Tag Archives: have mercy

Prayer. More About Breath

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 26, 2018

teach us to pray,

Prayer. More About Breath

When I read a section from this little book of Father Nouwen’s today, I immediately thought of people who are very much hurt. Hurt on the inside. They hurt so much that they can hardly open up to anyone. Not even to God.

Yes, I know Father Nouwen wrote so eloquently about prayer, and about it being the life-breath of God. That is true in so many situations, yes. But, not in all.

Last week was World Refugee Day. I read what several prominent church leaders had to say about the incredibly sad situation that so many people are in, worldwide. Migrants, refugees, fleeing for their lives, in most cases. Fleeing because of war or conflict, violence, famine, flood, or any of a dozen other reasons.

And, I prayed. I prayed for these dear ones, all over the world. I prayed for the desperate or horrible situations from which they flee. I lamented. I wanted to raise my fists to God, crying out, “How could this happen?” But, I didn’t.

However—I am sadly aware that some of these refugees are incredibly hurt and angry. Some of these refugees and migrants cry out to God, asking about justice, about free passage to a stable life, about a decent place to sleep and food to eat. Things I know nothing about, since I have had stability and a roof over my head for all of my life. (Not necessarily the most emotionally-functional living situation, but still, pretty stable.)

I am afraid many refugees are too emotionally and psychologically hurt to pray. It pains me to think that, yet I realize it probably is a reality.

At the same time, I was so touched by Father Nouwen’s quote from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Song for the Asking.” [1] He speaks of allowing others to appear to him as they choose. “Then people can talk to one another and share their lives in a way where heart speaks to heart.” [2]

Alas, I do not think many refugees are quite ready to enter into dialogue, sharing their lives in such a way. I suspect their lives right now are much too desperate. I hope and pray that refugees worldwide can arrive at a place where prayer and thanksgiving become possible for them. I pray that such dialogue becomes a possibility for them, too. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our heartfelt 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] “Song for the Asking,” Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970, Columbia)

[2] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 32.

Don’t Forget God’s Word!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Psa 119-16 not forget God's word

Don’t Forget God’s Word!

These words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s are particularly startling: “Why is it that my thoughts depart so quickly from God’s Word and I find the necessary word is often not there for me in the time of need.” [1]

My delight is in Your statutes;

I will not forget Your Word.

Oh, can I relate! I know—firsthand—what it is like. I had a stroke as a freshman in high school. Yes, there were some physical effect. But, by and large, the effects on my speech center were long-lasting. Frustrating and even infuriating. I still have difficulty after starting sentences, having the concept in my head that I want to communicate, and—nothing. No words or phrases. I could not bring anything to mind. Literally, and spiritually.

“Because God’s Word was spoken to us in history, in the past, it is necessary for us to repeat what we have learned every day in order to remember it.” [2] As Bonhoeffer says, remembering is power. God has infinite power, too.

I am sure of God’s power—God’s love—God’s mighty acts because they worked for me in the past. That’s how I know that God will be there for me in the present (in the “now”) as well as the future…”remembering and repeating are necessary for blessedness, and forgetting is equivalent to falling away from the faith.” [3]

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have some mercy. Dear Lord, help me to remember Your Word whenever I need it. 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, 123.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 124.

In Which I Stay Close To God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jesus baby and Virgin Mary

In Which I Stay Close To God

Henri Nouwen’s suggestion for today? Think more about God. Have a prayer at the ready. Pray “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” [1]

It makes so much sense. (As in, “duh!”)

I know that what I allow my mind to dwell upon is important to my spiritual state, as well as to my prayer life. I appreciate the example Fr. Nouwen gives, of waiting in line at the supermarket. Instead of getting upset or angry because I am waiting too long, I can choose to pray, instead. Moreover, despite labors or losses, despite positive or negative happenings in life, I can decide to look at things from a positive angle.

Instead of letting my mind be absorbed by or distracted by all “the garbage of advertisements,” I can choose to think of God. I “can decide what [my] mind will receive.”[2] I can try to look for opportunities to serve God and serve others. Encourage others, too.

God, instead of mean, nasty and thoughtless things, help me to concentrate on positive things, kind things, helpful things. Thanks for the help, God!

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 10.

[2] Ibid.

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 24, 2015

kyrie notes

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

I rummaged around the Church of England’s prayer and worship website this evening. Lo and behold, I found several fascinating tidbits. Like, the part about Evening Prayer, also known as Compline. Or, one of the Divine Offices (or, services).

