Tag Archives: help me

Prayer: Comfort of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 9, 2019

Jesus, medieval face

Prayer: Comfort of God

We are introduced to Ignatian prayer immediately, in this first chapter: Ignatian prayer and the effects it can have, internally What a powerful introduction it is, too.

A woman, K., relates about a time of spiritual retreat, and how during one of her times of prayer she was moved to pray with and enter into the trial of Jesus. As she entered fully into that scene, she was moved to think, “How could Jesus stand there while everyone called for His death, I wondered. How could He be so calm?[1]

Oh, my. I have just been through some down, disheartening days myself, not only in my personal life, but in my ministry as well. Not mega-serious – not like a cancer diagnosis or a house burning down – but truly disheartening, nonetheless. I have been having difficulty with keeping my cool, being calm, as well as positive. I immediately focused on K.’s question.

K. continued to pray, and she saw God the Father holding Jesus, encouraging Him, and letting Jesus know that God would never let Him go. After a long period of prayer, K. was aware of God communicating that same thing to her: “I realized that the Father was within me as He was within Jesus. [God] was also holding me: ‘Do not be afraid. You are safe in My arms.’” [2]

I realized as I read these words that God indeed has treasures waiting for me in Ignatian prayer and meditation. (Yes, I have discovered these treasures in the past, at the times I’ve used these practices. But, it is so difficult to keep up the practices…)

How much more do I need to have the Lord remind me that I can also have these kinds of prayer experiences from time to time? Now, Father Gallagher openly says that these kinds of encounters and communication do not happen all the time, or even on a regular basis. But, if I practice Ignatian prayer and meditation regularly myself, I will have these experiences from time to time. What a stunning thing for me to look forward to.

Thank You, Lord, for Your presence with me. Thank You for being available to me when I pray, whenever I pray. Help me to be more regular in my prayer and meditation, please. Just as K. showed in her account, You are ready to bless, to come alongside, to comfort, to encourage any one who might need it. Oh, Lord, help me to pray.

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), 19.

[2] Ibid.

Love Prayer with Scripture

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 24, 2019

bible still life, van gogh

Love Prayer with Scripture

I love praying in the Ignatian way. Some of the most meaningful and memorable times of prayer I have had in recent years have been while praying using St. Ignatius’ suggestions of imagery and guidance with Scripture.

However—I do not pray in this way often enough. Why is it that I do not? (This is not a rhetorical question. I really, honestly wonder.) Why don’t I pray regularly in a manner that has proven itself meaningful to my heart and spirit, again and again?

My regular prayer life has shifted, though. When I was a chaplain, for almost ten years, I found it easier to keep the rhythms of prayer—and more innovative prayer styles—in my life. Not that I have ever found it easy to pray, but as I reflect, I find it was easier. Or, more straightforward. Somehow, less complicated.

I am also reflecting on my calling as a local church pastor. In March, in less than two months, I will celebrate my fifth anniversary at that UCC church in the Chicago suburbs. I love what I am doing now! Yes, I loved my position as a hospital and care center chaplain, and I love being a small church pastor, too. Except—now that my responsibilities have shifted, I seem to not have as much of the focus on my personal times of prayer.

One thing that does help me in my corporate prayer life is my (semi) regular attendance at Morning Prayer online. I am privileged to meet with an Episcopal website and ministry called www.dailyoffice.org for prayer several mornings a week. (I know I’ve spoken about them before on this blog.) Vicar Josh and the other friends at the Daily Office Network are a wonderful, supportive group of people. God bless them!

But, that still does not explain why I do not pray regularly in the Ignatian way. Perhaps that is why I have picked up this slim volume and am reading and blogging my way through it. Dear Lord, help me to be more regular in my personal prayer times with You. Help me to use this marvelous manner of praying that St. Ignatius advocated—regularly. I know You want me to be in regular contact with You. Help me—help all of us—come before You as trusting children, in prayer. In Jesus’ blessed name 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

 

 

How Should I Then Pray?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 26, 2016

jigsaw-puzzles-615x200-ehow-images-800x800

How Should I Then Pray?

A new year. Yes, tomorrow begins the liturgical year again, with the first Sunday in Advent. That season of hope and expectation, where we wait for the birth of the Christ Child with baited breath. Well, not really. That is, not everybody does. Even in the church.

I feel like I am running as fast as I can, and I still haven’t caught up. I don’t have a chance of catching up. (Alice, I fully sympathize with you in your conversation with the Red Queen.) The turning of the seasons is getting faster and faster all the time.

These two seemingly disparate things are connected. So many people are scattered and fragmented—including me. Pulled in many different directions. It is increasingly difficult to focus on one thing (even when it’s so important, as the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ). That is, when there are so very many things calling for my attention.

Dear Lord, help me to slow down. Help me to sift through the urgent and important, and focus on the one thing that I need. The one thing that gives me nurture and strength. My relationship with You, dear Lord. Help me bring my other needs, pains, joys and concerns to You, too, because then I will not be distracted. Gracious God, in Your mercy, hear my 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

Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 27, 2016

peace-dove-languages

Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Sunday was the day I spoke at the Evanston Peace Festival. Actually, the Festival was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but I spoke on the final day. Later in the afternoon. I was honored to be included, especially among such wonderful company.

