Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 24, 2015

kyrie notes

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

I rummaged around the Church of England’s prayer and worship website this evening. Lo and behold, I found several fascinating tidbits. Like, the part about Evening Prayer, also known as Compline. Or, one of the Divine Offices (or, services).

“The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all a service of quietness before the rest at the end of the day.” [1] Quiet, completion. Sounds like just the ticket to me.

I was particularly wondering about a centuries-old section found in many prayers and services: the Kyrie. Yes, I have been meaning to look into this part of the Evening Service (which I view at http://www.dailyoffice.org ). The part about the Kyrie Eleison. Webster’s definition of KYRIE: ‘a short liturgical prayer that begins with or consists of the words “Lord, have mercy.”’

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Repeated three times with a variation, this ancient prayer encompasses the deepest cry of many hearts.

Just as the Apostle Paul mentions in Romans 8, sometimes we have no words when we pray. And, sometimes the Holy Spirit prays for us, and interprets those groanings for us. And, sometimes, the Kyrie does the same thing. I know I have used the Kyrie in just that way, all the way down to groaning and groveling on the floor. (Or, the chair, or wherever I was sitting.)

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my rescue in time of great need. Thank You, Lord, for sending the Holy Spirit to interpret my groanings that are too deep for words. And, thank You, Lord, for listening to me whenever I need You, whenever I am feeling rotten or scared or anxious. Thank You for listening.


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/join-us-in-daily-prayer/introduction-to-daily-prayer.aspx

Communion-Colored Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 22, 2015

little lamb

Communion-Colored Prayer

I prayed through the Evening Prayer from www.dailyoffice.org on my laptop this evening. I noticed one piece of the service, in particular. In the Collect for Saturday, a portion of this prayer read as follows: “Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

This part of the Saturday prayer always seemed to just “be there.” Never particularly standing out for me. I know I come from a Reformed tradition that doesn’t ordinarily observe Communion (or, the Eucharist) on a weekly basis. The congregation I serve observes Communion on the first Sunday of the month. (I wonder whether that frequency colors the way I view the Collect for Saturday? Interesting thought. I will need to meditate on that for a while.)

However, tonight this part of the prayer—the Paschal mystery part—stood out for me. Front and center, as my dad used to say.

I was so curious I went to the Episcopal Church’s website and looked up Paschal Mystery. Here’s some of what I found. “Paschal means pertaining to Easter (the Pascha) and to its antecedent the Hebrew Passover. The Passover has the promise of redemption and the gift of freedom at the Red Sea. In the NT, the Paschal concept includes Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ascension and gift of the Holy Spirit, baptism, the calling of a new people from every nation and language, and participation in the mystery through eating and drinking with our Risen Lord.” [1]

Wow! That’s most of what I preached in my sermon tonight!

I filled the pulpit for a pastor friend who’s away on vacation this week. I preached on John 6, the bread of life come down from heaven. This statement on the Paschal Mystery from the Episcopal Church hit most of the highlights. Also, I had the opportunity to celebrate communion tonight with the congregation I visited.

I think the combination of the sermon I preached, the Scripture passage I read, and the opportunity to observe communion all contributed to my particular notice of this Collect for Saturday. All three of these factors helped me to reach more deeply in my prayers tonight. To come before God in a different way this evening.

Thanks, God, for a new appreciation of the Paschal Mystery. Truly, I had never really reflected on that particular phrase, until tonight. Dear Lord, help me to bring that appreciation and joy into my worship of You tomorrow morning. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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] http://archive.episcopalchurch.org/109399_14976_ENG_HTM.htm

There’s a Sweet Spirit in This Place

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, July 11, 2015

Trinity - Holy Spirit

There’s a Sweet Spirit in This Place

Holy Spirit. Heavenly Dove. Third member of the Trinity. So mysterious, yet so needful. You are a presence, a comforter, a helper to me. Coming alongside of me, helping me even when I am not sure You are there. I mean, here. I mean to say, with me.

These verses from this chapter of Praying the New Testament as Psalms intrigue me. They surprise me. Not because of the content backing up these modern verses, which I’ve known so well for decades. But, because of the format.

I was taken aback when I considered this to be such a moving psalm. (Yes, it is a modern adaptation, it is a psalm!) However, I’ve always seen these as more intellectual statements, printed in the New Testament. (And, sometimes, the transition to another format is quite a shake to the systems.)

