Tag Archives: meditate

How Shall We Meditate?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bible with flowers, drawing

How Shall We Meditate?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had excellent advice on prayer and meditation. His suggestions to the seminarians at Finkenwalde were so pertinent.

His depth of experience in meditation and prayer provided such substance, especially the way in which Bonhoeffer taught how to meditate and pray using Scripture. “There is free meditation and meditation that is bound to Scripture. We advise the latter for the sake of the certainty of our prayers and the discipline of our thoughts.” [1]

Bonhoeffer’s suggestion to have all the seminarians meditate on the same passage of Scripture really intrigued me. Not only were the same few verses of the Bible meant to speak to each individual’s heart and mind and spirit, but moreover, the seminarians would then have the opportunity to share with each other. They might be able to discuss the passage even further, and really chew on, or meditate over the Word of God.

He gives instruction on prayer, too, as the seminarians compose themselves for the morning time of meditation. “If during meditation our thoughts move to persons who are near to us or to those we are concerned about, then let them linger there. That is a good time to pray for them.” [2] Bonhoeffer was quite serious both about prayer for others and continued prayer for the salvation of our own souls.

His call for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon all who meditate that day is an excellent reminder for all of us. The Holy Spirit enlightens us on a regular basis, giving us deeper insight into the text.

These few insights merely scratch the surface of prayer and meditation instruction, as far as Dietrich Bonhoeffer is concerned. (My sneaking feelings of inferiority are rising within, again. Note to self: this has got to be the result of my re-reading this superb book…)

@chaplaineliza

 

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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), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

Starting to Meditate on the Word

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 1, 2017

sit in pew, praying

Starting to Meditate on the Word

It’s June. It’s the start of the summer season. I will begin my summer sermon series the week after Pentecost (this coming Sunday). Plus, I just finished the anthology compiled by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Spiritual Classics. I wondered about another book I could go through in a similar way to the anthology, and I found one that seems to speak to me. This new book is also an anthology of sorts: a collection of short writings by theologian, professor and pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer.

Meditating on the Word was translated by David McI. Gracie. As we will see over the next weeks, reading the Bible was a source of devotion to Bonhöffer. He not only studied and interpreted the Bible, and heard the words of the Bible in worship services, but he found great comfort and meaning in praying, using the words of the Bible. He considered such reading and meditating on the words of the Bible another means of grace. (God-sent, and God-given.)

As Gracie mentions in his introduction, meditative reading of the Bible led Bonhöffer to prayer on a regular basis. “The Bible was the school of prayer for Bonhöffer, a school in which we learn the language of God, and ‘repeating God’s own words after him, we begin to pray to God.’” [1]

I read this book in depth some years ago, and tried to practice prayerful meditation on a regular schedule. Studying this book was so good for me. Once more, I look forward to practicing prayer and meditation using the Word of God.

“In examining these unfinished pieces, …we may feel freer to pick up hints and insights that fit with the broken pieces of our own life and worship.” [2] I hope and pray that this book serves as a regular help to others as they meditate and pray, too. Dear Lord, help all of us as we pray.

@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), 8.

[2] Ibid, 9.

Sitting, Praying, Letting Go.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 4, 2017

group-prayer

Sitting, Praying, Letting Go.

When I read this small section of the book How to Sit, I felt so badly that I did not sit and pray more than I do. (I know, it seems ironic, or perhaps even perverse, to be sad and regretful that I did not take as much time to pray and meditate regularly. But—there it is.)

Several parts of this reading hit home. For example, one part that smarted a great deal was the following: “We carry our past sorrows and anger and they become a kind of baggage that makes life heavy. Sitting meditation is a way to practice letting go of the things we carry needlessly.” [1]

Yes, these sentences hurt. Yet, they also gave me hope. When I pray and meditate, God helps me to let go of all those things I carry around with me, needlessly. All the stuff. All the hurt, and pain, and anxiety, and irritation, and awkwardness. All the difficult emotions, and hurt feelings, and painful experiences, and the memories I want to hide from. God helps me to bear them, and gradually to release them all.

Thank You, God! You not only provide me with more stability and serenity and peace, but You make it more and more easy for me to enter into prayer and meditation with You. How awesome is that? I praise You, and I am so grateful for Your help.

@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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 48.

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 29, 2017

sitting-sunrise-mindful

Pray. Meditate. Nourish Yourself.