Of course, in the week before, we had the International Day of Peace on Wednesday, and the Interfaith Gathering for Meditation and Prayer. An interview on WCGO-AM on Thursday concerning the many peace observances during the week. The Interfaith Walk for Peace on Saturday. And then, speaking on the Pursuing Peace Project on Sunday afternoon.

The end of a full week of peaceful, peace-bridging, peace-making activities.

I felt dog-tired at the end of all of these activities. It was more than just tired, I felt like just a bit of butter scraped over a large slice of bread. Too much. Too much of a worthwhile thing.

At least I tried to keep some schedule of prayer last week. Praying with my online prayer group, www.dailyoffice.org . And, Benedictine prayer on my own, three times last week. I felt a little like Martin Luther when he mentioned being too busy NOT to pray.

Now, it’s on to the next thing, which is next Sunday. World Communion Sunday, and the celebration of some young people taking their first communion. Lots to do! There is always a next Sunday, in the local parish. Yes, we remember peace, and interfaith, and getting along with each other. Every day! Yet, the calendar goes round and round. On to the next thing.

Dear God, help me to finish up with the peace-making activities well. And, help me to prepare for the World Communion Sunday celebration! 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

Pray for the Peace of Our Need

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 2, 2016

PEACE peace dove different languages

Pray for the Peace of Our Need

It is a new month. February (my birthday month!). I have been wondering what to pray for in this new month, and peace came to mind. With all of the bickering, fighting, dissension and alienation in the world today, I think the world needs some peace. Certainly the city of Chicago and the suburbs surrounding it need peace.

Not only does this country need peace, but also the political process which will go on for some nine months. Not only the disparate regions and tribes and political parties of the world need peace, but also the warring nations and factions and opposition groups from all over.

And—I need some peace. Very much so.

I opened one of my lovely collections of prayer, The Oxford Book of Prayer. I turned to the small section on peace, and found one from the editor, George Appleton (Prayer 225). [1] In it, Mr. Appleton has the words “We pray for peace … The peace of Your will/The peace of our need.”

That last line of the prayer struck me. “The peace of our need.” Our corporate need (and needs), as well as each individual’s need. On top of that, I considered “the peace of my need.”

What is the peace of my need, Lord? I know I did not pray for very long. Perhaps I didn’t listen hard enough, or calm my heart enough to hear Your voice, Lord. Please, tell me. Help me to find out. Let Your peace infiltrate my heart and mind. I pray for Your peace—like a quiet rabbit or mouse—to make its way softly into my very soul. I pray this not only for myself, dear God, but for all who wish for peace. 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 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), 78.

Pray for a Positive Attitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, January 23, 2016

glass half full, half empty

Pray for a Positive Attitude

Is the glass half full? Or, half empty? Some people might even complain that their glass is cracked and that the water keeps leaking out. Having such a poisonous attitude has such a negative effect. I know.

Being around chronically negative people had a damaging effect on my formerly-positive attitude. Thank God, I am no longer in regular contact with someone like that, but I remember what kind of down-in-the-mouth effect that attitude had on me!

I can pray for God’s light to shine inside and out. Of me, that is. I can ask God to help me with relationships, and give me a glass-half-full kind of point of view. I’ve had enough with negativity in my life, relationships, and my work.

But, what if I have nasty things happen in my life? Things that cause anxiety, or frustration, or anger, or despair? What if I get a blasted sinus headache, or a dear loved one gets in a car accident, or if someone in my family gets terminal cancer or a massive stroke? What happens then?

I am feeling particularly involved, right now. So much to pray about. So much to be concerned about. Gracious God, dear Lord. Protect my loved ones. Guard all those I hold in my heart. Help all those who feel anxiety, fear, unquiet, rage, despair. Lord, let the peace that passes all understanding guard the hearts and minds of all those in need of a touch from You, right now. In Jesus’s precious, healing name we all 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

Poor. Powerless. Emptied of God-ness.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 16, 2015

paschal mystery wall cross

Poor. Powerless. Emptied of God-ness.

All-powerful, mighty, wielding authority. (One might be tempted to think that this was God Almighty!) But, no! What a juxtaposition. Poor, powerless. Just as the Apostle Paul states in the second chapter of Philippians, the Eternal Son (soon to be called Jesus) empties Himself willingly. He becomes a helpless baby born to a virgin in the small town of Bethlehem.

That power dynamic can be so tempting, so seductive. I have seen individuals get drunk on power. Have their heads swell with the bare thought of power and authority, not even the actuality of it. Dear Lord, preserve me from this insidious malady!

Over the centuries, the followers of Jesus have certainly come to grief over such a radical character flaw. Too bad that the quote (from Lord Acton) sprang to my mind so readily: “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

All I need do to see this demonstrated is look without doing much digging at all. Looking at the leaders of the Early Church, you would think that everyone—no matter their national origin, slave or free, color or creed—would live together in peace and harmony. But, no! The Gnostic and Arian controversies divided the Church (and believers) for several centuries. And that was just the beginning. Males gradually got more and more power and authority in the church. Over Adventpeople, places and things.

A quote from Henri Nouwen seems appropriate for us to consider. “What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.”

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me love You more and more. The more I love God, the more I will come to see how much God wants me to be loving to others. So, help me, God. Please.

@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