Tag Archives: love

Prayer, Because Yes

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 8, 2018

hillside with fog - credit Rich Lewis Experiencing God wp

Prayer, Because Yes

Ever have an awful couple of weeks? I have. A loved one is seriously ill, and I need to travel out of state to the hospital. Yes, it is Advent. Yes, I am in one of the busiest times of the church year and of the calendar year. And yes, I am taking time out to go and see this dear loved one.

Sometimes, I need to give myself permission.

I am a member of a dear church some miles away from my house and from where I serve another church. This dear church has had an online Advent calendar each year. The Rev. Barb Bolsen submitted this marvelous poem to the church online Advent devotional. I appreciate so much these messages of encouragement and hope that come quietly into my email box early each morning. This was the one for today.

God Says Yes To Me – Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish and she said honey
She calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want
Thank God I said
And it is even okay if I don’t paragraph
My letters
Sweetcakes God said
Who knows where she picked that up
What I’m telling you is
Yes Yes

The magazine this poem was printed in, This Land (thislandpress.com), says Ms. Haught lives in Oklahoma. She lives in a small town, in a house older than the state itself.

I love the way Ms. Haught had such confidence in a loving, nurturing God. I appreciate that God talked back to this dear woman in the poem as she prayed, addressing her sass and questioning and inconsistency. (I know I have sass, questions, and inconsistency. Lots of all of them.) And sometimes, I just need to give myself the permission. Permission to pray, to go and visit a loved one, permission to say “yes.”

Dear loving God, thank You for Your nurture and love. Thank You for the promise You give in Jesus. Thank You for giving me—us—permission to be and to do and to love. Amen.

(The poem and this devotional originally appeared in the Equality Illinois “Seasons of Inclusion”)

@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

More on Compassion and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 28, 2018

compassion - in His steps

More on Compassion and Prayer

Father Nouwen had such insights. I’ve read a number of his book, and I am amazed at each one. Such simplicity, and such clarity of expression. The words with which he discusses the close relationship of compassion and prayer—so straight-forward. Even simple. (But NOT easy to do. Very rarely that.)

“Risks are involved. For compassion means to build a bridge to others without know whether they want to be reached.” [1] Bridge-building is definitely a trusting exercise of good faith. However, without the building of bridges, individuals would still be separated by walls and moats of their own making.

I fear that bitter feelings are often the dividers between individuals and groups. “Your brother or sister might be so embittered that he or she doesn’t expect anything from you. Then your compassion stirs up enmity, and it is difficult not to become sour yourself and say, “You see what I told you, it doesn’t work anyhow.” [2]

As I consider Father Nouwen, I cannot help but see him as someone with clarity of speech and insight. Someone who wrote many books, and touched many lives. How can someone like that not be a builder of bridges?

When we pray, we can try to build bridges. Each of us can strive to show compassion, to trust in God and in God’s love and caring. Is this easy? No, so in the least. Is this necessary? Only if we would like to be caring, compassionate individuals.

Dear Lord, help me show Your caring and love, in compassion and by building bridges. God, it doesn’t matter whether I build verbal bridges, bridges of relationship, or actual, concrete bridges to cross from one side to the other. Gracious God, bless each of us today, and encourage us to reach out in compassion. 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, 2005), 96.

[2] Ibid.

Wishing, Hoping in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 15, 2018

hope heart stone

Wishing, Hoping in Prayer

Father Nouwen had an intriguing definition of hope written by a student: “I see hope as an attitude where everything stays open before me….Daring to stay open to whatever will come to me today, tomorrow, two months from now, or a year from now—that is hope.” [1]

According to both the student and to Father Nouwen, when we hope, hope gives us the perseverance to continue trying, striving. Hope helps us to know we are on target in prayer to pray the prayer of hope.

When “wishes” come into the picture, what then? Is that like going to some sort of giant vending-machine in the sky? Or, perhaps, a wish-fulfillment sort of thing, where wishes magically appear—or magically disappear—as the pray-er wishes earnestly. While this may be one way of prayer, certainly, is it the best way? Ought I treat the Lord God Almighty, who made heaven and earth, like a vending machine? Where I can come up to the “God-o-matic,” punch a number or pull a knob, and out pops the answer to my prayer request?

As Nouwen says, wishes might indeed get tangled up with hope, and “concerns for how our wishes will be fulfilled. So, too, our prayers are not directed toward the gift, but toward the one who gives it….You wish that…but you hope in….” [2]

Hope is open-ended. Hope is expectation, pure and simple. Hope is simplicity itself. I realize that praying with hope may seem unduly optimistic and pie-in-the-sky. Yet, is this not the way a child comes to their Loving Heavenly Parent and asks? And, am I not described as a child before God? Please, God, help me to embrace that image. Help me to come to You with trust, and love, and hope, just as a child would.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 72.

[2] Ibid, 73.

Detached? Prayerful, Instead.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 27, 2018

immeasurable prayer power

Detached? Prayerful, Instead.

