Tag Archives: intercessory prayer

Focus, Center on Potter. And Pray!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 21, 2015

POTTER You are the Potter

Focus, Center on Potter. And Pray!

Wow. I mean, really wow. (That was different!)

The Name of God I chose was taken from the Book of Isaiah. My word—Name of God for today is Potter.

I especially gravitated toward this Name to use with Centering Prayer, since the idea of God as Potter has been meaningful to me for a number of years. Yet, once I started praying and meditating, I immediately began to pray for several people. And, I mean strong and deep intercessory prayer. For one person, primarily, although also for two others, as well.

Instead of resting in God, and resting in the Name I had chosen, I found myself praying for these dear ones.

I guess the intercession was important. I hadn’t realized how important it was until I started to contemplate God as Potter. God molding, shaping, with infinite skill and craftsmanship. It was then that I thought of these three dear ones. That was the first time in all of these days since October started that I felt strongly called to intercession during my time of Centering Prayer.

After I began to pray for these people, I thought I may as well pray for myself. So, I began to ask God to shape me, mold me after God’s will. Do with me as God wills. Take away my bondage to self, and allow God to work through me, in me. Use my hands, my feet, my lips and tongue, my fingers on the keyboard, the wheels on my car.

Yes, I realize this is not quite the quiet, focused Centering Prayer I strive for. I really try to be more meditative and less wordy. (Lord, You know how much of a challenge this is for me!!) However, this was the kind of prayer I ended up having today, for the time I set aside with God.

Thanks, God, for the worthwhile prayer time we had together. I know it wasn’t what I had originally planned, but that’s okay. That’s more than okay. It was the prayer time that I was led to, and there was some free and clear communication from me to You. Thank You! I am so happy it worked out like it did. Amen, Lord.


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

God Our Advocate. Centering Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 1, 2015


God Our Advocate. Centering Prayer.

I used Centering Prayer today! I also prayed in ways with words, especially since I was doing intercessory prayer. As a small church pastor, I have regular circumstances come up where I need to focus specifically on parishioners, friends of the church, and other situations. In other words, I spent some time with God today, in prayer.

As mentioned yesterday, for the month of September, I will choose a name of God found in the Bible. I’m using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Advocate.

When I centered with this Name of God, I did not have long to wait before two words surfaced. “Righteous” and “peace.” I am not sure how these words apply to me yet. I’ll keep ruminating over them. If I find out, great. If I don’t, then that’s okay, too. They are two excellent words that came into my mind.

I am purposefully not looking up the verse I cite before doing Centering Prayer. I want to be true to the concept of using one word and sitting with it. Ruminating on it, and rolling it around in my mind. Seeing whether it will resonate. It is only afterwards that I looked up the passage, and discovered further depths to this Name of God.

As found in 1 John 2:1, the Apostle John tells his readers they have an Advocate in heaven: Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Just in case anyone happens to sin, we have someone who will speak in our defense and on our behalf. (Excuse my levity. Of course everyone sins. We are all human.)

Oh, another thing that surfaced on the rolling video screen of my mind as I contemplated the word Advocate? Different scenes from two different Joss Whedon television shows. More random stuff. I’m used to that sort of thing when I ruminate and contemplate, though. It’s difficult for me to get my mind to calm down. However, with practice, it gets better. Watching that internal mental video screen can also be fascinating. The wide-ranging internal connections and word association football going on in my mind, I mean.

God, thanks for this great word association, today. Thank You for being my Advocate. I know I need it, on a regular basis.


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

Prayer of the Heart

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, August 7, 2014

PRAY when you can't put your prayer into words

Prayer of the Heart

I have been visiting, thinking about, and praying for several members of my congregation. I can just hear some say “Good, good. Wonderful thing for a pastor to be doing.” I’ve also been preparing for another Sunday sermon. I am in the midst of preaching a sermon series on prayer. (Wow, just say that five times fast: “Summer sermon series.” Ready, go!)

