Tag Archives: Jesus

Hands Open Towards Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 2, 2018

my heart saying a prayer

Hands Open Towards Prayer

It’s amazing how a turn of phrase can spark the imagination.

In this brief reading today, Father Nouwen refers to the passage from John 21, where Jesus tells Peter that he is now a person of volition, going where he would, but when Peter grows old, he will not be able to have the same volition. Moreover, people would take Peter where he did not want to go.

All of this is in the context of volition. Having one’s hands open. Even, having one’s heart open. As Father Nouwen talks about having one’s hands open towards prayer, he mentions care for others. “Care for others means a growing acceptance. This acceptance led Jesus and his disciples to where they didn’t want to go, to the cross. That is also the road for one who prays.” [1]

I hope I have acceptance in my heart. I hope I show that acceptance in my prayers. I realize where I do not have acceptance, and I ask God to forgive me for that non-acceptance, that insecurity, that dislike—even bordering on downright fear.

When I have my arms (and hands) stretched out in prayer, I strive to be welcoming in prayer. Dear Lord, it can be a challenge! However, as Father Nouwen rightly brings out, this acceptance and welcome I offer in prayer opens me deep within to the freedom that God truly offers. The freedom of God’s breath (which I referred to before, several posts ago – see Prayer, Life-Breath of God #matterofprayer  https://wp.me/p43g3i-12T ), and the freedom of the cross.

Dear God, please give me the courage to be prayerful. Please give me the acceptance to stretch out my hands in prayer. Forgive me for my insecurity my dislike, and especially my deep-seated fears. Help me to follow after You all the days of my life, especially in Your Son’s example of prayer. Amen.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 35.

@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

Bring Prayer into My Life

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 14, 2018

hands folded in prayer

Bring Prayer into My Life

Going back to the original reason for this blog, I want to pray on a more regular basis. Yes, I realize this is a never-ending odyssey for me, in my spiritual life. Yes, God and I have had many conversations about this lack or deficit, for decades. And, I am going to try again. (Somehow, that quote from Yoda in the original Star Wars movie, “A New Hope,” comes to mind. “No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” )

Dear Lord, taking a snippet from popular culture—and from Yoda (whom I love), I want to do. Not try, but do.

Over the next little while, I am going to read one of Henri Nouwen’s marvelous books called With Open Hands. In this slim volume, he examines his own personal experience with prayer. And as he says, “…could it be that what is most personal for me, what rings true to the depths of my being, also has meaning for others?” [1]

This book is distilled down from a number of conversations with twenty-five theology students. Father Nouwen and the students variously prayed, conversed, and contributed. As Fr. Nouwen says, this book “took form during many hours of intimate conversation, which could possibly be called hours of praying.” [2]

I already know Nouwen’s work. I have read (at various times) five other books he wrote. I am very much looking forward to this one. I know how faithful Nouwen was to his spiritual disciplines, and I pray I can be half as faithful.

Dear Lord, as I embark with Father Nouwen on this journey of prayer, I want to pray regularly. I want to get closer to You. Help me remain consistent. Knowing that Jesus is right by my side every day, I pray all of these things. Amen,

@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, 1972), vii.

[2] Ibid, viii.

Study and George MacDonald

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 14, 2017

bible, study

Study and George MacDonald

In the feeding of the 4000, Jesus did a big miracle. The miracle was multi-faceted. In this reading from our book today, George MacDonald not only explains the miracle but also unpacks the surrounding verses.

Sometimes I feel like the disciples. What part of Jesus’s words and actions do I not understand? (I know. A big part.)

A chunk of MacDonald’s commentary on this passage particularly struck me: the section where Jesus and the disciples talk about leaven. Yet again, the disciples do not understand. As MacDonald suggests to his readers, Jesus wanted them—and us—to learn from the experience. So many instances can be found in those teachings, as well as the actions of Jesus. A huge object lesson, if we consider it that way, and MacDonald lifts it up for us to learn.

Let’s set the stage. In the aftermath of the huge extravaganza of the day (for that was what the miracle of feeding had quickly become), Jesus and His disciples withdraw to a boat. In other words, they have a getaway car ready and waiting.

Jesus warns about “the leaven of the Pharisees.” His disciples have only a foggy idea of what He might be referring to. Their thinking is primarily concerned with their stomachs and what could possibly concern their day-to-day living.  (Oh, Jesus must be talking about how we didn’t bring any bread out to the boat for this trip.) Yet—are we any better? Do I have the same weaknesses of faith as the disciples?

Penetrating questions, and some particularly thought-provoking ones in MacDonald’s teaching on the feeding, too. Dear Lord, help me to glean information from George MacDonald, too. Lord, 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.

