Tag Archives: lonely

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 23, 2017

Psa 42-3 tears, my food

Pouring Out My Soul to God, and Psalm 42

What do you do when you are all alone? Alone, and heartsick, lonely and soulsick. As Bonhoeffer said when thinking about this psalm, he was all alone. Feeling alone can turn a person inside out with sadness. So, Bonhoeffer poured out his soul to the Lord. And, the Lord came to his aid.

Since he was feeling to lonely and alone, he said “the greater will be my longing for the fellowship of other Christians, for common worship, common prayer and song, praise, thanksgiving and celebration.” [1]

While I appreciate Bonhoeffer’s next suggestion, I don’t go along with it…totally. He stresses that his readers ought not to allow heaviness and disquiet to overwhelm the soul. But, sometimes depression overwhelms a person. People sometimes juggle things like anxiety, loneliness, worry and concern.

I know Jesus tells us some things about how to deal with many negative emotional feelings and psychological tendencies. However—sometimes, life gets too heavy, too overwhelming. We might need a little help from our community. We can use some common understanding and caring. God, not only from our families, our friends, and our communities of faith, but from You. I know I depend on You, dear Lord.

Still, from time to time, I do feel all alone. God, please ground me on You and Your help, Your word, and Your promises. Thank You for listening, dear God.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 57.

A Last Word about Meditation, and Psalm 62

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 17, 2017

candles, votive prayer

A Last Word about Meditation, and Psalm 62

In this final word on the psalm, Dietrich Bonhoeffer did his usually excellent job. Not only did he talk about Psalm 62, but he also mentioned those who might not be enjoying close relations with God. “And then we wait and wait for years, perhaps to the end of our lives, until we once again are in the mood for religion.” [1]

How sad, and lonely for the unnamed person. As Bonhoeffer said in such a way, “We must learn the language of God, carefully learn it, work hard at it, so that we will be able to speak to Him.” [2]

Yes, it is indeed sad and lonely that a host of people are foundering in their times of prayer and meditation. And, some even do not make the attempt at communicating with God. “Why should I? I’ve tried a few times, and nothing at all happened.” Or “I am not religiously inclined.” So sad.

I have prayed to God, indeed. God and I are more of close friends than not. However, my attention can easily falter. My prayer and silence before God? “Certainly, it will be harder for one person than for another, but we may be sure that no one can advance without work. It takes daily fortitude to expose ourselves to God’s Word and to allow ourselves to be judged by it..” [3]

Wow! That sounds like prayer and meditation takes commitment, time and diligence. I must confess I do not have that commitment all the time. Forgive me, dear Lord.

Bonhoeffer closes with that wonderful quote from St. Augustine: “Lord God, you have made all things for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We have a Friend whose ears are always open, always with arms ready to embrace all who come close.

Thank You, God, for Your love and caring. Dear 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

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 54.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Building Blocks for a New Way of Life.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 27, 2015

live one day at a time

Building Blocks for a New Way of Life.

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by day, in all the thousand, small, uncaring ways.” Stephen V. Benet

The Twelve Steps promises a new way of living. A departure from unmanageability, hopelessness, loneliness and despair. But, only if a person works for it. Decides to go for it.

Ah, the key of willingness. It just takes a small amount of willingness to begin the way of new life, to begin the way of Twelve Step living. Very small. But if willingness is present, all kinds of possibilities open up!

Today’s meditation from the book Keep It Simple has a remarkable insight: “The more we use a tool, the easier it is to use. The same goes for the Twelve Steps. We need to depend on the Twelve Steps, just as carpenters depend on their tools. If we only wait for the new way of life, it’ll never come.” [1]

Oh, too true! Sitting back on your hands and waiting for the Twelve Steps to start working (almost by osmosis) is pretty stupid. I have rarely heard of anyone who sat twiddling their thumbs and had the Program of the Twelve Steps work in their lives. Work well, that is.

Although, just from attending meetings, that still is worth something. But for the whole nine yards? The whole shmear? That takes some work. “If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps. … Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.” [2]

Yes, it takes work. And yes, it is worth it. The Promises say so. God as each of us understands God says so, too.

@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

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 27 reading.

[2] Alcoholics Anonymous (New York City, Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.: 2001), 58-59.

Turning It Over to God—in Gratitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 26, 2015

THANKFUL today I'm thankful

Turning It Over to God—in Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Today was Thanksgiving: a day when America traditionally gives thanks to God. Today’s reading in the daily meditation book Keep It Simple also involved turning life over to God as I understand God.

