Tag Archives: helpless

Clean the Clutter from My Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 12, 2015


Clean the Clutter from My Soul

Oh, boy did I need this chapter! Not just for today, but for a lot longer than just today. “Spiritual nourishment,” which is what I understand Sydney Banks to describe as “soul thinking,” seems to me to stem from “compassion, love and wisdom.” [1]

I resonate so deeply with today’s chapter from Handbook for the Soul. Yes, for sure I can get all caught up in negative thinking. I can easily get stuck on that hopeless, helpless hamster wheel in my head, where all I doing (thinking!) is coming up with negative expectations. Going down into that deep pit of useless self-pity. Or even worse.

I love the example Banks gave, where he mentions an imaginary person he names Martin. [2] Just a crooked mental detour on the way home can cause Martin to go down a dark, miserable path, ensuring he has a dark, miserable night.

How much better to think positive thoughts, which will lead a person down nourishing, even uplifting paths. “This moment—now—truly is the only moment you have. It is beautiful and special. Life is simply a series of such moments to be experiences one right after another.” [3]

This kind of mindset, learning to live in the NOW, is what I need to strive for. This living for TODAY (not yesterday, and certainly not tomorrow!) is what One Day at a Time living is all about. This is the way of life I try to live. Just for today. I find this One Day at a Time life to be quite sensible, not to mention described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus urges His followers to concern themselves with one day at a time—today. Each day has concerns of its own, as He says at the end of Matthew 6. I take the words of Jesus to heart. And, I find echoes of His encouragement all over the place, like right here.

The present moment is the most important moment for me, helping me to stay connected to the NOW. Plus, living in the present moment helps me to be encouraged, urges my heart to stay positive, and nourishes my soul. All wonderful things! God willing, I may continue on this path.

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 74.

[2] Ibid, 75-76.

[3] Ibid, 76.

The Prayer List

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 27, 2015

pray pray pray

The Prayer List

I have had a love/hate relationship with prayer lists, over the past several decades. Currently, I am helped by lists, and I readily use them. But I can remember times that I was burdened by them, even to the point where I felt practically sinful when I missed the time I had set aside to pray with my prayer list. (Not good, believe me!)

It got so bad, I would get the really strong impression that the Enemy would be there, ready to pounce on me and bash me upside the head with a big two by four. Oh, and the two by four had the words “Prayer List” scrawled across it in dark, messy printing, all capitals.

I finally figured out this was not beneficial and nurturing to my walk with God, and my continuing relationship in prayer. Or, with prayer. Or, something like that.

Believe me, this area of prayer—and especially prayer lists—is something my spiritual director and I periodically revisit. So, yes. I am aware of my love/hate relationship, and I am talking with several mature believers about it, from time to time.

I bring up the topic of the The List because our trusty guide in prayer, Rev. Howell, brings it up today, too. He is in favor of lists. (I am, too. For the most part, and for the majority of people interested in prayer.)

Sometimes when people tell me about prayer requests, I feel helpless, terribly sad, or grieving inside. And yes, I wonder sometimes what my measly prayers to God would ever accomplish, given such overwhelming odds against. It is in these sad situations that I wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Howell. Prayer is love. [1]

Moreover, as I tell people who request prayer from me and our church’s prayer chain, prayer is also encouragement, comfort and support. When I am alone in my grief, or pain, or suffering, that alone-ness can be fearful, anxious, even hopeless. But when I share my requests with others, they and their prayers can come alongside of me, encouraging me. I can gain comfort, just knowing that others are thinking about me and my request. And, I can feel supported by others, and most importantly, by God.

Thank You, God, for the love, encouragement, comfort and support that comes in prayer.

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

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 85.