William Law’s View of Fasting

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 13, 2017

fasting, prayer, mountains

William Law’s View of Fasting

In the past, I loved classic religious and theological books. I read many of them in my teens, 20’s and 30’s. As soon as I picked up that book in my early 20’s, I found I loved A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. I’ve read it through completely three times, and dipped into it several more, for partial reads.

So, when I read William Law’s name next in the chapter list of this current book, I got legitimately excited.

Law’s view of Matthew 6 fascinates me. His take on it is so practical. (Just as is much of his writing.) “Therefore the privacy of fasting does not suppose such a privacy as excludes everybody from knowing it, but such a privacy as does not seek to be known abroad.” [1] Law compares Jesus’s words concerning fasting to the situation with Cornelius in Acts 10. The centurion’s fasting was well known within his family. By Cornelius’s devout example, “his household were made devout themselves by continually waiting upon him, that is, by seeing and partaking of his good works.” [2]

Law considered legalistic devotion to the secret strictures of fasting a clear violation of the spirit of the words of Jesus. He understood that many people in his time had that absurd attitude, and he wanted his teaching to be crystal clear. As Richard Foster said, “by using Cornelius as his illustration Law gently causes readers—you and me—to examine their own legalisms by considering whom they might find unacceptable to God.” [3]

God willing, I can take Law’s (and Foster’s) words to heart. Please, Lord, help me follow these excellent interpreters of Your words.

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 74.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 76.

More About Mental Illness, Mental Wholeness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 8, 2016

luke-8-35-word-cloud

More About Mental Illness, Mental Wholeness

Tomorrow I am preaching about mental illness.

Some people are afraid of mental illness. There is a stigma about it. A fear, an anxiety. Let’s face it—we are afraid of what we do not understand. And, individuals who suffer from mental illness is something people so often shun, or exclude, or make fun of.

Jesus wouldn’t exclude these people.

Whether we are talking the first or the twenty-first century, we can praise God—Jesus has come to heal our diseases, to free us from our bondage. Whether from sin, from demons, from mental illnesses. Jesus knows our sorrows and carries our griefs. Jesus comes alongside of us—all of us—and helps us to bear our heavy loads.

 

Whether the load is physical or mental, psychological or spiritual, Jesus gives a helping hand. Jesus shows up. All of which suggests that God is willing to go absolutely anywhere to come alongside, to free, sustain and heal those who are broken and despairing.

Praise God. Thank You, Jesus.

 

@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

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 14, 2016

peace-i-leave-with-you-cross

Prayer, Grief and Peace for Loved Ones

This is a blog on prayer, and matters of prayer.

I seldom do this, but I would appreciate prayer for an older relative’s family, in another state. A recent death of the senior. I haven’t seen any of the family for years, yet I feel the loss.

Reflecting on John 14:27, it says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus gives me peace. He offers me peace in troubled times, in grieving times. Plus, I can offer that peace to others. Yes, I can grieve. My friends and family can grieve. However, the Holy Spirit has promised to come alongside and comfort. Not as the world tries to distract, but real and genuine comfort and encouragement.

Gracious God, thank You for the peace and serenity that Jesus promised in this verse. Help me to bring some of that peace and comfort to my family. I pray that You hold all who loved my relative in Your everlasting arms of care and concern. Please encourage them even in the midst of their grief and sadness. Lord, 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 sister 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

PEACE = Loving One Another in Christ (Repost)

This repost is especially for the Facebook site “Pursuing Peace.” God’s blessings on all my readers today.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 17, 2016

IMG_0155

PEACE = Loving One Another in Christ

Today’s definition of PEACE is gentle, just like the person the definition came from. Anacelia Padrid gave the following definition: “PEACE = the result of loving one another in the Christian way.”

Anacelia is a member at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. When I asked her what she would like to write down for her personal definition, she got quite serious. Full of thoughtfulness. Then, she carefully wrote her definition on the sheet. Last, she gave an explanation of her definition.

She said, “It is in the Christian family that we have our love with one another, as our head who is God. Only through Him we are guided in the proper way.”

By this definition, Anacelia gives people no questions about her faith as a Christian. Some other people gave more general definitions, but this one is decidedly, definitely Christian.

I know Anacelia earnestly believes this Christian way of understanding PEACE.

I just gave a meditation (or, brief sermon) about PEACE at this evening’s Lenten service. The result of loving one another in the Christian way? Not quite my definition. I did, however, let people know Jesus offers to give anyone PEACE. I mean, anyone.

Jesus does not discriminate, as we think of John 14:27. Jesus promises to give us PEACE internally. And as an outgrowth of that inward emotion, we are invited to be instruments of God’s PEACE.

Anacelia, thanks for an additional insight. Blessings on you and your family.

@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