Tag Archives: God’s wisdom

Instruct Me in God’s Laws?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 7, 2017

Psa 119-12 teach me, words

Instruct Me in God’s Laws?

When I read this brief comment on Psalm 119:12, I sat back and thought about it for a while. Let’s get the verse in front of us, so we can see what Bonhoeffer is talking about.

Blessed are You, O Lord;

Instruct me in Your statutes.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Does the ‘I,’ which is so noticeably repeated in these psalm verses, signify preoccupation with the self in self-criticism and self-justification?” [1] I do not know about that. What I recognize is that the Psalms are one of the most personal and emotional books in the Bible. I always appreciated the fact that the different psalm writers had no problem expressing deep (and sometimes troubling) emotions.

I have never thought of this specific idea before. Does the psalmist have some hyper-sensitive preoccupation with the self? (I mean, unhealthy preoccupation. I am not talking about a normal self-concept here.) That is a fascinating idea, and one that is new to me. I simply cannot answer that right now.

However, I can agree with the psalmist and with Bonhoeffer on his other striking insight. “In blessing God, we confess what we have received. In making our request of God, we confess our poverty.” [2] Oh, my. I know very well how poor I am. I need God’s instruction, God’s wisdom, and especially God’s help. What can I do, but pray?

Gracious God, source of all wisdom, thank You for these words. Thank You for this psalm. Continue to impress these verses on my heart and mind. Please, Lord, help me to follow Your statutes and laws. I thank and praise Your blessed name, Lord. All glory be to You. Amen.



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.

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 7, 2017

cloud of unknowing, quote

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

I have read a number of books on prayer, and I even have The Cloud of Unknowing on my bookshelf. Alas, I have not gotten around to it yet. That book is still on my list of books that I plan on reading. Someday.

Perhaps I will move this book up on the long list. It is certainly intriguing, from the little bits I have just read.

I especially focused on “How and Why Their Short Prayer Pierces Heaven.” Forceful, indeed. Here is a sample: “The eternity of God is his length; his love irs his breadth; his power is his height, and his wisdom is his depth. No wonder, then, that the soul which is so nearly conformed by grace to the image and likeness of God his maker is immediately heard by God.” [1]

Our author waxes eloquent about the Apostle Paul, and how he describes with great economy the practice of prayer. “As Saint Paul teaches; not fully, but in some way and to some degree, as is proper to this work.” [2]

Somehow, I have lost the elegance of certain types of prayer, over time. I would rather pray in plainspoken, straightforward language, rather than in fancy, ornate words, like spun glass or with delicate silks and threads. Even when urging the reader to confess sins, the author still comes across in a winsome, pleasing way.

Dear Lord, let my heart—all of our hearts—be softened and even tenderized by Your gracious hand. Come alongside of us, just as the author of The Cloud persistently watches and gives us pointers and encourages those who are trying with all their heart to pray. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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), 45.

[2] Ibid.

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Prayer—for Bella

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 2, 2015

heal my child - pray

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Prayer—for Bella

Our lives get interrupted at the worst moments. Sometimes inconvenient, sometimes exciting. Once in a while, horrible. Gut-wrenching, and incredibly sad.

I am interrupted in the middle of my neatly-laid-out prayer plan on lectio divina . . . to pray for Bella, instead. To ask you whether you would consider praying for Bella, her parents, and the medical staff who will be caring for her. Tomorrow, on Wednesday morning, Bella will be having surgery on a brain tumor. She just turned nine years old this past weekend. She is scared of the surgery. Her parents are scared, too.

The office manager at my church, Sunny, is good friends with Bella’s parents. Sunny has kept our church updated on the continuing situation with Bella, the doctors, and other medical stuff. I cannot even imagine what Bella and her family are feeling and are going through tonight, with surgery in less than twelve hours. Plus, Sunny just set up a GoFundMe site for Bella. You can find it at http://www.gofundme.com/4BellaM

Yes, I was a hospital chaplain for most of the last ten years. And, yes, I have some rudimentary understanding of what kinds of things Bella and her parents will be dealing with. But—I can’t know, for sure. But what I can do is send positive thoughts, earnest prayers, and good feelings. And, I can pray God’s mercy, care and comfort upon such a sweet young person.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, we pray for Bella. We ask Your presence with her as she goes through this procedure. We pray that You will hold her in the hollow of Your hand, being present with her in a very special way. We ask for Bella’s parents, and for all who care for her and love her. We know You can comfort like no other. We pray for the medical staff who will be caring for Bella. Give them wisdom and understanding as they treat Bella. We know that You are a God of healing, a God of wonder-working, and a God of comfort and encouragement. Thank You, Lord! We hold up all these things in prayer, Amen.

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

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.