As a reference for the next few weeks, I’m going to be using an excellent book called “A Praying Congregation” by Jane Vennard, UCC minister, spiritual director and adjunct professor at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Superb stuff on prayer and on relationship, in her book! This information will help prepare everyone for the kickoff for our intercessory prayer ministry in September, the Prayer Project.

Funny thing, I happened to be doing some study for this sermon on Matthew 6:5-6—where Jesus is teaching on prayer. I found a longer article of Vennard’s on one of my favorite sermon study websites, The Text this Week (www.textweek.com). Very similar material (and some overlap). But I was especially intrigued by what she said about the Prayer of the Heart in the article.

I connected this Prayer of the Heart with several members of my congregation. Even more so, as I continued to reflect, I felt this Prayer of the Heart being particularly meaningful for me.

Some call these prayers “Breath Prayers,” as well. Short, meaningful prayers said in one breath. One phrase breathing in, the other breathing out. “In You, Lord” (inhale) “I put my trust.” (exhale) Or, “Dear God, hold me close.” The most famous prayer of this sort is called the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ,” (inhale) “have mercy on me, a sinner.” (exhale) This method of prayer is centuries old, and can be practiced several times, for several minutes, or even repetitively over time until it becomes a part of your being.

This Prayer of the Heart is a wonderful idea, one that I do not ordinarily think of! (Especially for those who are going through brief or continuing difficulty, pain, or distress.) Thank God that there are a myriad of ways to pray, to come before God.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for prayer. Thank You that we can pray anywhere, any time. No matter what is happening in our lives, You always hear and come alongside of each one of us. Thank You for your loving, caring presence, now and always.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PRAY hug friends with prayers

Think About—Talk About—Preach About Prayer

If you’ve been following this occasional blog during the past few months, I may have mentioned my change in job circumstances a time or two. About how my good friend and co-pastor Pastor Gordon and I were working together at the small congregation in the Chicago suburbs. And how Gordon has since left for another call and responsibility with his denomination, the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the United Church of Christ. So, I won’t go into that again.

However, before Gordon left the church, he and I met during the last week of May to recap our ministry over the past three months. In other words, look at all that we had done, and done right!

My good friend affirmed the fact that we had been a real encouragement to this congregation. That was a real affirmation for me, personally! During the next few weeks, as I was thinking about and praying about possible summer preaching series-es, the idea of prayer kept coming to me again and again. So, the week after Pentecost, I rolled it out. I began the series, and I want to concentrate especially on intercessory prayer, in the weeks ahead.

I know, from both my work and my personal experience, how much people often appreciate intercessory prayer! When I worked as a chaplain, I would usually ask the patients and/or their loved ones, “Is there anything you would like for me to do?” Very often, the answer would be, “Yes, please! Could you pray for us?” or, “Pray for good test results!” or perhaps, “Could you pray for this other situation, too?” And, people of all different denominations and faith traditions, too. Even those from outside of Christianity would occasionally ask me for prayer.

Time and again, I was so awestruck and honored to be entrusted with this precious opportunity—the opportunity to come into God’s presence with these friends. And, to journey with them, for a little way, down this road of challenge, difficulty, grief and pain.

That was such a vivid, sometimes rewarding, sometimes heart-rending experience. I really feel called to present this opportunity to this congregation. We can offer to pray for others. God willing, we can be loving, caring friends to people in need. I plan on starting this prayer ministry the first week in August.

I know there are some praying friends who are reading this blog. If you feel so led, could you pray for us and this congregation, as we prepare to minister to others? And, show others the love and care of Christ, as we pray for them and their needs? Thanks so much. I don’t know what I would do without sisters and brothers in God to walk with me. Together, we can do so much more than me, all by myself. Praise God!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your comfort and care. Thank You for the invitation to come before You in prayer. Gracious God, help us to lift up our friends and acquaintances to You, in both praises and requests. We are so glad You are always ready to hear us, and respond. Thank You! Amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net