“The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all a service of quietness before the rest at the end of the day.” [1] Quiet, completion. Sounds like just the ticket to me.

I was particularly wondering about a centuries-old section found in many prayers and services: the Kyrie. Yes, I have been meaning to look into this part of the Evening Service (which I view at http://www.dailyoffice.org ). The part about the Kyrie Eleison. Webster’s definition of KYRIE: ‘a short liturgical prayer that begins with or consists of the words “Lord, have mercy.”’

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Repeated three times with a variation, this ancient prayer encompasses the deepest cry of many hearts.

Just as the Apostle Paul mentions in Romans 8, sometimes we have no words when we pray. And, sometimes the Holy Spirit prays for us, and interprets those groanings for us. And, sometimes, the Kyrie does the same thing. I know I have used the Kyrie in just that way, all the way down to groaning and groveling on the floor. (Or, the chair, or wherever I was sitting.)

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my rescue in time of great need. Thank You, Lord, for sending the Holy Spirit to interpret my groanings that are too deep for words. And, thank You, Lord, for listening to me whenever I need You, whenever I am feeling rotten or scared or anxious. Thank You for listening.

@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 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

[1] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/join-us-in-daily-prayer/introduction-to-daily-prayer.aspx

Flee from False Idols

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 9, 2015

big bubble downtown

Flee from False Idols

Today was a good day. A profitable day. Today, I encouraged some people. I transported some baked goods to a men’s residence. Other than that, I took some time to decompress, after a busy morning. And, I hope I did some good for God, today.

I don’t want to bore anyone, but not too much else happened in my life today. After the busy morning, I mean. Something else happened tonight, though. As I read through the Evening Prayer from dailyoffice.org, something leaped out at me from the psalm reading, Psalm 4.

“Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; *
how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?” “

I couldn’t help but think of many people here in my suburb. It’s an upwardly-mobile suburb, with a good number of people who make a lot of money. (My husband and I don’t, but, financially, we are not the typical residents of this suburb.) I immediately thought of people from my area who think they might be able to pay their way through life. Buy off problems and difficulties. Pay money for all sorts of things from health care to car insurance to expensive clothes. If anything happens in their lives? Chances are, many would throw money at it.

Therefore, the first thing that came to my mind upon reading this part of Psalm 4 was money equals a big false god. The more I thought about this fact, the more I thought it was true.

Dear Lord, please don’t let me fall into this money trap, this worship of a false idol. Help me have my mind focused on You and things that are pleasing to You. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.

@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 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 .

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penitence - Larry Poncho Brown

Penitence – Larry Poncho Brown

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. I’ve been doing so much already, it seems like a day-and-a-half has been packed into just a few short hours. Yes, most of what I’ve been doing today is quite necessary. But what does God want from me today? I really ought to slow down and check in with God. See what I need to do to help my spiritual self stay right with my Higher Power.

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of preparation before Easter. Today is also Ash Wednesday, a day of holy penitence, confession and absolution. I take the Lenten observance of the cross of ashes on the forehead as a serious, penitential act. But I find I’m not acting like it today. Sure, I’m doing necessary stuff, busy stuff. But I need to slow down. Do some inward reflection on my habitual thoughts, words and deeds. And most importantly, I am advised to do some inward reflection on the state of my soul.

First, before I can even confess my sins of thought, word and deed, and then even ask for God’s forgiveness (much less accept it into my heart and mind), I need to slow down enough to focus on spiritual things. I need to attend to things of God, and not to be distracted by the world. Or even by needful, necessary things that take my eyes off where they need to be. God, help me focus on You, on your forgiveness, grace and mercy.

As I turn to inward reflection, meditation and prayer, I also reflect upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After all, He is the reason that I am here, in prayer. His words to us—to me—to come to Him with our—my heavy burdens. It is Jesus who gives rest to the weary, the sinful, the world-worn. To those burdened with care, with worry, with anger, with unforgiveness, with resentment. God invites me to release all those negative, worrisome mental states and attitudes. God blesses me with the forgiveness of those sinful thoughts, words and deeds of commission (what I’ve done) as well as omission (those I have neglected to do).

Instead of merely writing about confession, forgiveness and pardon, all intellectual-like, let’s actually do it. Let’s pray.

Dear God, We confess to You that we have sinned. Each of us has stubbornly turned to our own way, like those sheep Isaiah talks about. Forgive me, God. Wash me clean, make me white as snow, dear God. Have mercy on me—on us, in Your loving-kindness. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in Your grace and mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza