of God—most striking to me, anyway. God’s love. God is love. God loves you. God loves me. God loves all of us. (John 3:16 says so.)

This modern psalm, which comes from Praying the New Testament as Psalms, contains several verses that resonate with me. They echo and re-echo within my heart, personally, as well as strike me to the quick, in an outward fashion.

I realize that God loves me. I also realize that God loves my neighbor. The Stranger, the Other, the one on the other side of town, or on the other side of the tracks. The weird person I pass on the street. (Yes, God loves them.) The mean person in the next car who just cut me off. (Yes, that person, too.) Even the awful person who committed that unspeakable crime they’re talking about, on the news. God loves that person. Or ones in rehab facilities. Or in mental institutions. Or playing in parks or walking on beaches or in senior residences or homebound or at work or lonely or grieving or joy-filled. Or you, or your loved ones.

I would like to share two verses, both taken/adapted from Romans 5. Both coming from the writing of the Apostle Paul. “Your own love, God, has been poured into my heart/by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to me.” [1] This verse from the modern psalm talks about God’s love, comparing it to something being poured into me. Almost as if I am a thirsty vessel, or a water glass waiting to be filled. Then, the Holy Spirit fills me up to the brim. Cool, clear, clean, fresh water. And, I have been given the Holy Spirit. It’s all done, already. I don’t need to wait any more. I’m filled with the Spirit that refreshes.

The second verse is also adapted from Romans 5: “Jesus, You gave proof of God’s love for me./While I was still a sinner, You died for me.” [2] Lord Jesus, that astounds me even more than the first verse. Yes, the Lord has gifted me with the Holy Spirit. But—Jesus did not have to do any of that for me, since I was a sinner. I sinned in thought, word and deed, and I still do sin. But God so loved me, Elizabeth, that God gave His only begotten Son—for me.

You can put your name into that last sentence, if you want. Try that on for size, and see whether it fits. Whether you believe it. Whether you feel worthy, or not. It’s still true. Perhaps, it is especially true when you and I doubt the verity and veracity of that statement.

Thank You, God, for loving me, and for loving this dear friend who is reading along with us. And for loving all the people You have created. Thank You for Your everlasting, endless love.

@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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 88.

[2] Ibid.

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 28, 2015

Light be a light to the world

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

I was a bit puzzled by the third step in the daily Ignatian prayer process, as interpreted by Margaret Silf. I know it’s a small thing, but I did not quite get what she meant. Or rather, one particular word she used.

Here’s the step, as found in Silf’s book on Ignatian spirituality and prayer, Inner Compass: Light-seeking: “Ask God to help you see and understand how His love has been working within you today. This is a gift of the Spirit, and it has been promised to all who sincerely seek it.”

I consider myself theologically knowledgeable, in basic terms. But here—Silf’s use of “light-seeking” interchangeably with “God’s love?” Perhaps I am overthinking what she’s doing here. I probably am.

What I sometimes do with concepts I have difficulty understanding is this: I break it down. I take it apart, in pieces. It’s then that I come to some understanding of the separate pieces. Yes, I have some idea of what constitutes “God’s love.” And, I am so moved by Silf’s imagery of “Light-seeking.” Thought-provoking mental image!

I’ve come to a comfort level of not-knowing. Or, at least not knowing in full. If I can’t square the phrase “God’s love” with “Light-seeking,” it’s okay. God will still love me just as much if I don’t understand some things about God. No one has a full understanding, anyhow. I suspect that I am in a better (read, more open-minded) position, now that I realize I just don’t know stuff.

And, that’s okay. God understands. God still gifts me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, no matter how much or how little theological background I may have. I just need to be honest, open and willing. Willing to be open, with an open mind and heart. Amen. 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 .

Remain in God’s Love. Stay Put.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jesus and fruit - grapes  John 15

Remain in God’s Love. Stay Put.

God loves Jesus. Jesus readily affirms this—His Heavenly Parent is embracing Him, even while He is talking to the disciples in the Upper Room. And, Jesus also affirms that He loves the disciples. Without qualifications, no matter what.

That’s the same kind of love Jesus has for me. And, for you, too.

The liturgical lectionary scripture reading for today is from John 15. It isn’t only the disciples who are encouraged to remain in Jesus’ love. We are, too. This is how I am to stay close to Jesus. Really close.

I am still feeling the effects of some very sad news; it came as a great shock to me. Jesus (and His love) is helping me through it. I know I am told to keep Jesus’ commands, and I will remain in Jesus’ love.

Please, God, be with all who received sad news today—or, even recently. Be with those who mourn, wipe their eyes, lighten their hearts. Be with all those who lost a loved one. Please. In Your mercy, Lord, hear all of our prayers. 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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Love One Another. Just Love.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 17, 2015

Jesus laid down His life for us 1 John 3-16

Love One Another. Just Love.

There is an all-day preschool and kindergarten here at my place of employment. I love watching the children in their activities together. I take the opportunity to read to them once a week, and often interact with them as I walk through the halls. “Hello, Pastor Elizabeth!” they often cry. With shy smiles, and sometimes a hug around the knees. So loving, so spontaneous, so open with their emotions. Such a wonderful feeling!

The liturgical lectionary scripture reading came from 1 John 3 today. Somehow, I got the same sort of feeling from the aged apostle John as I read this passage. Verses 11 through 24. John was giving his friends some instructions, even some admonitions. At the beginning of the section, we are told to love one another. Why? Because of the One who laid down His life for us. That’s why. And following His example, we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for each other.

There is a good deal more in this section of scripture, but I focused particularly on these ideas. Funny thing, John doesn’t say “Love only those with straight, thick hair” or “Love only those who are nearsighted.” (Both of which I have.) John doesn’t say “Love only those who are gregarious extroverts” or “Love only those with mathematical talent” as several of my family members are. No exclusions. None. Period.

John says “For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (1 John 3:11, NRSV) And again, in chapter 4 :7, we are told “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” And the kicker in 4:9—“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

The aged apostle’s admonition is simple. Not easy! Never easy. But, simple. Simply this: love one another. Love every person. Why? Because of the One who laid down His life for us.

I have been thinking more and more about this very thing. Who would Jesus ignore? Who would Jesus argue with? Even more, who would Jesus fight with? Who would Jesus hate?

If I truly consider myself a follower of Jesus, I need to ask myself those serious, penetrating questions. Am I willing to love everyone, no questions asked? Like Jesus? Am I willing to be open, and generous, and loving, like the preschoolers I see almost every day? Love one another.

Gracious God, help me to try to love each person I meet. Please, God. Help me to communicate Your love and care to everyone, without hesitancy, without prejudice, without special favor. So help me, God. Please. 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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Be Quiet! In Prayer, Of Course!

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, June 16, 2014

PRAY God can hear you

Be Quiet! In Prayer, Of Course!

It’s difficult for me to quiet the roar of my external life. To quiet it enough to settle down and pray. It is even more difficult for me to tone down the internal roar. Or should I say noise? Busy-ness? My internal, everlasting dialogue keeps on nattering, commenting. Saying whatever it wants, whatever it feels like, and not necessarily at all times in a politically correct manner.

An online friend of mine, Rich Lewis, wrote a recent blog post about centering prayer. He has been practicing centering prayer for a number of weeks now. I wish I could just slip into centering prayer—that way of contemplative prayer that is so deceptively simple it defies flowery description. Such a challenging way of prayer for me, too.

I thrive on words! Benedictine rumination (praying on a brief phrase or sentence of Scripture) is my current favorite method of prayer. This uses words (!!) yet at the same time, my mind is allowed to run free, and make connections on its own. This is a wonderful way of prayer, but I find myself wanting something else. Something different. Something more.

Several years ago,I prayed through a short book of prayer methodology and exercises by Tilden Edwards. The methods of prayer that were most challenging to me involved centering prayer. Even wordless prayer. I get the feeling that I am ready for that challenge again. Especially after reading my friend Rich’s blog post. I quote the last lines: “I sit in silence so God can refresh me. I sit in silence so God’s love can fill me. I sit in silence so I will take God’s action into my non-silent parts of the day.”

Wow. I’ll say that again. Wow!! God, I need that kind of refreshing, that kind of filling. Thanks for the impetus, Rich! (I almost said “thanks for the kick in the rear,” but that wouldn’t be very chaplainly or pastorly, would it?)

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your urging us to come into Your presence. We can come any time, any where. For any reason, too. Help me as I try to come to You in prayer more regularly. As I try to pray more intentionally, using centering prayer, be with me in this effort. Thank You for Your blessings, poured out on my friend Rich. Bless me in a similar way, as I strive to be faithful. As I strive to take those thoughts, words and actions pleasing to You into the rest of my days. In Your mercy and grace we pray, amen.

Rich Lewis’ blog link is: http://richlewis3.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/why-do-i-sit-in-silence/

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: