Tag Archives: hesitant

God’s Love = Unconditional Love

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LOVE heart candle flower

God’s Love = Unconditional Love

So many people—that’s fallible people—have conditions riding on their love. “If” I do this, or “if” I am that. “If” you have a good education or “if” you have good connections. “If” he wears the latest fashions or “if” she drives the fanciest car. Unseen things, too. Expectations, and suppositions. Keeping up with the Joneses for love, and trying to get the brass ring on the merry-go-round that stands for love, even splurging on endless lottery tickets to win love.

As Henri Nouwen mentions, “There are endless ‘ifs’ hidden in the world’s love. These ‘ifs’ enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. The world’s love is and always will be conditional.” [1]

Ah, Lord. I am pierced to the heart. Do You love me? My fallible, self-conscious heart wants to know. Do You love me? That tentative, frightened, anxious child-inside is hesitant. Do You love me? Somehow, even though You have told me again and again, and over again, I just cannot believe it in my heart. Sometimes, that is. Usually, I can, though.

But there are those times …

Forgive me, Lord Jesus.

I believe. Help my unbelief.


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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 34.

Day #26 – Conference? Grief? Hugs!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 18, 2015

a hug is all you need

Day #26 – Conference? Grief? Hugs!

Today was the third day for my conference. Substance abuse. I need continuing education hours, and this week is the annual time for those in my certification group to have their conference. Between yesterday and today, I racked up the hours on grief, loss, trauma, and the subsequent effects those emotions have on substance abusers. On top of that, I attended an interfaith panel discussion at another location, tonight. On—end of life issues.

Yes, cheery subjects, one and all. (Not really.)

However—these are very real subjects, and someone needs to be familiar with them, if not knowledgeable about them. I’ve worked as a chaplain for most of the last ten years, and had special training in grief, loss, and trauma (just to name several areas). So, even though I am accustomed to such serious topics, I really could use today’s suggestion from #40acts!

Giving people hugs just because seems to me to be a great thing to do! It is true that I am somewhat hesitant to hug people because of my chaplain training. (It just isn’t the thing to do!) I try to understand the boundaries between people, and I try to be as kind, courteous and listening as possible. But, still—hugging people releases all sorts of endorphins. My good friend Dan and I did exactly that. And, a great big bear hug, too!

As long as the person I hug gives permission, and as long as I am comfortable with it, super! It’s good for me, it’s good for the person I hug. Now, if you are hesitant to do this, you can always try sending virtual hugs—just as the post suggests. And—get more adventurous, if you can!

Remember, people all over can use hugs. Or cheery hellos. Whether at home, at work, in school or in the hospital, hugs can be healing! Therapeutic! Helpful and nurturing! I pray that you might be encouraged to hug. Each and every day.


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

God? Wooing Me?

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 1, 2014


God? Wooing Me?

The other day, I prayed using an excellent book on spiritual direction and prayer that I’ve mentioned before. (The author is the Rev. Martin Smith, a skilled spiritual director and now a retired Episcopal priest. His book The Word Is Very Near You is subtitled A Guide to Praying with Scripture.) As I read several pages, he gave the example of prayer using virtually any passage of Scripture, from the Old as well as the New Testament.

Sure, it’s easy to pray using the Gospels, or the Epistles, or Psalms. And, Proverbs and the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures can be used for prayer with a minimum of difficulty. However, Fr. Martin gave an example from Song of Songs. I must admit, I have not even looked at Song of Songs for at least ten years. Not since I read the whole Bible cover to cover. (I’ve done this five times. True. Not as many as some prayer- and Scripture-reading giants I know, but still. I got a really great overview of the whole Bible because I did this.)

The verses that were suggested were 2:10-11. I looked at the two verses, and considered. Reflected. Okay, I thought. Fr. Martin suggested it, so I’ll give this a try. Accordingly, I settled down and prepared myself for a time of prayer and meditation.

The thoughts that gradually came into my head were deep and loving. Wow, God. You want to woo me into a relationship with You! Really? Really?? I’m not used to that kind of language from You, God. I know—that is, I think I am in a relationship with You, already. But by meditating on these verses, I get the sense that God wants to show me another facet of relationship. Perhaps, draw me deeper, into a whole new level. The companionship, the easy rapport. Is that it? Is that what God wants me to begin to understand?

I’ll need to get used to this idea, God. I’m not dismissing it, no! Never! Just getting used to it, that’s all.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thanks for the suggestion to pray using Song of Songs. (Fr. Martin has such excellent ideas!) God, please forgive me for doubting You, for being hesitant to think of You in such realistic, down-to-earth terms. Thanks for your boundless, deep, generous love for me—for us. Help us to be so aware of Your love for us that we naturally show love for one another. In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.