Here’s a verse I felt was incredibly moving, adapted from the Gospel of Luke: “Send me to proclaim release to the captives,/recovery of sight to the blind,/and to let the oppressed go free.”[1] I know when Jesus read these words in the Hebrew Scriptures, He knew exactly how and when He was going to fulfill those words. I do not. However, as I read them in this different format, Luke’s words were packed with new meaning for me. Fresh import. I mean,

Sweet Holy Spirit, You seem to be the quiet one, the restful one. I know there is so much going on under Your mysterious surface. Holy Spirit, help me to act in a courageous way, in keeping with You and Your purposes. Lead me in a powerful way, ready to follow Your will and Your ways. I pray these words in Jesus’ risen name, amen.


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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 100.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 10, 2015

LOVE heart He loved first

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Today’s modern psalm is on one of the most striking attributes of God—most striking to me, anyway. God’s love. God is love. God loves you. God loves me. God loves all of us. (John 3:16 says so.)

This modern psalm, which comes from Praying the New Testament as Psalms, contains several verses that resonate with me. They echo and re-echo within my heart, personally, as well as strike me to the quick, in an outward fashion.

I realize that God loves me. I also realize that God loves my neighbor. The Stranger, the Other, the one on the other side of town, or on the other side of the tracks. The weird person I pass on the street. (Yes, God loves them.) The mean person in the next car who just cut me off. (Yes, that person, too.) Even the awful person who committed that unspeakable crime they’re talking about, on the news. God loves that person. Or ones in rehab facilities. Or in mental institutions. Or playing in parks or walking on beaches or in senior residences or homebound or at work or lonely or grieving or joy-filled. Or you, or your loved ones.

I would like to share two verses, both taken/adapted from Romans 5. Both coming from the writing of the Apostle Paul. “Your own love, God, has been poured into my heart/by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to me.” [1] This verse from the modern psalm talks about God’s love, comparing it to something being poured into me. Almost as if I am a thirsty vessel, or a water glass waiting to be filled. Then, the Holy Spirit fills me up to the brim. Cool, clear, clean, fresh water. And, I have been given the Holy Spirit. It’s all done, already. I don’t need to wait any more. I’m filled with the Spirit that refreshes.

The second verse is also adapted from Romans 5: “Jesus, You gave proof of God’s love for me./While I was still a sinner, You died for me.” [2] Lord Jesus, that astounds me even more than the first verse. Yes, the Lord has gifted me with the Holy Spirit. But—Jesus did not have to do any of that for me, since I was a sinner. I sinned in thought, word and deed, and I still do sin. But God so loved me, Elizabeth, that God gave His only begotten Son—for me.

You can put your name into that last sentence, if you want. Try that on for size, and see whether it fits. Whether you believe it. Whether you feel worthy, or not. It’s still true. Perhaps, it is especially true when you and I doubt the verity and veracity of that statement.

Thank You, God, for loving me, and for loving this dear friend who is reading along with us. And for loving all the people You have created. Thank You for Your everlasting, endless love.


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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 88.

[2] Ibid.

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 28, 2015

Light be a light to the world

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

I was a bit puzzled by the third step in the daily Ignatian prayer process, as interpreted by Margaret Silf. I know it’s a small thing, but I did not quite get what she meant. Or rather, one particular word she used.

Here’s the step, as found in Silf’s book on Ignatian spirituality and prayer, Inner Compass: Light-seeking: “Ask God to help you see and understand how His love has been working within you today. This is a gift of the Spirit, and it has been promised to all who sincerely seek it.”

I consider myself theologically knowledgeable, in basic terms. But here—Silf’s use of “light-seeking” interchangeably with “God’s love?” Perhaps I am overthinking what she’s doing here. I probably am.

What I sometimes do with concepts I have difficulty understanding is this: I break it down. I take it apart, in pieces. It’s then that I come to some understanding of the separate pieces. Yes, I have some idea of what constitutes “God’s love.” And, I am so moved by Silf’s imagery of “Light-seeking.” Thought-provoking mental image!

I’ve come to a comfort level of not-knowing. Or, at least not knowing in full. If I can’t square the phrase “God’s love” with “Light-seeking,” it’s okay. God will still love me just as much if I don’t understand some things about God. No one has a full understanding, anyhow. I suspect that I am in a better (read, more open-minded) position, now that I realize I just don’t know stuff.

