Tag Archives: helping

Praying, Helping, As God Would Have Us

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 29, 2017

HELP help people even if they can't help back

Praying, Helping, As God Would Have Us

Hurricane Harvey touched down on the Texas coast several days ago. Since then, catastrophic winds, wild weather, and especially flooding have overwhelmed southern Texas. And, Harvey is not done yet. By no means.

As Harvey continues to wend its way north and east, the deluge of rain continues, all up and down that part of the United States. I pray for all of those affected, and their loved ones. I pray for all first responders. I pray for all of those who are working in logistical support. And especially, I pray for all health care personnel. Those caring for physical health, yes! Also for those who care for mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.

I am going to interrupt my reflections on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Meditating on the Word, instead considering a passage from a short book Bonhoeffer wrote for and about the young men in the secret seminary in Germany, Finkenwalde. Life Together.

Let me say, first of all, that I have not seen accounts of very many people in Texas acting in the way Pastor Dietrich describes. Being so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good, so to speak.

The passage from Life Together: “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks…” [1]

However, as I read this passage myself, I realized how tempting and how needed this reminder is. Not only for pastors and seminary professors, but also for Joe and Jane Christian. “It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they allow nothing to disturb them.” [2]

Pastor Dietrich is correct. Sometimes, I suspect many people just do not see what is in front of their noses. Therefore, Bonhoeffer felt strongly that he needed to make this warning. As I considered Hurricane Harvey and many well-meaning religious people near and far, I reflected on their tunnel vision. Yes, even these folks consider their work, their business, so important that they allow nothing to turn them from it. Even a hurricane.

The tremendous outpouring of compassion, caring and love for the people of Texas and surrounding affected areas is something we all can get behind. Yes, we can pray. Certainly! Prayer is a way of showing love and concern, of that we can be sure. In addition, we can do what Jesus did and show love with our actions—with time, talent and treasure. Please, consider donating to some worthy disaster relief ministry. (My church and I are contributing to UCC Disaster Ministries. I also know that Presbyterian Disaster Relief and Catholic Relief are also excellent choices.)

Dear Lord, we do pray for all those affected by this hurricane and its aftermath. Lord, be the refuge and strength for many, many people to run to. Thank You, dear Lord. It’s in Your mercy we all pray, 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] Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 99.

[2] Ibid.

Day #3 – In the Garden? In Prayer!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 19, 2015

fresh vegetables

Day #3 – In the Garden? In Prayer!

As I read today’s suggestion, I remembered something I had been thinking about, a few months ago. Having a community garden at our church.

Let me back up. In today’s reading (in 40acts: Act #3), I read about an empty lot at the end of a road. Formerly a dumping ground, a forlorn piece of useless property, it has been transformed. Cleared out, cleaned up and planted with some fruit trees, this community orchard is now a lovely area! All because some people got together, cared about the property, had a viable plan, and carried it out.

That’s what this 40acts of generosity and kindness is all about! Each day, a generous suggestion is put forward. Today, the suggestion is to 1) clean up an outside area and 2) plant!

Today’s act is, as the Day # 3 post says, being generous to our environment. Helping the world to be a more beautiful place in which to live. What a wonderful thing to do! Just as God gave humanity the world at the beginning—in Genesis—for humans to tend and take care of, so I am urged to be a good steward and clean up, clear out a little area. Even a larger area, and see whether I can make the area more beautiful.

As I mentioned when I began this post, I had been thinking about doing this exact thing: starting a small community garden at our church. We have a good amount of land, and this could be a great thing for the area food pantry! The vegetables grown in the church’s garden could go to support the food pantry.

I’ve seen similar, raised box gardens in my area, with chicken wire around the perimeter of the boxes. (So rabbits and other varmints won’t be as likely to munch on the growing vegetables.) The garden spaces are three feet by six feet, or four feet by eight feet. Sounds like a great possibility! Pray with me, that I can get some interest in the box gardens.

I hope so. I pray so. God, may it be so!


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.

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Helping? Praying? Being There for My Friend!

Upon reflection, I thought this was such a wonderful post on prayer and meditation. It comes from my other blog–A Year of Being Kind. (Apologies to those who have seen it before.) I hope this post blesses many.

A Year of Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, October 26, 2014

Centering-Prayer-hands holding candle

Helping? Being There for My Friend!

I have a friend who lives in a neighboring state. We recently had dinner when she was in Chicago for some business. We have gotten in the habit of having lively conversations over social media. It is so enjoyable! And I hope it’s mutually beneficial, as well.

My friend told me recently about a long, difficult day she had at work. On top of that, the situation at her home was not particularly peaceful. After the stressful day at work, of course she was anxious and frustrated. (I’ve been there, too—I know!) She gave me a play-by-play on her irritating home situation. And I commiserated. Good grief! I know how families can be sometimes.

I had a sudden thought. I asked my friend whether she wanted me to give her a brief meditation…

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All I Need is—Love?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, February 5, 2014

LOVE heart candle flower

All I Need is—Love?

As I got ready to settle down for my time of prayer and meditation this morning, I couldn’t find the book on prayer I intended to use for my prayer time. I had a specific person and burden on my mind, and I wanted that particular book! Alas, I could not find it. However, I do have several others. (Ha.) Anyone looking at my bookshelf on prayer and meditation would see at least two dozen books. I nipped over to the bookshelf. Handy, having several bookcases in the bedroom. I perused the shelf on prayer, and I grabbed a book that I had not read thoroughly before.

This book was given to me as a Christmas present from a good friend, several years ago: The World According to Mister Rogers – Important Things to Remember. It’s not a “proper” book, but instead a selection of short readings by Mister Rogers, loosely grouped together in sections. I knew that Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister. He had attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary before he became so well-known and beloved, as he dedicated his life to serving and helping children through public television.

I turned to the section on Understanding Love. Amazing thing: the first page I turned to was a page that happened to hold some meaningful insights into the burden I had in mind. I read the vignette from Fred Rogers’s life. He was visiting a woman in the hospital who had received a terminal diagnosis for recurring cancer. This was not just any woman, but a preeminent teacher of doctors and psychiatrists, and a consultant to professionals world-wide. She had a thorough knowledge of the development of human beings. Fred came to see her in the hospital, where she was quite weak and frail, but still fully awake and aware.

I quote from Fred Rogers: “Some of the time I just held her hand and we said nothing. We didn’t have to. After one of those silences, Helen said to me, “Do you ever pray for people, Fred?” “Of course I do.” So I said, “Dear God, encircle us with Thy love wherever we may be.” And Helen replied, “That’s what it is, isn’t it? —it’s love. That’s what it’s all about.”

At the end of the day, the summation of a brilliant woman who had spent her life studying the intricacies and complexities of human development was love. Love is what it’s all about.

Accordingly, I prayed for God’s love to encircle each of my children. I prayed for them individually, and together. I prayed for God’s love to encircle my husband, and I made special mention of his health (a common, garden-variety cold, but still). And, I prayed for God’s love to encircle me. I could vividly feel God’s arms of care and concern round about me, too. A stunning experience of prayer. And of the love of God.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for turning me towards this book of Mister Rogers. Thank You for this awesome, welcoming experience of prayer. God, I pray for my children and my friends, my family and my acquaintances, that each of them might feel encircled by Your love. Wherever each of us may be on our separate journeys. I pray that especially for each one reading these words—may each one feel encircled by You. God, You know our experiences, our trials, our joys. Thank You for Your everlasting arms of love. In Your grace, mercy, and love, amen.