Tag Archives: Lord

Does Prayer Matter?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 10, 2018

man kneeling in prayer

Does Prayer Matter?

Oh, Lord. This is such a pertinent question. Just what I was talking about with an older friend of mine today. (Yes, another minister, not that that makes it a negative thing.) Yet—this question of “Does Prayer Matter?” only served as a corollary to the overarching question we discussed, which is “Why Suffering?”

Neither of us—me or my friend—came up with anything deeply profound. We simply brought up two options that have been discussed for decades (referring to the wars and conflicts of the 20th century). Such catastrophic events, on the large scale. Such horrific experiences, ahappening to so many individuals. On all sides, of all conflicts.

“If we say that it’s good to turn to God in prayer for a spare minute, or if we grant that a person with a problem does well to take refuge in prayer, we have as much as admitted that praying is on the margin of life and doesn’t really matter.” [1]

Oh, dear God, I so want prayer to matter! Why does it seem so much as if people only dabble in prayer? (Even me, sometimes. Forgive me, Lord, for my inattentiveness in prayer.) I suppose with me, as with many others, when things are going well, or even moderately okay,

“If we think that a little praying can’t do any harm. We will soon find that it can’t do much good anyway. Prayer has meaning only if it is necessary and indispensable.” [2]

Why do people forget You, or forget what we ought to be doing, which is thanking You for all You so graciously give to each one. I want to walk with the Lord, yes, and sit with the Lord, too. Dear God, please forgive me me for my uncaring attitude towards You, and towards prayer, which is a simple wy of communicating with You. 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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 84.

[2] Ibid, 85.

Saying Prayers of Petition

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 31, 2016

Saying Prayers of Petition

Every Sunday at my church, we have prayer time. The weekly bulletin has a list of names on the back; names of those who have requested prayer or has some need. Sharing joys and concerns. Everyone in the congregation has the opportunity to mention a prayer. Something they are glad or sad about.

Yes, there are some seniors on the list. People in need of healing, people homebound. Cancer, tumors, kidneys. General weakness. Transferring from one level of care to another. I keep them on the list as long as the congregation requests it. And, almost every week, we close with the words our Lord taught us to pray: the Lord’s Prayer.

We bring all of these before God, knowing God will hear our prayers. The Lord hears us when we cry out, when we are silent, and when we use groanings too deep for words. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. Please, Lord.

@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 #PursuePEACE . Pursuing Peace – Thanks!   And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Lord, I Cannot Do This Alone

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 29, 2015

eternal life John

Lord, I Cannot Do This Alone

I am approaching the end of the Lord’s Prayer, and the end of the month of October. Appropriate and fitting that I ought to consider today’s topic. Today’s prayer is about Death and Eternity. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer deals with “For Ever and Ever” (Prayer 538, page 161) [1]

As I read through the prayers in this section, I was drawn to one particular prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The notation alongside of the prayer is marked “written while awaiting execution in a Nazi prison.”

I have done extensive reading of Bonhoeffer’s writings, as well as pertinent biographical information (and two biographies). Bonhoeffer was a sincere man of great faith in the unrelenting face of evil. Most people do not know with precision exactly when they are going to die. I am afraid Bonhoeffer did. This is what he wrote.

“O God, early in the morning I cry to You. Help me to pray/And to concentrate my thoughts on You;/I cannot do this alone.” – As he neared the moment of his execution, he asked for help. He knew he was unable to walk that path alone.

“In me there is darkness,/But with You there is light;/I am lonely, but You do not leave me;/I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help;/I am restless, but with You there is peace./In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience;” These are five compare/contrast statements. I feel certain that Bonhoeffer definitely, deeply felt each of these negatives. And I am equally certain that he was infinitely glad (relieved?) that God met him and matched him with each of these positives.

“I do not understand Your ways,/But You know the way for me.” – O, Lord. Can there be any statement so truthful? So acknowledging of Your care? You know us so much better than we can possibly know ourselves.

“Restore me to liberty,/And enable me so to live now/That I may answer before You and before me./Lord, whatever this day may bring,/Your name be praised.” – I am moved beyond measure. “Restore me to liberty,” indeed! I think Bonhoeffer knew very well what that meant, for him.

Dear Lord, gracious God, enable me to come before You in grace, truth and rigorous honesty, and to truly echo Bonhoeffer’s words: that “whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.”

@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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 161.

Give Back to Us the Light, Lord!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 28, 2015

sunrise over the clouds

Give Back to Us the Light, Lord!

With the end of October drawing near, the darkness approaches, closes in. Not a positive thing, especially for someone with Seasonal Affective Disorder (fittingly shortened to SAD). Darkness is also a big deal for the worship and vigil of Holy Saturday. Today’s prayer comes under the notation “For the Kindling of the Light on Easter Eve.”

This is one of the oldest prayers I have yet seen, by Prudentius (348-410), in the section “Thine Is the Kingdom.” (Prayer 522, page 158) [1] Today’s prayer is about Sacraments.

Light is not a sacrament of the Church. In my Protestant tradition, baptism and communion are the two designated sacraments. However—light is fundamental to Christian belief. I can well understand how someone as significant as Prudentius could pen these distinctive lines.

“Good captain, maker of the light” – referring to Christ, who is acknowledged to be active in creation. And, focusing on the light. (Or, is it perhaps an oblique reference to the Light, Jesus, as mentioned in John 8:12?)

