Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

How Shall We Meditate?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bible with flowers, drawing

How Shall We Meditate?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had excellent advice on prayer and meditation. His suggestions to the seminarians at Finkenwalde were so pertinent.

His depth of experience in meditation and prayer provided such substance, especially the way in which Bonhoeffer taught how to meditate and pray using Scripture. “There is free meditation and meditation that is bound to Scripture. We advise the latter for the sake of the certainty of our prayers and the discipline of our thoughts.” [1]

Bonhoeffer’s suggestion to have all the seminarians meditate on the same passage of Scripture really intrigued me. Not only were the same few verses of the Bible meant to speak to each individual’s heart and mind and spirit, but moreover, the seminarians would then have the opportunity to share with each other. They might be able to discuss the passage even further, and really chew on, or meditate over the Word of God.

He gives instruction on prayer, too, as the seminarians compose themselves for the morning time of meditation. “If during meditation our thoughts move to persons who are near to us or to those we are concerned about, then let them linger there. That is a good time to pray for them.” [2] Bonhoeffer was quite serious both about prayer for others and continued prayer for the salvation of our own souls.

His call for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon all who meditate that day is an excellent reminder for all of us. The Holy Spirit enlightens us on a regular basis, giving us deeper insight into the text.

These few insights merely scratch the surface of prayer and meditation instruction, as far as Dietrich Bonhoeffer is concerned. (My sneaking feelings of inferiority are rising within, again. Note to self: this has got to be the result of my re-reading this superb book…)

@chaplaineliza

 

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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), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 14, 2016

peace-i-leave-with-you-cross

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

This is a blog on prayer, and matters of prayer.

I seldom do this, but I would appreciate prayer for an older relative’s family, in another state. A recent death of the senior. I haven’t seen any of the family for years, yet I feel the loss.

Reflecting on John 14:27, it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus gives me peace. He offers me peace in troubled times, in grieving times. Plus, I can offer that peace to others. Yes, I can grieve. My friends and family can grieve. However, the Holy Spirit has promised to come alongside and comfort. Not as the world tries to distract, but real and genuine comfort and encouragement.

Gracious God, thank You for the peace and serenity that Jesus promised in this verse. Help me to bring some of that peace and comfort to my family. I pray that You hold all who loved my relative in Your everlasting arms of care and concern. Please encourage them even in the midst of their grief and sadness. 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Fire of the Spirit, Hear Us

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Holy Spirit descending dove

Fire of the Spirit, Hear Us

Do you have allergies? I do, unfortunately. Allergic to several different kinds of molds. So, autumn is not one of the best times for me. Sneezes, snuffles, eyes stream, tickle in the back of the throat. And, yes, I do have a roundabout way that this ties in to the topic for today.

The topic of today’s prayer is Gifts of the Spirit. is The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “For Thine is the Kingdom.” (Prayer 508, page 131) [1] As I read this prayer from the pen of St. Hildegard of Bingen, I cannot help but feel badly. When most people consider the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s gifting, they get excited. (Can’t help it!)

Sadly, I am not up to it. A mild sinus headache is making me miserable, and it all stems from my fall allergies. (Sorry, Lord.) Besides, the air pressure outside is particularly low. It will be raining for about 24 hours, and boy, can I tell.

I suspect Hildegard had problems, too. If not exactly like mine, at least similar. (Perhaps she even might have had allergies.) Anyway, here’s the prayer:

“Fire of the Spirit, life of the lives of creatures,/ spiral of sanctity, bond of all natures,/glow of charity, lights of clarity, taste/of sweetness to sinners, be with us and hear us./Composer of all things, light of all the risen,/ key of salvation, release from the dark prison,/hope of all unions, scope of chastities, joy/in the glory, strong honour, be with us and hear us.”

Dear Holy Spirit, I read that we are supposed to be celebrating and being joy-filled. Yet, even the mention of Your Fire cannot help me to excuse myself. Please change my insides. Please, Lord, heal me. Restore me. Change me.

@chaplaineliza

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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), 131.

Center on the Vine? Abide? Remain?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 29, 2015

VINE Vine stained glass John 15

Center on the Vine? Abide? Remain?

I purposely chose a Name of God that has given me difficulty for years. This particular Name comes from John 15:5. My Name of God for today is Vine.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” This is Jesus talking to the disciples in the Upper Room Discourse. I have had difficulty—for years and years!—with that simple word “abide.” For the life of me, I could not get the concept through my head. I kept going around and around. As far as John 15 was concerned, “abide” meant “remain.” And “remain” meant “reside.” Which also meant “abide.” Argh!!

I finally had a kind of a breakthrough while reading a bible commentary on John about two years ago. I can’t for the life of me remember which commentary this was, but the writer drew a comparison of camping versus building a proper house. When I abide in Christ, I am taking up residence, putting down roots. It is no fly by night kind of thing—unlike temporary camping, where I could set up a tent for a night or two, and be gone the next.

Since I had that breakthrough and now am better able to comprehend what Jesus was saying in John 15, I thought I might choose this particular Name.