I have had a stressful several days. I am sick. I have a garden-variety cold, but it is particularly awful. (I feel particularly awful, too.)

I needed to take my daughter for an interview several hours away. We left on Friday morning, and came back yesterday evening. I felt like death warmed over yesterday morning, truly. However, I managed to get my daughter there and back again, and to all of the activities she needed to attend.

I really needed this reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book How to Sit tonight. He described practicing mindful sitting anywhere, even on a place like a train or a bus traveling to work in the morning. “You can create a meditation hall of your bus or your train. Use your time, wherever you are, to nourish and heal yourself.” [1]

What a concept! Nourishing and healing myself certainly sounds appealing, especially right now. (Especially with an awful cold.) When I slow down and concentrate on my breathing, and on allowing my muscles to relax, it is so beneficial to me and lowering my stress levels. When I am able to coax my tight shoulders and neck to relax and unwind, I feel so much better, in all kinds of ways.

Dear God, thanks for this excellent advice. Help me to not only read it, but to follow these excellent suggestions. It will be so good for me to practice these simple things. Thank You for such amazing suggestions that allow us to nourish and heal ourselves, from the inside out.

@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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 41.

Daily, Mindful Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily, Mindful Prayer.

flower-in-rocks-mindfulness

Sometimes, life happens. In my life, other people’s lives. Mindfulness helps when life happens. Daily, mindful prayer.

I went through life, as usual. Yeah, I encountered some rough spots, as well as some great times. Sometimes stuff happens to me, and sometimes stuff happens to my family. Like, when an elderly loved one of mine had a serious illness in November, and the doctors finally told the family that he needed to enter hospice at the beginning of December. Then, two weeks later, he died. So, the extended family had to deal with something quite serious—a death in the family. On top of which, things were complicated by the holidays.

Sometimes stuff just happens. All during the fall, during my loved one’s illness, I was reminded that I could pray and meditate anywhere.

Prayer and meditation are not determined by anyone’s position. Sitting, standing, walking—however you would like to practice, it works. What’s more, prayer, meditation and mindfulness are is not exclusive, or only for one particular group of people. Each one of us has the opportunity to reach for the stars.

Each day, each night, mindful meditation and prayer are good options. I need to remember that. Gracious God, help me. Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to come before You, at any time, any place.

@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

Look Deeply. Pray. Meditate.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 18, 2017

lily-and-lily-pads-mindful

Look Deeply. Pray. Meditate.

When I think about meditation and mindfulness now, my breath automatically starts to slow down. I don’t necessarily have to begin the practice of mindful meditation and prayer. It often just starts to happen.

Yet, this is not the only thing that happens during meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh had some excellent insights in the small section of the book I read tonight, including where he talked about the practice of meditation giving us the opportunity to heal and transform.[1] I don’t know about you, but I particularly need the chance to heal and transform. I often feel broken and hurting. When I am offered the possibility of healing and transformation, I’d be foolish not to take it!

Slowing down, slowing my breathing, stretching my neck, back and shoulders—all of these are so helpful to my relaxation. Preparation for a time of prayer, of healing and transformation. And then, even if I quiet myself for just a few minutes, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Finally, as I enter into that quiet place of mindful meditation, I also have the opportunity to see clearly. To look deeply into what surrounds me on the outside as well as what is inside of me. This does not completely banish fear and anxiety, but it certainly diminishes it. Anything that lessens fear and anxiety is definitely something I support. And, mindful meditation certainly does that.

Thank You, God, for this spiritual practice. Thank You for leading me to it, and giving me the opportunity to practice prayer and mindful meditation. 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 31.

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 16, 2017

A Celebration of Life and Breath

Breathe. That’s right, feel your breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Intentional, mindful. Now, breathe more deeply. Slowly. In and out. Be exquisitely aware of each breath in, and each breath out.

You got all that? You—I—we all are celebrating being alive as we become mindful and aware of each breath we take. What a marvelous gift from God.

As I read another short section in the slim book How to Sit, by Thich Nhat Hanh, I came across a significant insight. (Or, if you choose, it’s the most obvious statement.) He says: “If you are breathing mindfully in and out, you already have insight.” [1]

When I sit and meditate, take my time and pray, I have the opportunity to deepen and slow my breathing. I can take the time to relax my muscles, loosen the tension in my neck, shoulders and spine, and become quiet. Restful. Mindful.

Dear God, is this what You want me to do, right now? Rest in You, I mean. Rest, and praise, and be thankful. 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 29.