Tag Archives: open hands

Prayer, with Open Hands

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 1, 2018

my heart saying a prayer

Prayer, with Open Hands

If ever I have wanted to learn to pray, Father Nouwen is an excellent teacher. His insights, his words, his example—all can lead me towards a warm, vibrant prayer life.

Take, for example, his latest definition of prayer. “Above all, prayer is a way of life which allows you to find a stillness in the midst of the world where you open your hands to God’s promises and find hope for yourself, your neighbor, and your world.” [1]

This reminds me so much of Fred Rogers. He, too, was a deeply spiritual man. Also an ordained minister, he was always striving to find ways to be more loving and open to his neighbors—which were everyone he met.

This makes me think. And I mean, really think. Do I open my hands to God’s promises? Do I find hope in God for myself, much less my neighbor or my world? Perhaps, if my neighbor closely resembles me. But, what if my neighbor does not look like me? What if they look different? Or speak a different language? Or wear different clothing? What if they were born halfway across the world? What then?

I truly do not think that mattered to Father Nouwen, and I don’t think that mattered to Fred Rogers, either.

“Praying pervades every aspect of our lives. It is the unceasing recognition that God is wherever we are, always inviting us to come closer and to celebrate the divine gift of being alive.” [2]

I want to learn to pray more deeply, and more freely. I’m reminded of the old joke from New York City—“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice.” I know I have been in the schools of prayer for many years, but I still feel like a rank amateur. My prayer life ebbs and flows, and I feel more and less discouraged, accordingly. (So, I suppose I must feel encouraged sometimes. Apparently not right now, though.)

As I come to the end of this small book, I pray that I may take these lessons to heart.

Dear Lord, thank You for sincere, genuine people of faith like Father Nouwen and Mister Rogers. May I take them as examples for me—for my thoughts, speech and actions. May I find joy in You and in Your presence. And, may I lead others into Your joy, to experience your love, mercy and rest. 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), 121.

[2] Ibid, 122.

Instead of a Gratitude List? A Thankfulness List!

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, November 29, 2014

THANK thank you God

Instead of a Gratitude List? A Thankfulness List!

In this thankful season of the year, I am going to write a Thankfulness List. Of course, this will be an abbreviated list. Only the high points, or what I can think of to write today.

God, I am going to address this list to You. You are the main One who matters, anyhow. So, this will be my Attitude of Thankfulness List. (For today, at least.)

Dear God, I am thankful for:

  • My family. I saw all four of my children yesterday, and I love all of them so much!
  • My family’s health. My immediate family is in good health, as are my siblings. Amen!
  • My husband. He is himself. A one of a kind guy. When You made him, God, You absolutely threw away the mold.
  • My job (which I love). I love providing pastoral care, preaching, teaching, love, concern and leadership for the church and congregation I am privileged to pastor.
  • My home. My condo is a warm, friendly, welcoming place. Thank You, God!
  • Plenty of food to eat. And, additional food to give away to food pantries.
  • A working car, computer, telephone, electricity in our home, and appliances to make our lives so much easier.
  • Sufficient clothes and shoes to wear. Plus, good things to give away to resale shops.
  • Wonderful music to listen to, books to read, and DVDs and movies to watch. In addition, the ability to make music, and write books and stories.
  • My health, since I celebrate a sobering anniversary—I had a stroke as a teenager on November 30, almost forty years ago. Other than some slight issues with my speech, I have been in good health ever since, for which I praise God. Thank You, dear God!

So, yes. I can praise God for all of these things. Perhaps I will write another Thankfulness List sometime soon.

Let’s pray. Dear God, I have so many things I can thank You for. And, I know I missed a great deal of other things I could be thankful for. Please, help me–help us to see where we can have a giving heart and open hands towards others. I truly want to spread the thankfulness and gratitude around. Again, God, thank You for everything You give to us, every day. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

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