Tag Archives: open

The Externals of Christmas

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

Jesus and children drawing

The Externals of Christmas

Somehow, the externals of Christmas get in the way. You know. Last-minute presents, decorations, short visits, running errands, waiting in line. The externals take away from important things like praying. Worshipping. Making time for God. Loving my neighbor.

As Henri Nouwen mentions in today’s Advent reading: “How hard it is to remember…the difference between the urgent and the important.” [1]

I am afraid I am unfamiliar with Pѐre Thomas. (Nouwen mentions him in today’s reading.) Pѐre Thomas wants his readers to spend the days before Christmas in prayer. Such a difficult task!

I strive to pray more, and I fall down on the job. I try, and try, and try again. Alas, I cannot keep this discipline of prayer. Forgive me, Lord.

“Christ wants to be born in us, but we must be open, willing, receptive, and truly welcoming.” [2]

Isn’t that the key, Lord? The key to so much of living? The way of following Jesus?

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to follow You. Lead me in Your way. Give me patience and understanding with those who have different views, and who come from different cultures. Thank You for many myriads of people—all made by You—individuals with differences. Lead us out of darkness and blindness. Lead us into Your Light. 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

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 38.

[2] Ibid.

Acceptance and Faith—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 5, 2015

life is simple - we make it complicated

Acceptance and Faith—in Prayer

Oh, Lord. Acceptance! Accepting life on life’s terms. Accepting things as they really are, not as I wish them to be. And, not as I fear they are, either.

When individuals arrive in the doorway of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ve heard all different kinds of reactions. Anywhere from “I can’t find any help here … “ to “I’ve found my kind of people!”

(Or, if you like, when they are ready to be honest, open and willing.)

A twin factor in a walk of early recovery is that of faith. People need faith that this program of Alcoholics Anonymous will work. Just like people need faith that God (or their Higher Power) is waiting for them, cheering them on.

And, perhaps the most important thing about the word “faith” is acknowledging that I have little or no power over how things actually turn out. That is surprisingly freeing. As I encourage those in recovery to place things (including their lives) into the hands of God as they understand God, there can be a sense of release and of turning it all over.

As the meditation book Keep It Simple says, “Throughout the day, I’ll think of the Eleventh Step. I’ll pray to my Higher Power, ‘Thy will, not mine, be done,’” [1]

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for acceptance and faith. It’s a relief to accept things as they really are, in this world. Help me to have the faith to turn things over to You. 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 sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 5 reading.

Something Completely Different—In Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 1, 2015

Step 11 coin

Something Completely Different—In Prayer

Prayer and meditation mean a lot to me. I try to do one or both on a regular basis. Recovery principles also mean a lot to me. (Did you know that I have a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, certified by the state of Illinois?) Helping people in recovery and their loved ones is also important to me.

That is why I am devoting the month of November to prayer and meditation, as seen through the lens of people in recovery. Since November is the 11th month, in many daily reading books Step Eleven is a natural focus for the month. What is Step Eleven, you wonder? I am glad you asked.

I will be looking at “Keep It Simple,” a daily meditation book from the Hazelden Foundation. Here are my thoughts from the reading for November 1st.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him … “ – First half of Step Eleven. For people in recovery and their loved ones who practice the Twelve Steps, Step Eleven is an important part of the spiritual side of recovery.

As I have talked with people early in recovery, they often are distant from any idea of God or a Higher Power. Many of these people are hesitant to accept the concept of God, even as each individual understands God. That is perfectly all right. Two important words for recovering people are “willing” and “open.” People who are willing to work the Twelve Steps need only to have the willingness to be open to the idea of a God or a Higher Power. That is all, one step at a time.

Conscious contact means knowing and sensing God in our lives throughout the day.” [1] This is the next step. Once a recovering person is open and willing to God, then comes the possibility of conscious contact with God as each person understands God.

Dear Lord, gracious God, I thank You for this excellent reminder to concentrate on You. And, with today’s meditation, I pray that our relationship does grow stronger, day by day. 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

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 1 reading.

 

Living with Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 21, 2015

seek to be honest, open, willing

Living with Soul

Living life can be hard. Unless one is in touch with the Soul, that is. Then, life is much easier.

According to Anne Wilson Schaef, if that is the case, life can be much more simple, too. Simple, in the way of straight forward. For Wilson Schaef in Handbook for the Soul, the purpose of life is not to fix, manage and control. Instead, “we need to participate, play our parts. For me, participation is soul-nourishing.” [1]

Yes. Time after time, Wilson Schaef documents her travels to various places in and around the 12 Step principles. The first part of these things—or places—is the desire to “help us live and let live,” one after another. God willing, we can practice this principle.

After all, being honest and open is more important than just about anything.

@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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 136.

Masks? Or No Masks?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, January 1, 2014

honesty expensive

Masks? Or No Masks?

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players;” – William Shakespeare.

“Are we being true to who we are? What masks do we wear during one day?” – Rich Lewis

My writing associate Rich wrote these words (above) the other day, referencing the Shakespeare quote. Both statements resonated with me, deeply.

Who are we, anyway? I know I have many roles I play each day. Mom, wife, sister, co-worker, friend, acquaintance. Are they roles? Masks? Do I hide behind these facades?

What mask(s) do I hide behind, in my relationship with God? In my relationship with fellow believers? I know certain people who I usually see only at a worship service. Sometimes I see them with their “church face” firmly in place. I don’t really know them. I may attend worship with them of a Sunday, but that’s about it.

And what about God? How often and how much do people try to hide in their dealings with God? People talk about loving God, praising God. Coming before God. How much is honest and true, and how much is a good fake job?

It won’t work, you know. No matter how hard I try, God ends up knowing everything I attempt to hide, anyhow. I want to be honest and open with God. Come before him with a willing heart and open hands. At least, that’s what I want to try to do. So help me, God.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for this new year. Thank You for the opportunity to come before You with an honest, open countenance. Forgive me for falling short in this endeavor. You know me far better than anyone in the world possibly can. And the miracle is, You still love me! Thank You, God! Help me love, praise and worship You in spirit and in truth. So help me, God! Amen.