I just read some heartbreaking and honest Facebook posts where a few acquaintances of mine legitimately had difficulty doing both of those things today.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

True, there were (and are) various things happening in each of these families. With wide and varied situations with many family gatherings. Still more with volatile or even explosive verbal confrontations. Some with lonely, anxious people gathering together over a meal ladled out at a shelter or a church basement. And then, those with sad and grieving people in sad and desperate straits.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Yet, today was another day where many, many people worldwide successfully stayed clean and sober. Through anxious circumstances, even though they were sorely tempted, or amidst incredible grief and sadness. Many, many people successfully turned their lives and wills over to the care of their Higher Power. Just for today. One day at a time.

Another day clean and sober. Another day following God as I understand God.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

@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

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

Praying through Doing—an Act of Kindness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 13, 2015

valentine plate of cookies

Praying through Doing—an Act of Kindness

Another day, another surprise. My prayer suggestion for the day was to make contact with a sick or old person in a home or residence, and let them know that God loves them.

All right. I know a number of nursing homes or senior residences. All of the senior residences I’m familiar with have chaplains and people who regularly visit and are in touch with the seniors who live there. Thank God for these caring, friendly people who watch out for the seniors!

However, I also know of another kind of residence, for people of all ages who have limited incomes. One of my friends recently retired from the residence, so he knows all of the people who live there. A few of these are people who truly have no one else in their lives. Just the single room in the residence, a small stipend or retirement payment, and no other relatives. None.

I asked my friend for a few names of those who are alone and lonely. Sure enough, he came through. He gave me two names. It being February 13, I went to the store and bought two nice, cheery Valentine’s Day cards. I wrote out a friendly greeting to both people, and closed with, “God loves you very much. All of God’s blessings be with you today!” I addressed both cards, and dropped them off with the employee in the residence foyer.

Since I have a number of siblings and children, and my husband has some close relatives, too, I have absolutely no idea what it would be like to have no one. No person to care whether I was sick or in the hospital, or even whether I lived or died. Upon serious reflection, I am glad I wrote those cards.

I know this is a lovey-dovey weekend, a time for hearts and flowers, a time for romance and closeness. But it is also a weekend when people who do not have a significant other or family or even friends to wish them a happy Valentine’s Day could be quite sad. Lonelier than usual. Down in the dumps. Even, depressed. My suggestion? Write them a note. Send them a card. Pay a visit and give them a little Valentine cupcake. Or candy heart. Or small flowering plant, if their diet is restricted. Spread the sunshine!

And, don’t forget to tell them: “God loves you very much. All of God’s blessings be with you today!”

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.

To Feel, or Not To Feel? In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 26, 2015

secret is simple--prayer

To Feel, or Not To Feel? In Prayer.

It’s just Jesus and me, on the mountaintop! Together, praying and meditating, walking, and sitting in silence together. I feel so close to the Lord, it’s just amazing!

Well . . . not always. Even, not often. But, yes, sometimes.

It’s true, I don’t feel the awesome, mighty, yet intimate presence of God quite all the time. I would be lying if I said that I did. It’s only been recently—and I mean less than two hundred years—that feelings in prayer have been trusted. In selected writings of the Pietists and in the First and Second Great Awakenings of the Church (in certain parts of the world), scattered people reported deep feelings in prayer and in the relationship with God. But not many.

As Rev. Howell tells his readers, Martin Luther warned that deep feeling in prayer might well be a trap, that the devil might be seducing us into something not of God. [1] This was a common statement or concern, for many centuries. On my part, I am heartily glad that feelings are not suspected to be temptations or traps any longer!

Looking at the whole subject of feelings from the other side, however, I can understand how being too dependent on feelings and intuition can get me into trouble. Too much emphasis on feelings can cloud logic and common sense. And, when feelings go too far into states of mind that are negative or harmful in any way (like chronic depression, severe anxiety, and the like), that’s when other believers in God can be helpful.

Isolation, deprivation or fasting, except for brief and measured periods of time, is not positive. What comes to mind is an acronym used in the addiction, substance abuse, and recovery fields: H-A-L-T. Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Any one of these states can be a concern. And two at once? An even bigger concern. These states can also trigger or heighten negative emotion, exacerbating a bad feeling (or situation) into something much worse. Suggestion: if and when you feel this way? Seek out mature believers, ministers, or others you can trust, and open up to them. And, if this negative feeling continues? Please, seek out professional help, even call 911.

So, yes, having deep feeling in prayer and in our relationship with God can be great! But, as Rev. Howell so perceptively said, “Jesus did not come so we could feel different, Jesus came so we could be different.” [2] Amen! Help me—help us—to stick close to You, God, no matter how we feel. No matter what our situation is. Amen, and amen!

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] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 82.

[2] Ibid, 83.