“Who dost divide the day and night” – again, a reference to the Second Person of the Trinity. Genesis 1 vividly speaks of the division in the first Creation narrative.

“The sun is drowned beneath the sea” – I think this is an allusion to the Sun of Righteousness, another name for Jesus from verses such as Malachi 4:2. And drowned? Under the sea? I suspect this is a reference to Holy Saturday. Remembering our Lord when He died. Descended into hell, in the words of the Apostles Creed (one of the oldest existing Creeds).

“Chaos is on us, horribly.” – Ah, the chaos of Holy Saturday. Horrible, desperate loneliness. Chaos of Genesis 1:2, formless, void. Empty. Wasteland. Who can save us from this desperate state?

“O Christ, give back to faithful souls the light!” – Dear Christ, hear our cry. Send us Your light. Lead us forth from the seeming endless void of Holy Saturday into the blazing brightness of Easter morning.

@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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 158.

Fire of the Spirit, Hear Us

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Holy Spirit descending dove

Fire of the Spirit, Hear Us

Do you have allergies? I do, unfortunately. Allergic to several different kinds of molds. So, autumn is not one of the best times for me. Sneezes, snuffles, eyes stream, tickle in the back of the throat. And, yes, I do have a roundabout way that this ties in to the topic for today.

The topic of today’s prayer is Gifts of the Spirit. is The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “For Thine is the Kingdom.” (Prayer 508, page 131) [1] As I read this prayer from the pen of St. Hildegard of Bingen, I cannot help but feel badly. When most people consider the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s gifting, they get excited. (Can’t help it!)

Sadly, I am not up to it. A mild sinus headache is making me miserable, and it all stems from my fall allergies. (Sorry, Lord.) Besides, the air pressure outside is particularly low. It will be raining for about 24 hours, and boy, can I tell.

I suspect Hildegard had problems, too. If not exactly like mine, at least similar. (Perhaps she even might have had allergies.) Anyway, here’s the prayer:

“Fire of the Spirit, life of the lives of creatures,/ spiral of sanctity, bond of all natures,/glow of charity, lights of clarity, taste/of sweetness to sinners, be with us and hear us./Composer of all things, light of all the risen,/ key of salvation, release from the dark prison,/hope of all unions, scope of chastities, joy/in the glory, strong honour, be with us and hear us.”

Dear Holy Spirit, I read that we are supposed to be celebrating and being joy-filled. Yet, even the mention of Your Fire cannot help me to excuse myself. Please change my insides. Please, Lord, heal me. Restore me. Change me.

@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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 131.

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 24, 2015

kyrie notes

Have Mercy Upon Us, Lord

I rummaged around the Church of England’s prayer and worship website this evening. Lo and behold, I found several fascinating tidbits. Like, the part about Evening Prayer, also known as Compline. Or, one of the Divine Offices (or, services).

“The ancient office of Compline derives its name from a Latin word meaning ‘completion’ (completorium). It is above all a service of quietness before the rest at the end of the day.” [1] Quiet, completion. Sounds like just the ticket to me.

I was particularly wondering about a centuries-old section found in many prayers and services: the Kyrie. Yes, I have been meaning to look into this part of the Evening Service (which I view at http://www.dailyoffice.org ). The part about the Kyrie Eleison. Webster’s definition of KYRIE: ‘a short liturgical prayer that begins with or consists of the words “Lord, have mercy.”’

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Repeated three times with a variation, this ancient prayer encompasses the deepest cry of many hearts.

Just as the Apostle Paul mentions in Romans 8, sometimes we have no words when we pray. And, sometimes the Holy Spirit prays for us, and interprets those groanings for us. And, sometimes, the Kyrie does the same thing. I know I have used the Kyrie in just that way, all the way down to groaning and groveling on the floor. (Or, the chair, or wherever I was sitting.)

Thank You, Lord, for coming to my rescue in time of great need. Thank You, Lord, for sending the Holy Spirit to interpret my groanings that are too deep for words. And, thank You, Lord, for listening to me whenever I need You, whenever I am feeling rotten or scared or anxious. Thank You for listening.

@chaplaineliza

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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/join-us-in-daily-prayer/introduction-to-daily-prayer.aspx

Our Help, Who Made Heaven and Earth

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 10, 2015

The Lord, maker of heaven and earth

The Lord, maker of heaven and earth

Our Help, Who Made Heaven and Earth

“Our help is in the Name of the Lord; the maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 is a fine way to start off a prayer. Evening Prayer, to be exact, at http://www.dailyoffice.org.

Much of the stuff advocated by these prayers (or, Compline, if we are to be specific) strikes me as being hopeful. Hope-filled. No matter what else is going on in my life, I can get a little boost (or, a bigger boost) from the prayers.

It’s not that things are falling down, around my ears. Certainly not! But, when I think about my life, and the small conversations and the larger happenings that go on around me each day, I have it on good authority that God wins, in the end. Even though Satan does his best to trip me up, I know who wins the war.

Lord, thank You for watching over all members and friends of Your family. Thanks for giving people Your hope, too. I know sometimes, things stink. They fall apart. I know, I have lived it. But—You are there, with me. You never leave me nor forsake me. Every now and then? I need to hear that, Lord. (Sometimes more often than now and then.) Thank You, God. I need the hope. The boost. So be it, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .