Tag Archives: name of God

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 20, 2015

LAMB OF GOD lamb John 1-29

Lamb of God, in Prayer

Today’s Name of God has such power for me. Such resonance. It’s another of my go-to expressions for God and God’s person. God’s character. My word—Name of God for today is Lamb of God.

As I used Centering Prayer earlier today, this phrase made it so easy, so immediate for me to go to prayer. “Lamb of God” has so many connections in my brain and memory. So many of the memories come from music. This phrase is a touchstone and foundation for countless songs and hymns, not to mention portions of religious services and pieces of classical music.

One of the immediate hymns that came to my mind is from the German liturgical tradition. A hymn I learned as a child in the Lutheran church where I was baptized and confirmed. The words of this hymn were written in the mid 1500’s by Nikolaus Decius, a follower of Martin Luther. Johann Sebastian Bach used the music for this hymn, O LAMM GOTTES, as a basis (cantus firmus) for the opening section of the St. Matthew Passion.

I think my lifelong attraction to and love for this hymn comes from my early exposure to it. (I was a serious, contemplative child. Some might have said precocious.) Here are the words, as found in the Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church, copyright 1958.

“O, Lamb of God most holy!/Who on the Cross didst suffer,/And patient, still and lowly,/ Thyself to scorn didst offer;/Our sins by Thee were taken,/Or hope had us forsaken:/Have mercy on us, Jesus!”

This hymn is usually classified as a Lenten hymn. I have also found it under the Sacraments section of various hymnals. I keep coming back to the hymn and to the words of Decius. Simple, profound, moving. This expression of God, this Name of God will most often bring me to tears. With the imagery of the Passover Lamb, unblemished. As John the Baptist said (in the first chapter of the Gospel of John), “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

So, all of this flashed through my head in the time I centered, using this Name of God. The time of prayer was deeply moving to me. I think it might have been the most intense experience I had all month.

Dear Lamb of God, thank You for this time of prayer, of focus, and of meditation on You and Your Name. Thank You.

@chaplaineliza

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

Center on King of Kings

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 19, 2015

KING OF KINGS Jesus

Center on King of Kings

When I think of the biblical Name of God “King of Kings,” I think of the chorus from Handel’s oratorio “The Messiah.” At least, I did before I came across the list of Names I am using for this month’s prayer prompts.

Yes, I am choosing one of the Bible’s Names of God today, and my word—Name of God for today is King of Kings. (And yes, I am hearing the “Hallelujah chorus” in my head.) However, I feel as if I saw a whole new side to this phrase after today. I found another place in the Bible that holds those same phrases. 1 Timothy 6:15.

As I used Centering Prayer to focus and meditate on that particular Name of God, I must make an admission. My mind kept returning to the passage in 1 Timothy 6. “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” How awesome is that? I settled by using the chorus from the Messiah to pray, and transitioned into the phrase “King of Kings.”

How wonderful to know that the Bible has more than one place where I can find the phrases “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords.” Thanks, God! You are awesome.

@chaplaineliza

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

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, September 18, 2015

JESUS you shall call Him

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

For today, the Name of God is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (among other places). My word—Name of God for today is Jesus.

Matthew 1 has Joseph, Mary’s betrothed husband, finding out about Mary’s pregnancy. Joseph wishes to be as considerate as possible, and decides to break off the engagement quietly. An angel intervenes.

I wonder how speechless I would be if an angel came to me in a dream? And not only came to me, but gave me specific instructions and encouragement? I mean, specific to my precise life decisions and future life course? I cannot even imagine how speechless, amazed, awe-struck, even groveling in the earth I would be.

Yet, that is the exact situation Joseph found himself in.

As reported by Matthew, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”

So. That was the Name of God I chose to use today for Centering Prayer. I had a fruitful time of prayer! (Much more fruitful than yesterday, for example.) Jesus. Joshua. Yeshua. Jesus saves. Salvation. All of that and more were going through my head. I felt much more connected than scattered as I prayed.

Thank You, Lord Jesus for coming into the world, being a Mediator between me and God, and providing me with salvation. What a marvelous thing You did. Thank You, thank You.

@chaplaineliza

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

Focus on Immanuel, God With Us

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, September 17, 2015

IMMANUEL Isaiah 7 God with us

Focus on Immanuel, God With Us

Today’s Name of God? This is one of the words I have used a number of times in the past for meditation and Centering Prayer! Really. Really and truly. Yes, my word—Name of God for today is Immanuel.

Except—I couldn’t quite focus, or settle down to pray in depth. I set my alarm for twenty minutes. Yes. I sat in my comfortable computer chair (with back support). Yes. But as I tried to settle and pray and focus on “Immanuel,” my silly brain kept skittering off in all directions.

“Immanuel” comes from Isaiah, chapter 7: “14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.“ This Name means “God with us,” a particularly meaningful Name to me. For years, when I recalled this Name of God, I’ve known God is not far away, distant or remote. That thought is not only reassuring but also comforting. My God is present, and right by my side.

It was rainy this afternoon and evening, with a powerful storm blowing through the city. I spent a while on the road, especially coming back from a late lunch south of downtown. Yes, I remembered all that about God. I wasn’t concentrating on the mighty and powerful aspects of God, but on the loving, nurturing and comforting part.

Immanuel, God with us. God with me. Dear God, thank You for being there for me. Thank You for loving and caring for me, so much that You would come alongside of me. No matter what.

@chaplaineliza

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

Praying, Centering on I AM

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exod 3 MosesburningbushByzantinemosaic-stcatherinesmonasterymtsinai-1500

Praying, Centering on I AM

Today I was pleased to consider one of the most significant Names of God I know of, in either the New Testament or the Hebrew Scriptures. My word—Name of God for today is I AM.

This Name comes from Exodus 3, where Moses is herding sheep on the mountain in the Sinai Peninsula. He sees a burning bush, burning without being consumed. God speaks to Moses out of the bush. During the conversation, Moses asks God for God’s name. “I AM” is the response.

The Name of God is more than a static “I am,” one time only. Instead, it encompasses a whole lot more. “I AM” goes beyond time. Translated and amplified, Exodus 3:14 states “And God said to Moses, I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be; and He said, You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you!”

When I was praying earlier, I had one of my occasional mind-pictures. Sort of like on a video screen in my head. I saw the hillside in the mountains. I saw the burning bush. And, I saw the back of Moses (not his face), sinking to his knees. He had already taken off his sandals and tossed them aside. Moses’ herd was forgotten, for the moment. He was totally focused on this Burning Bush and the Voice that came from it.

This concept of “I AM” transcends time, and space, and enters eternity itself.

Isn’t that what God does? Transcend time and space, breaking through into eternity? Just as God is more than just male, more than just female, God transcends those human constructs. God is more than. God is both/and. God is the All in All. God was, and is, and is to come. My puny human brain cannot even comprehend or even conceptualize such a thing. All that comes to me is a feeble “wow!” That just about covers it. Wow.

Dear God, awesome and great I AM, as I consider this particular Name of Yours, I feel absolutely inadequate. Almost like Isaiah when he had his vision of the Temple. Dear God, thank You for revealing Yourself in this way. Almost coming down to humans’ level. Help me to keep on learning about You, and praying to You. In Jesus’ mighty and powerful Name I pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

Centering on the Holy One

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 14, 2015

HOLY ONE of Israel Isaiah 47, Holy

Centering on the Holy One

For today, I chose a Name of God from the Bible that is simple and profound. This is my word of the day for Centering Prayer. My word—Name of God for today is Holy One.

This Name comes from Isaiah 49, and incorporates the Hebrew word for holy, or “kodesh.” Some years ago I had the most difficulty figuring out exactly what “holy” meant. I knew it was a Name of God. I knew it referred to things that were of God. But, I had a radical sense of disconnect between me and a clear idea of that definition.

So, I dug more deeply. I tried to understand.

Now, I think I have come to some sort of wider understanding of the multi-faceted definition at “holy.” Holy can also be “set apart.” In the case of God, God is so far above us humans, I can well imagine how God is set apart.

When I began praying, I thought of the prophet writing those words. What did he mean by them? I kept bringing myself back to the Name “Holy One,” and I kept thinking first one thing, then another.

I am surprised that this well-known image from Isaiah—seeing God high up and in the Temple, with the seraphim flying around, saying “Holy, holy, holy!”—surprised that it did not come to mind. That’s one of my favorite biblical images. Sure, it’s terrifying. Sure, I feel like hiding my face before that idea of God! But that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s how I am supposed to feel. God, I come before You in gratitude for my salvation and also in awe of Your majesty, power and set-apartness. You are so glorious. I can only fall before You in awe. Thank You, God, for this new (to me, that is) verse. A new look, and a fresh expression of Your glory.

@chaplaineliza

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

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jesus - mosaic from Deesus panel, south aisle of Hagia Sophia

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

I love the letter to the Colossians. It has been a few years since I’ve studied it in depth, but I love the out-and-out theological expressions it uses. Some other parts of the New Testament are more action-oriented, and I love that, too. But sometimes, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some deep theological statement. Like in the middle of Colossians, chapter 1.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible, my word of the day. My Name of God for today is Head of the Body. So, I centered today on this Name.

Instead of just choosing a Name and getting right down to prayer, I took a look at the first chapter of Colossians. I even checked out some notes on verse 18, where “Head of the Body, the Church” appears. I discovered “Head of the Body” appears several additional times in the New Testament, including Ephesians 1, where Paul fleshes out the “Head of the Body” a bit more.

I remember briefly thinking of the description in 1 Corinthians of the Church being the Body of Christ, and each member having different gifts, different ways to be useful. And—just think. Christ is Head of that whole multi-gifted, multi-talented, multi-ethnic, multi-colored Body. What a marvelous Body to be considered part of!

Then, I tried my best to focus on the Colossians verse—specifically, on the Name of God I chose for today. I had limited success. Sure, I’d focus on “Head of the Body” for several moments, but then I would get distracted.

