Tag Archives: individual

Day #22 – Time to Spend with Others, Time to Pray.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 14, 2015

one another word cloud

Day #22 – Time to Spend with Others, Time to Pray.

As I read today’s suggestion for #40acts, one of the first people I thought of was a good friend of mine who lives a distance from here. In other words, I can’t just run over and see her on a whim. At the drop of a hat. No, since I need to drive a few hours to where she lives, I need to set aside a block of time. Intentionally. Happily, I was able to do exactly that, in December! And, I hope to spend some time with her again, soon.

I enjoy people! I enjoy spending time with them, going places, having good times. But—this takes time. I have some important responsibilities, and—sadly—I have less time to devote to my good friends. (Like this particular good friend I have in mind.)

I know that many people center their relationship with God around money. How much they give—their treasure, and how God can use it. I agree with the author of today’s #40acts post when he emphasizes that time is also an integral part of the relationship with God. How much time an individual spends with God, or for God, or thinking about God is a telling part of how much God means in that individual’s life. And heart.

Spending time with friends and loved ones can be a meaningful way to keep in touch. To show people you care. To express love to others as well as to God.

Yes, both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke state “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This can be true, in terms of money. But as we treasure our time, and hoard up our time, and parcel out our time—this verse takes on a whole new meaning if we think of it in more than in terms of treasure, tithing and mere money.

We can be free and open-handed with our time just as much as we can be free and open-handed with money. Thanks, God, that I already have my mind oriented towards giving You time. For a while, that was mostly what I had to give! Help me to set aside time on a regular basis. This precious commodity. My time. Our time.


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 .

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way (Focus Friday!)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 8, 2015

there's only one you Psa 139

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way

Prayer. Communication. Talking. Praise. Conversation. Contemplation. Confession. Being with. Walking alongside. Adoration. Petition. Silence. Ecstatic utterance. Practicing the presence.

All these ways are ways of prayer, of coming before God. But—which way is the best way? The preferred way? The sure and true way to come into God’s presence?

Prayer can be as natural and effortless as a child nestling in her Heavenly Parent’s lap. Certainly! And, God wants to be accessible at all times. But what about those who are puzzled, who don’t know where to start with this thing called prayer?

Each one of us is unique, and God communicates with each of us in an equally unique way. According to a book called Prayer and Temperament, which uses the personality preferences of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, if individuals deal with the outside world and their inner selves in a certain, specific way, different types of prayer might appeal to them.

This all came from something that Rev. Howell suggested in his trusty prayer guide, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, chapter 9. After some people get into the swing of prayer, we need to strive for more. Strive for maturity. I suggest going with what is challenging, even difficult. Not just with what is easy. Not just with what comes naturally. Even though that is great, too! But stretching, going into what is less familiar, more strange and different. In prayer.

I will use my own experience as an example. Some years ago, I was very hesitant to practice contemplative, or wordless, prayer. I am very word-centered. (I love words, and language, and the spoken word! I relish all sorts of prayer where I make use of the Bible and the written word.) However, I shy away from wordless prayer. Contemplation. Even when I can use one, single word, it is still a challenge for me. However—I realize that God may wish to stretch me, to cause me to grow beyond my comfort zone.

So, from time to time, I do practice contemplative prayer. And—I promise I will use this means of prayer for one month in 2015. But—later. Not yet.

Getting back to differing ways of praying, there are as many ways of praying as there are different types of people. As the authors of Prayer and Temperament say in their Introduction, “if [these suggestions] work for you and help deepen your prayer life and your relationship with God, then make use of them. . . . Think of them as ‘tools’ that are meant to assist your efforts to make contact with God, to maintain this relationship, and to deepen it through your prayer.”[1]

God willing, help us as we pray.


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] Chester P. Michael, Marie C. Norrisey, Prayer and Temperament; The Open Door (Charlottesville VA), 1991.

Pray to God as I Understand God?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 5, 2015

girl praying

Pray to God as I Understand God?

I practiced prayer today, using my trusty prayer guide. I really did. Except—I don’t feel like it. Or rather, I didn’t feel it. Not very much, anyway.

Rev. Howell had an excellent focus for his chapter today. It goes along with us, with all the shortcomings and foibles that human beings have today. As believers in God nowadays, some people have difficulty in prayer. In fact, some are so disheartened or distracted that they are ready to throw in the towel and leave the mysterious skill of praying to the professional clergy, even in emergency situations.

Howell has a wonderful help (if not an outright solution) for those having difficulties finding someplace to start. He suggests that we choose some place in our homes (or, at work, if home is MUCH too busy, and if your work will welcome pray-ers).

As I mentioned in a message on social media earlier today, each person is an individual, separate and unique. Each person has the capacity and ability to come to God, but there are a myriad of different ways to come to this Higher Power, to this God as each of us understands God.

Howell reminds his readers that prayer is like a really big AA meeting. People are introducing themselves: “My name is Elizabeth, and I am a sinner.” Or, “My name is Elizabeth, and I have this horribly dark hole in the place where my heart ought to be.” Or, “My name is Elizabeth, and I am addicted to the futility of my life.” [1]

And as I introduce myself to God (who really needs no introduction, since God knows me so much better than I know myself), there is no better place to be. In the loving presence of God, in prayer.


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

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 26.


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