Oh, Father Nouwen, your words burrow deep within my heart. Or, deep within the flimsy defenses I’ve erected, rather. (Whichever it is, these words do burrow deep. Perhaps both deep in my heart AND deep within my flimsy defenses…)

So many of the unpleasant, downright irritating and repulsive character traits Father Nouwen mentions in this short section are true about me. At least, every once in a while, and sometimes much more often than that. These repulsive character traits do get in the way when I wish to pray. (And, especially when I do not wish to pray. Then, perhaps, they get the most in the way.)

Most striking to me today is the fact that I “can become attached to [my] own hate. As long as [I] look for retaliation, [I am] riveted to [my] own past.” [1]  Oh, how foul. How horrifying. Imagine, being stuck in an infernal hamster wheel of hate for my whole life long.

I have rarely been burdened with long-term hatred and the desire for retaliation, thank God! However, sometimes… Twisted daydreams of revenge and retaliation do flit across my mind, on occasion. Again, thank God they do not stick around. I would shrink back in terror and horror if my mind did happen to continually return to twisted thoughts like that.

“Don’t be afraid of him who wants to enter that space where you live, or to let him see what you are clinging to so anxiously…. Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, disappointment to him who reveals himself as love.” [2] Oh, dear God, let it be true! Even though I am filled with twisted, repulsive, bitter character traits and negative emotions, I know You continue to reveal Yourself as love. Reveal Yourself that way to me, today. Now.

With a hopeful heart—surprising, after considering this sad, depressing topic—I pray all of these things in the precious name of Jesus, 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), 6.

[2] Ibid.

In Which We Have an Election (Prayer)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 8, 2016

prayer-candles-on-blue-cloth

In Which We Have an Election (Prayer)

It is seldom I have difficulty formulating a thought. This evening, however, I am having that kind of difficulty.

The last few months have been challenging, divisive, and…difficult. To say the least.

I am so grateful to my good friend Episcopal Vicar Josh Thomas, and the website he maintains, www.dailyoffice.org. I humbly offer this Election Day prayer which he wrote, in hopes that it will begin to patch up the icy rifts and hurtful holes and jagged gashes in our American society, and between individuals, friends (sometimes former-friends), and even within families.

This has been quite an election season. Please God, may we roll up our sleeves and get to the business of forgiving, healing, working, and loving.

Here is Josh’s prayer:

For U.S. Election Day 2016
By Josh Thomas

Holy God, we ask your blessing on the election of a new President and Congress of the United States. This is such a divisive year, with very different visions offered by the candidates, with a background of war in many nations and the reality of violence at home. The results of our choices will resound throughout the world. Bless the candidates and voters; make all of us responsible for our actions; give us a clear result and a humble acceptance of the outcome, that peace and justice may prevail in this and every nation; through Jesus Christ, who came to save us from discord and violence and lead us to your heavenly home. Amen.

(Dear God, 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

PEACE: An Inside Job

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 5, 2016

PEACE: An Inside Job

IMG_0284

Another day to present two young people from St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights. Another day to see what kinds of impactful thoughts these high schoolers have.

Today, I noticed companion actions in both of the personal definitions of PEACE: ways of acting towards other people. Let’s see what else our two young people have to say.

Maggie’s personal definition: “PEACE is accepting others regardless of differences.”

What an excellent relational practice. (Believe me, Maggie, this is really difficult to do, as someone who has been trying to do this for a long time.) When I asked her to explain this statement, she readily said, “People should be more tolerant. Tolerance is a positive thing in order to have peace.”

Maeve’s personal definition: “PEACE is being kind to everyone.”

IMG_0286

I wanted Maeve to give me further information, and she did. “Peace is helped by being kind to every one and every thing. Then, peace will come.”

These young people have the right idea. Peace is one of the things where a portion of peace depends on the inside job. It depends on how individuals act and react, as well as their inner sense of grace, love and especially forgiveness. That is the soil in which peace is planted.

Dear God, thank You for giving teenagers such wonderful ideas. Help us all to remember these thoughts. In Jesus’s risen name we pray, amen.

@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

PEACE = Love and Respect

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 23, 2016

peace, respect blocks

PEACE = Love and Respect

Continuing on my Pursuing PEACE Project, today I continued to ask people for their personal definitions of PEACE. Thanks, Oakton Community College, for allowing me to come in to the space next to the cafeteria and set up a space. And, I am grateful to the Oakton Christian Fellowship for sitting by me and providing a welcome.

The next conversation I had over lunch time today was with Ben. A thoughtful man, he said “PEACE equals loving each other and respecting each other.”

Fascinating. I asked him to give me some more information about his definition. He was glad to do it. “I am currently in a Sociology class. We are learning about societies trying to sustain themselves.” He and I dialogued, and I understood him to say that society sees the maintenance of PEACE as a good and desirable thing.

Ben continued: “To have peace, we first have to start with love. If [as a society] you don’t have love, you have hatred. And, hatred is bad.”

How interesting, to view PEACE as a societal construct, and the acquisition and maintenance of PEACE as beneficial for all members of society. I must admit, I have not thought as much about that aspect of PEACE. Instead, I have much more interest in PEACE on a smaller scale: say, in a family or a group of people, or in relationships, or perhaps even within myself.

God, thank You for the grand variations of personal definitions! Thank You for your infinite variations of different kinds of people. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to many different views. Help me to remain open to each person’s ideas and viewpoints. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my 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.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er