Tag Archives: inadequate

Christ Shows Us Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 29, 2018

Christ Shows Us Prayer

If I’ve ever wondered what prayer is, I can go to my bookshelf and take a look. I have more than fifteen books on prayer. (Give or take. I don’t have them all in one place—some are in my office at church.) That does not count all the books on spirituality, spiritual direction, and other kinds of practical theology. I geek out over those things.

However, I fall far short of giants in prayer. I call myself an advanced beginner at prayer. When I consider several of my friends and acquaintances, they are real people of prayer. I stand in awe of several people who have written books about prayer, like Father Nouwen.

His life exemplified prayer. He gives a brief declaration of what goes on when we pray: “When you pray, you open yourself to the influence of the Power which has revealed itself as Love. That Power gives you Freedom and Independence. Once touched by this power, you are no longer swayed back and forth by the countless opinions, ideas, and feelings which flow through you.” [1]

That is the way it’s supposed to work, anyway. I can only strive to pray this way. I am not free and independent of opinions, ideas and feelings, so help me, God. Fr. Nouwen raises it to the next level in the next paragraph: “Christ is the one who in the most revealing way made clear that prayer means sharing in the power of God. Through this power He turned His world around.” [2] Good grief. How can I possibly enter into prayer with such a high bar set for me? First Father Nouwen, that giant of prayer, and then the example of our Lord Jesus? Talk about feeling small and inadequate.

I’ve had this regular blog for several years now, and I do strive to follow God in prayer. Clear, unambiguous statements like the ones Fr. Nouwen made set me back on my heels.

They are counterbalanced by Fr. Nouwen’s follow-up statement: “Praying, therefore, means being constantly ready to let go of your certainty and to move beyond where you now are….This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you can always begin afresh.” [3] Oh, dear Lord, how I wish I could be so free, to have truly nothing to lose.

I hesitate to even begin to pray this way. Rather, I have begun, in the past. I have spent some time with God, resting in God’s presence, but exerting power? Not being swayed by opinions, ideas, and feelings? Dear Lord, I need help from You. I feel like such a beginner, especially when I read such words. Help me to pray, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 116.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 117.

In Between Day, In Between Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 13, 2016

prayer-candles-lamps

In Between Day, In Between Prayers

This was my in between day. I had lots to do earlier in the week and lots to do on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, I took some time for myself today. Yoga, and shopping (for food), and a meeting with a friend. A function at my daughter’s school in the evening. Plus, the usual email and computer stuff that I ordinarily do, but that happens pretty much any day. Every day. No matter what.

Except, I was preoccupied.

I suppose I ought to have prayed more. Even though I try to write this blog on a regular basis, even though I try to pray on a regular basis, I still feel so inadequate. So much less-than. There is some personal stuff that is going on in my personal life, and I need to pray my way through.

That was most of what was preoccupying my thoughts today.

And, thanks to anyone who sends any prayers to God for the dear concern on my mind today.

Dear God, thanks for interpreting my thoughts, even when they are all muddled and incoherent. I am so glad and relieved You listen to my deep concern. Calm my uneasy heart. Still my wayward soul. Help me to breathe more deeply, and focus my mind on necessary things. Kind things. Things that will be helpful, supportive, and encouraging. Thank You, God. 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 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

Wounds Too Deep for Us to Heal

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 24, 2015

compassion heart

Wounds Too Deep for Us to Heal

Dear Lord, I feel so inadequate.

Just looking at this prayer for today, I do not say I chose it. Instead, it patiently waited for me to read it, and captured my heart, my soul. Pulled my heartstrings, to boot.

The prayer for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Deliver Us from Evil” (Prayer 454, page 135) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled Compassion. It is taken from a collection entitled Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship, edited by Caryl Micklem.

“Lord, the wounds of this world are too deep for us to heal. We have to bring men and women to You and ask You to look after them—the sick in body and mind, the withered in spirit, the victims of greed and injustice, the prisoners of grief.”

O gracious God! My chaplain’s heart breaks, just reading this first section. Such a number of dear ones come to mind from mention in this paragraph alone! I know You know each name that comes to mind. I know You know each situation so much better than I can possibly know myself. Dear Lord, gracious God, I lift my deep and earnest cries to You.

“And yet, our Father, do not let our prayers excuse us from paying the price of compassion.”

Oh! Piercing me in the heart, God! How often and how many times do I allow surface, peripheral prayers to salve my wounded pastor’s heart? Forgive me, dear Lord.

“Make us generous with the resources You have entrusted to us. Let Your work of rescue be done in us and through us all.”

Dear Lord … when I realize what bounty You have given to me and my family, how can I help but be generous? Sure, I can feel inadequate, comparing myself and our small apartment to others who live in this community, in a generally well-off suburb of Chicago.

And, yet. And, yet, when I look at poverty around this country, especially around the world, I shudder. I realize how much stuff I have. I realize how blessed I am. I bow my face to the floor to thank You for so many things. Like a job I enjoy, good health, a loving husband and family, wonderful friends, electronics at our fingertips, food in our kitchen, abundant clothing to wear.

Gracious God, help me to be generous with all You have entrusted to me. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my earnest 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.   @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), 135.

Forgiveness? How to Forgive.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 9, 2015

FORGIVE God forgives the unexcusable

Forgiveness? How to Forgive.

How to forgive? The same way Christ forgave. Step by step, one step at a time.

One action, one lovingly, giving-ly, supernaturally, and amazingly given.

But what happens when I do something against God? Something that hurts God? What about something that ought to cause God to become bitter, or aloof, but just doesn’t? What then?

Amazing grace. Even more amazing forgiveness. That is the way that God is going to forgive; or has forgiven. I am reminded of the scene in Isaiah 6, where such awe-inspiring presence of God would lead me to prostrate myself before all that mighty God-ness. Only, I see that remarkable presence of God as forgiving me. Wow. I have no words. They all seemed to be inadequate.

But—wait. As I come to the book Praying the New Testament as Psalms, I find forgiveness in so many places there, as well. Like in this modern verse adapted from Ephesians: “Touch my heart, God, that I may be kind to others,/tender-hearted, ready to forgive as You in Christ have forgiven me.” [1]

Dear God. Gracious, loving, forgiving God. Through the riches of Christ’s grace, I have forgiveness lavished upon me. It is too much for me to understand, much less begin to appreciate. All I can do is fall on my face. (Just like Isaiah.) Thank You. Thank You. And, help me always to be as ready to forgive others as You in Christ are ready to forgive me.

@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 .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 78.