One might think that the words Jesus used in this chapter might have helped me, or given me a mental picture. No. No such luck here. I have no idea why, but I have had difficulty with this image and this concept for years and years. (And I am usually a visual person!)

However, I persevere. I tried to center and focus with this Name of God. I even tried some Ignatian-prayer-type focus. Alas, I am not very good with this meditative type of prayer. Centering and focusing? Not right now, apparently. At least not today.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I did try to center and focus on You today. I wonder what You think of me as I founder and flounder about, in prayer? I did not have the sense that the Holy Spirit was as present as at other times. (I know, I very well could be wrong about that.) But I felt particularly un-focused. Dear Lord, the best I can say is that I tried. And, I hope that my prayers to You rise before You like incense. Thank You for listening.

@chaplaineliza

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

Spirit of God, Help Me Center

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 28, 2015

Gen 1-2 Spirit of God brooding over the water

Spirit of God, Help Me Center

When I pray, I sometimes ask for God’s help in praying. I know the Apostle Paul specifies in Romans 8 that the Spirit of God helps us even when we don’t know the words to pray. What about when my word—Name of God I chose for today is Spirit of God?

I was intrigued and moved by the Scripture reference paired with this Name of God: Genesis 1:2. I know that verse, and I know the image I saw in my mind, immediately upon shutting my eyes and beginning to center.

Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.” (The Amplified Bible translation.) This mentions how the Spirit of God—the Ruach ha Kodesh, or Holy Spirit—brooded over the unformed creation.

Immediately I saw Something (or Someone) in my mind, hovering over an ocean—and yet not an ocean. Brooding over some space that looked like a land mass, and yet was not, quite. That Spirit of God was moving with love in Her heart.

Oh, did I mention the word “Spirit” in Hebrew is feminine? That’s why I used a feminine pronoun, because otherwise the masculine/feminine word agreement won’t jive.

The second impression I received as I centered was that of the Creation of Narnia, in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. As I saw Aslan beginning to sing, I also thought of the Spirit of God. Kind of a mash-up of narratives, I know, but it was way cool. In my mind, anyway.

Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for this gentle, loving time of prayer. I am so glad I focused, using this Name of 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

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, September 18, 2015

JESUS you shall call Him

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

For today, the Name of God is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (among other places). My word—Name of God for today is Jesus.

Matthew 1 has Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, finding out about Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph wishes to be as considerate as possible, and decides to break off the engagement quietly. An angel intervenes.

I wonder how speechless I would be if an angel came to me in a dream? And not only came to me, but gave me specific instructions and encouragement? I mean, specific to my precise life decisions and future life course? I cannot even imagine how speechless, amazed, awe-struck, even groveling in the earth I would be.

Yet, that is the exact situation Joseph found himself in.

As reported by Matthew, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

So. That was the Name of God I chose to use today for Centering Prayer. I had a fruitful time of prayer! (Much more fruitful than yesterday, for example.) Jesus. Joshua. Yeshua. Jesus saves. Salvation. All of that and more were going through my head. I felt much more connected than scattered as I prayed.

Thank You, Lord Jesus for coming into the world, being a Mediator between me and God, and providing me with salvation. What a marvelous thing You did. Thank You, thank You.

@chaplaineliza

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

Praying, Centering with Holy Spirit

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

HOLY SPIRIT I will ask the Father John 14

Praying, Centering with Holy Spirit

Today’s Name of God is similar to yesterday’s Name of God. Except—different. Different because this is one Person of the Trinity. One Name, one Part of the Trinity. (I want to speak properly about the Trinity! (Yes, Steve, I’m thinking of you and our Systematic Theology class in seminary. You drummed that into all of our heads, and for that I am grateful.)

My word of the day for Centering Prayer? My word—Name of God for today is Holy Spirit. This Name of God comes from John 14. Jesus is talking to His disciples in the Upper Room and tells them the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name.

I’ve already centered and reflected on “Advocate,” earlier this month. But, “Holy Spirit?” Because of the Name’s common usage, I tend to think that this Name of God is either well-worn, and therefore not considered to be an elevated or exalted Name; or, this Name of God is highlighted. It stands out, in some ways, and is especially noted as a Holy, set apart Name.

In Hebrew, “Holy Spirit” is ruach ha kodesh. This is one of my absolute favorite Hebrew phrases (or, Names). Yes, the primary meaning of ruach is “spirit,” or, Spirit, depending on the usage. (It is a feminine noun. How about that?) Plus, in some instances, ruach means “wind.” And, kodesh means “holy.”

I loved studying Hebrew. It was one of the most difficult classes I ever took, but I loved it. This added understanding gave me a whole different appreciation for the term or Name “Holy Spirit.”

Although I did not receive any earthshaking communication from God when I centered today, I was able to revisit the concept of Holy Spirit/ruach ha kodesh. I am grateful. And, it’s good to remember.

Dear Holy Spirit, help me to think about You as my Comforter and Advocate. But more than that, help me to think of You as the warm, loving Breeze wafting through my heart. Help me welcome You as the bracing Wind shaking me out of my complacency. Thank You for teaching me all about God, as I understand God. Thank You!

@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