The best thing (or perhaps, best thought) that came to me involved the Head. The Head is connected to the Body. The Head (and the brain inside it) controls the whole Body, and tells the Body what to do and which way to go. The Head is very much an organic part of the Body, and unless part of the Body is malfunctioning, it responds to the direction of the Head. Considers the Head to be in charge of the Body.

Wow. That means I am in direct communication with the Head of the Body/the Church. I don’t need to find some special way to communicate, since I am organically part of the Head. That means you are, too, if you are a part of the Body.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for this fruitful time of prayer today. Thank You for this excellent Name of God I found today. Help me to keep in touch with You, stay connected, and know that I am part of this amazing Body of Christ. Thanks, Lord!

@chaplaineliza

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

Naming God Great High Priest

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 12, 2015

GREAT HIGH PRIEST Jesus is better crown Heb 4

Naming God Great High Priest

I took another little leap today. I used a different kind of Name of God for my word(s) for Centering Prayer today. My Name of God for today is Great High Priest.

Why a leap, you wonder? Because the Name did not quite feel to me like a Name of God. Sure, a High Priest is special. One of a kind. But Aaron and his descendants are people. Human beings. Not God Almighty. That’s why I initially didn’t feel like the Great High Priest was God.

My mind was flitting about, in between times I actually prayed and concentrated on the Name “Great High Priest.” It was a good time of prayer, but a somewhat interrupted time of prayer.

Then, as I prayed, I started to reflect where this Name came from. The letter to the scattered Hebrews uses several rhetorical devices to get its points across, including the repetition of the term “better.” Jesus is “better” than prophets, angels, Moses, Aaron, and the priestly succession. Thus, He’s superior. I guess that makes Him better than the best.

Dear God, thanks for this focused time to concentrate on an idea and a Name of Yours that I usually don’t think of. The image of Jesus as High Priest usually doesn’t even cross my consciousness. And I mean, ever. I appreciate calling You by different Names, and even by Names I don’t often think of. It’s a great experience. Truly.

@chaplaineliza

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

Center on “In the Beginning, God”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, September 11, 2015

GOD in the beginning, God - grey

Center on “In the Beginning, God”

Let’s start at the very beginning—a very good place to start. The first chapter of Genesis. The first verse. “In the beginning, God—“

I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible, my word of the day. My Name of God for today is God. Elohim, one of the Hebrew words for God or Lord.

I departed from my usual habit of simply meditating and centering in prayer of that Name of God, and looking up the verse afterwards. No, I was curious as to exactly what was going on with this Name of God. So, I checked out several different translations of Genesis 1:1, as well as several different commentaries.

Specifically trying not to get too much information in my head, I earnestly tried to limit my reading to only the first verse in Genesis 1. And, even that might be construed as too much. (For Centering Prayer, anyway.) I refreshed my memory concerning this Hebrew word. A noun in the plural, I had forgotten that Elohim/God takes singular verbs. (Such as “my God IS” instead of “my Gods ARE.”)

Again, I tried not to get too hung up on the words. I was able to mostly pray and meditate on the Person and Name of God, as found in Genesis 1. Yes, in my mind I saw a windswept plain, huge in size, shape and loneliness. Elohim was over the earth, and created—brought form into the planet.

Suddenly, Aslan the Lion sprang into my mind, singing Narnia into being. (A narrative representation of the beginning of Genesis, thanks to C.S. Lewis and his book The Magician’s Nephew.) I liked this image! (This is one of my favorite books in the Chronicles of Narnia, too!)

I felt comforted, held by loving hands (paws?) as I watched everything being created. I knew it might be difficult thing for others, though. However, this centering prayer time was set aside for me. For my personal use and encouragement.

Thank You, God! Thanks for this wonderful source of encouragement and strength.

@chaplaineliza

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

Center on Gift of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GIFT OF GOD present

Center on Gift of God

Today’s Name of God surprised me. Almost shocked me, even. Not the Name, itself, but where it was located. The situation where I found it.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve committed to Centering Prayer each day in September. And, to aid me in this prayer method, I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible. I’m using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Gift of God.

I had quickly glanced at my list of Names of God (and there are quite a lot of them!). This was as I settled and quieted myself to pray. I noted that “Gift of God” was found in the Gospel of John, and then I started in to pray. I had a peaceful time of prayer, with occasional thoughts of Jesus handing me a wrapped present, or looking at a table piled with presents (almost like at a wedding reception or something). I felt open, receptive, and it was a good time of prayer.

However—after my time of prayer when I checked out exactly where the Name of God came from, I saw right away it was included in the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. John chapter 4. “10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

I find the Gospel of John fascinating. How John uses such simple, straight-forward language to get across such deep thoughts! Here in verse 10, the Gift of God could mean a metaphorical gift. Or, Jesus could be referring to Himself. (As this list of Names of God suggests.) Regardless, this phrase makes a fruitful foundation on which to pray and meditate.

Thank You for my times of Centering Prayer. Thank You for the phrase “Gift of God.”

@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