Tag Archives: isolation

Professing in Prayer, Together

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 8, 2018


Professing in Prayer, Together

Yesterday was World Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October. I love World Communion Sunday. I love bringing elements from all over the world into our Sunday service, and reminding our congregation that people in different places do things in different ways.

Whenever a congregation joins together n worship and prayer, they are a bunch of separate individuals coming together. Even if they have worshiped together for a good amount of time, sometimes certain members of that congregation do not worship well or pray well with others. This reminds me of what Father Nouwen said in today’s short reading. “For in prayer, you profess not only that people are people and God is God, but also that your neighbor is your sister or brother living alongside you.” [1]

How difficult it is to overcome the separation and loneliness of being separate individuals! Of course, idiosyncrasies and differences between people challenge many of us in the neighborly art of getting along. Except, Fr. Nouwen suggests that prayer is the common ground, the place where all can meet.

We all can acknowledge that people are people, and God is God. Then, the following statement that our neighbor—we all know our neighbors, right?—I’ll say it again, our neighbor does live alongside of each of us. Our neighbor is, indeed, our sister and our brother; regardless of what kind of food they eat, where they go to worship, who comes over to their house or apartment, or how old/young/tall/short they are.

What a marvelous example for anyone who reads this short little book. It is filled to the brim with gems like this. We are, indeed, brought to the “painful acknowledgement that [we] are not alone, but that being human means being together.” [2]

Dear Lord, help me realize that I am brothers and sisters with everyone. Help us not only pray like we are one big family, but worship like it, and especially live like it. Help us to live in one big neighborhood (just like Mister Rogers would dream of). This is my earnest prayer. Amen.



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), 91.

[2] Ibid.

This Prince of Peace

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

Prince of Peace Jesus Isa 9-6

This Prince of Peace

The world today is not a peaceful place. Definitely not peaceful.

I live in the Chicago area. There is definitely a lack of peace here, too.

I crave peace. Calm. Gentleness, kindness, love, joy. Lord God, peace seems so out of reach, both corporally as well as individually. Yet, there is good news. Good news of great joy, which was given for all people.

God came to earth at Christmas. It was not only Love that came down at Christmas, but also the Prince of Peace came into this world. God reconciled the fallen, hateful world to Godself, in a vertical direction. One of the compilers of this book of December meditations writes, “Where God comes in love to human beings and unites with them, there peace is made between God and humankind and among people.” [1]

But, wait. That’s not all. God also overcame the enmity one person has with another. One group with another, one country with another. “Come and see how God, out of pure love, has become our brother and wants to reconcile us with each other.” [2]

Now there is the possibility of peace, love, and togetherness, instead of fear, hatred, and isolation. Prince of Peace, You entered into the world to show us love, in the most personal and vulnerable way possible. All that I can say is thank You, Jesus.


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] God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr., compiled and edited, Jana Riess (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), 74.

[2] Ibid.

Regaining Soulfulness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 26, 2015

SOUL be the soul of that place

Regaining Soulfulness

Ah, for the old days, when a high percentage of Americans attended church on a regular basis. (I am only being partially serious.) I’m talking earlier in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Actually, by today’s standards, church and synagogue attendance has gone down. However, more people are saying they are “spiritual, but not religious.” Whatever that means—because it means different things to different people.

The author of today’s chapter, Phil Cousineau, said that many more Americans do not associate with a specific house of worship today. (This is borne out by reports made about spirituality and the “nones” in various recent newspapers and news magazines.) However, Cousineau was interested in the expressions “divine spark” and “soulful.”

What do you think of when I say “divine spark?” Do you think of something like “the measure of the depths of our lives”[1] when I mention that? This can be contemplation. Slowing down enough to enjoy writing a letter. Attentiveness, thoughtfulness, mindfulness. These are the areas in which I find some suggestions. Good suggestions, too, I may add.

Moreover, according to Cousineau’s chapter in the Handbook for the Soul, there is some kind of American myth that aids in isolationism. Regardless of this tendency to isolation, many people are drawn toward connecting, meeting together, in a cohesive matter. Whether associated with a faith tradition and meeting place, or not. And, that is a welcoming and positive thing! Amen!

Whether you or your loved one believe in connecting, whether contemplating the mysterious continuity that is this world, or the spark inside of you and me is made to go higher and higher, we can say amen for that!

Please, God, help me—help us to become more and more like God. Less and less like the world.


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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 162.

Prayer When All Looks Dark

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, September 5, 2014

PRAY joyful, faithful in affliction, faithful prayer

Prayer When All Looks Dark

Dark clouds, black as night! But it’s the middle of the afternoon . . .

We had a cloudburst here in the Chicago area today. This afternoon, to be exact. I sat in my office and watched the torrential downpour happen for some twenty minutes.

Before the rain started, I could look west and see the clouds roll in. The dark clouds, almost black, heavy with rain. The trees and bushes rustled, waved in the rising wind. Then, twisted and turned. Drops started to fall. And then fall harder. In less than no time, sheets of rain pounded the pavement outside my window.

Isn’t that the way it is, sometimes? I mean, life. “It never rains, but it pours,” is one old saying I remember. Things pile up. Or, pile on. In a very short amount of time, sometimes, life becomes too full. Too chaotic. Too much. Too deep. What then?

Is God around? Can God hear me? Does God even care about me?

Torrential downpours happen in many people’s lives, not only affecting them, but affecting their loved ones, too. Sure, when employment or school or family situations crop up, that can be devastating. But, when emotional or psychological issues rear their heads? That can be even more traumatic. Because people often frown upon what they consider signs of weakness or ineptness. Tendencies toward isolation or depression or anxiety.

Yes, God is our ever present refuge and strength! Please, don’t forget this! God will be our very present help in times of trouble and need! God is always ready and willing to be there for us! But just as we go to doctors when we have a broken arm, or call an appliance repair person when our refrigerator needs fixing, so there are good people, trained professionals who are ready and willing to help with psychological and emotional needs, too.

That downpour in our lives can be stopped. You and I can get on the road to better psychological, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. (Often, physical health can be a concern, too. Check on it, too.)

Today is September 5, 2014, the day after NAMI’s annual conference in Washington DC marched on Capitol Hill and launching an outreach on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. (#Act4MentalHealth) Thus, I am encouraged to open up, writing about my difficulties with depression. I am speaking out with my message of walking through the dark places, and coming out the other side. God willing, many people will speak out. Not be ashamed.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, we thank You for being our refuge and strength. We ask that if we know anyone who is having difficulty with a downpour in their lives, than You help us to be a support and strength to them. Thank You, God, for loving us. For caring for us. And, for giving us Your comforting presence, no matter what. Amen!

For more information, here’s NAMI’s website: http://www.nami.org/

NAMI’s contact information: NAMI, 3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100, Arlington, Va 22203

NAMI’s telephone numbers: Main: (703) 524-7600, Fax: (703) 524-9094, Member Services: (888) 999-6264, Helpline: (800) 950-6264


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net