And, that’s okay. God understands. God still gifts me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, no matter how much or how little theological background I may have. I just need to be honest, open and willing. Willing to be open, with an open mind and heart. Amen. Amen.


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 .

Becoming Aware of God—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 16, 2015

constant in prayer

Becoming Aware of God—in Prayer

Today has been a busy day. A really, really busy day. I’ve been preparing for a special service at the church for the past week, and today was involved in final-final preparations. I enjoyed it! However, I haven’t had much time to even turn around, much less enjoy the beauty of an absolutely perfect May day. Gorgeous weather.

I suppose this is a perfect time for me to start with a brief prayer form of St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen. Taking inventory of the day just passed.

1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.” [1]

Yes, God was in my day today. Is that a surprise to me? Do I expect God to be there? Or, somehow, just out to lunch. Or, with the phone off the hook so I can’t get in touch.

I know, I know. If God seems far away, who moved? That old saying only goes so far. I know harboring fear, anxiety, resentment, and/or anger in my heart and mind is damaging to my spiritual health! Oh, yes. I know that, very well. But, I can’t be confused forever. I am encouraged to look and listen to the events, conversations, and personal actions of today.

That’s the marvelous-est thing. I can look at the past twenty-four hours at the end of each day. The Holy Spirit will help me take inventory, and this kind of action and conversation will become easier and easier. Dear Holy Spirit, thanks for helping me in prayer!


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 sermons from

[1] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray

Filled with the Holy Spirit? In Prayer. And, in Deed.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 25, 2015

Illustration of Saint Luke from the Lindisfarne folio

Illustration of Saint Luke
from the Lindisfarne folio

Filled with the Holy Spirit? In Prayer. And, in Deed.

I read the scripture reading for today, and am moved by verses 30 and 31. Perhaps I ought to back up and let everyone know what was going on.

Earlier in Acts 4, Peter and John were thrown in prison. God caused a jail break, and they came back and rejoined the other followers of Jesus. The lectionary reading picks up at the beginning of a prayer of thanksgiving and of power.

As I said, I was particularly moved by the following verses: Acts 4:30-31. “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Wow! And again, I say wow!

The mighty power of God is evident in chapter 4. Gosh, it is abundantly evident all through the book of Acts, as well as throughout the whole New Testament.

This reading makes me yearn for the power of God to be made manifest in me. Or, in my church. Or, in people I know. I long to see the Holy Spirit at work, living and active. I very much want to have the word of God speaking through me.

If the place where my church had meetings were shaken, most people would probably think it was because of an earthquake! Instead, God, could You send some power towards this little congregation? Help those within the congregation to perform signs and wonders, as pleases You. Please, Lord? Dear Lord, gracious God, I earnestly pray. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Life-Giving Spirit? To This Mortal Body?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Life-Giving Spirit? To This Mortal Body?

I really like the Apostle Paul. I have, for several decades. Even though he has complex, even difficult-to-unravel sentences in most of his letters in the New Testament, I still enjoy his deep thoughts and his logical, step-by-step thought-progressions. Except—not so much, now. I mean, I still appreciate his deep thoughts, but they are not exciting me quite as much as they did in the past.

Right now, I find I crave the simplicity of the Apostle John. How he could frame such profound thoughts using such spare vocabulary (especially in his letters) is remarkably stunning. Then, too, I find myself turning to the stark, almost journalist-style of Mark. (“Just the facts, ma’am.”) These two New Testament authors are my current faves (to borrow the vocabulary of my college-age daughter’s acquaintances).

However . . . the liturgical lectionary prayer book has listed a reading from Romans 8 for today. Back to Romans for me, I fear. Away from John, and back to the complex sentence structure of chapter 8, verses 1 through 11.

All right, Lord. I really, earnestly am trying to find what riches You have for me in this passage today. I am drawn to verses 10 and 11. The Holy Spirit as a Life-giver? That resonates with me, deeply. Yes. Today is also Earth Day, a day when a large part of the western world is celebrating the Life-giving nature of our planet. In Genesis 1, the Holy Spirit, the Ruach ha kodesh was hovering over the waters. Breathing life into the world as that Life-giving breath/wind/spirit, so foundational to all created beings.

How much more simple can we get? The Spirit of God long ago moving, hovering over creation. The Spirit of God, breathing life into this mortal, sinful body. These mortal, sinful bodies. Through the power of God Almighty, the power that raised Jesus from the dead, that same power is also giving life to me. To us. Can Paul get any more profound and basic than that? I think not.

I need to pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, all I can say is thank You. Thank You for everything. I fall on my face before Your awesome power and majesty. Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for breathing life into the world, and for breathing life into me. Into us. Thank You. Alleluia. Amen. Praise God.


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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

How to Show Fruit. Prayerfully.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 30, 2015

hearts in hands

How to Show Fruit. Prayerfully.

We are nearing the end of this slim, little book, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray. The topic of today’s chapter is on fruit. Or more specifically, fruitfulness. One of the outworkings of prayer is fruitfulness. Or, service.

Rev. Howell tells us about several people of stature who strove to lead lives of not only prayer, but also lives of fruitfulness, of service. Service to others, as well as service to God.

I was intrigued by this quote from Dorothea Day, that committed follower of Christ who was also a committed social activist. She asked, “Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people—lots of people—pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?” [1]

As someone who feels strongly and deeply that I ought to be of service to others, be kind and helpful whenever and wherever possible, I strive to do this, on a regular basis. Of course, I have the spiritual gifts of helps and mercy, so the Holy Spirit especially helps me in this effort. But that is not an excuse to shirk and hide! Certain people don’t have those special spiritual gifts, but that is no reason why they cannot be of service. Be kind. Be helpful. It’s as simple as holding the door open for someone with their arms full. Or giving someone you don’t know a friendly smile—just because.

I believe God is pleased when I get out of myself, off this hamster wheel of internal dialogue inside my head. God is even more pleased with me when I use my work, or my friendships, or my love to express the love of God to others.

In fact, I tried to be of service every day last year. My blog, A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service is a testament to that fact. I successfully blogged every day in 2014. I have a plan set for the rest of January 2015, and the beginning of February, up until Ash Wednesday, midway through the month.

I was also moved by the prayer that Rev. Howell uses to close this chapter. I take the liberty of closing with these words from English bishop Launcelot Andrewes, too. Such moving, heartfelt words.

Lord Jesus, I give You my hands to do Your work. I give You my feet to go Your way. I give You my eyes to see as You do. I give You my tongue to speak Your words. I give You my mind that You may think in me. I give You my spirit that You may pray in me. Above all, I give You my heart that Your may love in me, Your Father, and all human kind. I give You my whole self that You may grow in me, So that it is You, Lord Jesus, Who lives and works and prays in me.

Amen, and amen!

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.

[1][1] Robert Coles, Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion (Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1987), 28.

How Ought I Pray?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God create in me a clean heart

How Ought I Pray?

Prayer is amazing. Truly! But, not for everyone. That is, not in everyone’s experience.

There are as many different kinds/manners/methods of prayer as there are people involved praying. Each of us is an individual, and each of us has a unique way of coming before God.

A woman I very much admire uses centering prayer regularly. She chooses one single word, and then goes deep. Meditates and prays using that word, for twenty minutes, a half hour at a time. She has kids, who are getting bigger and older now, but that she is able to use centering prayer on a regular basis—with kids around!—is even more astounding to me!)

I have done centering prayer on occasion, too. (My word is often “Emmanuel,” since I am repeatedly amazed at how Jesus comes alongside of us—of me. Emmanuel, God with us.) Although, I have sometimes used other words, like “peace” or “grace,” or “Jesus.” Whatever you choose, it can be a remarkable, quiet, reflective way to pray.

Personally, I really gravitate towards using Scripture to assist me in my prayer time. But that’s me. I enjoy lectio divina and Benedictine rumination. I even use a Bible concordance on occasion, and research the Greek and Hebrew roots, or verbs, or meanings of these various words used in Scripture. And then, I can pray through those words or understandings.

But, on occasion—I find I do not even have words. I cannot frame my yearnings, the deepest wishes or cries of my heart, in intelligible language. It is then that I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit, for coming alongside of me. As a Paraclete, an Advocate. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit is there to intercede for us, right beside us. The blessed Holy Spirit even groans for us, and with us, and is our interpreter. The Spirit brings those requests and cries, too deep for words, before the heavenly Throne Room.

Thank God there is someone who can help me communicate. I have difficulty even communicating, much less with specific situations, events, opportunities and people!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, sweet Holy Spirit, thank You for helping us with our prayers. Sometimes my words come out all crooked, or misshapen. Or, they can be mean and evil towards people I am called to love. Forgive me for my shortcomings. Help me—help us to draw closer to You In prayer, and in every other way. In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net