Tag Archives: opportunities

Joyce Huggett’s Take on Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 2, 2017


Joyce Huggett’s Take on Meditation

If you ask ten different people what their definition of meditation is, I suspect you will get ten different answers. Joyce Huggett has a definite definition. An awesome answer, that is.

Joyce Huggett certainly is well known for her books and other writings on prayer and meditation. In today’s reading, at first she describes what Christian meditation is not. It does not involve yoga, Eastern meditation or transcendental meditation.

I love yoga. I do it because of the marvelous stretching and strengthening abilities my body has been able to develop. Yes, certain of my yoga teachers do mention things like “the third eye,” and “chakras.” However, they do not insist that anyone in their classes follow the Eastern ways and spiritual practices that some people also insist are part and parcel of yoga.

In fact, my whole body now welcomes yoga. My mind slows when I practice. My body, joints and muscles are improving in their working together, more and more. And, if urged to observe any practice that is foreign to my understanding and belief, I simply, quietly thank God for my God-given powerful body, mind and spirit. All these parts of my Self/self now work together much better than before I started to practice yoga.

But, I digress. I really wanted to talk about what Joyce Huggett says about meditation. After giving several examples from Psalm 119—which has every verse describing an action taken with the Word of God, or Scripture, or God’s Laws, or Statutes, or Precepts, or Commandments—she talks about the verb “meditate,” as used in these verses. The verb can also mean “’to muse,’ ‘to ponder,’ ‘to reflect,’ ‘to consider.’ In other words, Christian meditation involves, not emptiness, but fullness.” [1]

Yes, we consider God’s Word, in all its fullness, and as we “encounter the Living Word, Jesus himself.” [2] Psalm 119 serves as a marvelous example for us to dig deeply into both God’s Word and well as into God’s heart.

Lord, help me to seek after You, Your heart, and Your paths. Please, Lord. In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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.

Joyce Huggett’s Take on Meditation #matterofprayer

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 11.

[2] Ibid.

Preparing for International (Day of) Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Preparing for International (Day of) Peace

Tomorrow is the day designated as the International Day of Peace. Not because I said so, but because the United Nations said so. All over the world.

Peace is fleeting. People hope for peace. Peace is hard to come by. People—sometimes—despair of peace. That was one hope the United Nations had when they first instituted the International Day of Peace in 2001. It has been happening every year since. And, tomorrow is the day.

I am currently involved in peace activities here in the Chicago area. Tomorrow—with it being the International Day of Peace—I will open the doors of my church, St. Luke’s Christian Community Church, from 7 to 8 pm. We are gathering for a time of Interfaith Meditation and Prayer on Peace. Everyone is welcome.

Yes, the Big Day. In fact, this peace activity has enlarged to a Peace Week. Much hoped for, much lauded. I will also be involved in a Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace on Saturday morning, and I will speak on Peace to the Evanston Peace Festival on Sunday afternoon. Wonderful opportunities. Speaking of opportunities, I am going to be interviewed on WGCO radio on Wednesday afternoon, talking about PEACE.

Dear God, help me to pace myself, and get everything needful done in the next few days. And Lord, especially, may we all #PursuePEACE. Live peaceably. Love many.


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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE is Harmony—Pass It On!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April15, 2016


PEACE is Harmony—Pass It On!

Today was Friday, April 15. Today was the day of the Peace Breakfast for the Chicago suburbs of Morton Grove and Niles.

Fifteen people attended this breakfast, which was primarily an opportunity for fellowship and conversation among the diverse religious leaders and local government representatives from both communities. This whole area is so culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse that I initiated a Peace Breakfast to bring people together. And, continue the conversation about peace and harmony.

I consider it so fitting that I highlight another personal definition of PEACE from the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove today. (Thank you, Dilnaz, for your kind invitation to come and talk with people at the MCC!)

Sabah Khan’s personal definition: “PEACE is harmony—which I can pass on to the rest of the humanity. (one at a time, to each individual)”  

Sabah’s definition is so much a part of what I was striving to do today with the Peace Breakfast. As Sabah wrote this down, almost two weeks ago, I had no idea this definition would come up today.

What a wonderful reminder for me—for all of us—that PEACE does start with me. And with you. With each one of us, passing peace, harmony and friendship one at a time, to each individual. When someone trips or falls, offer them a hand up. If some stranger on the street needs a break, why not consider extending your hand?

Gracious, merciful God, open my eyes and let me see opportunities to promote peace and harmony. Help me—help all of us—to pass it on. In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


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

(Thanks to everyone at the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove, for making this week of personal definitions of PEACE possible.)

In Which I Stay Close To God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jesus baby and Virgin Mary

In Which I Stay Close To God

Henri Nouwen’s suggestion for today? Think more about God. Have a prayer at the ready. Pray “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” [1]

It makes so much sense. (As in, “duh!”)

I know that what I allow my mind to dwell upon is important to my spiritual state, as well as to my prayer life. I appreciate the example Fr. Nouwen gives, of waiting in line at the supermarket. Instead of getting upset or angry because I am waiting too long, I can choose to pray, instead. Moreover, despite labors or losses, despite positive or negative happenings in life, I can decide to look at things from a positive angle.

Instead of letting my mind be absorbed by or distracted by all “the garbage of advertisements,” I can choose to think of God. I “can decide what [my] mind will receive.”[2] I can try to look for opportunities to serve God and serve others. Encourage others, too.

God, instead of mean, nasty and thoughtless things, help me to concentrate on positive things, kind things, helpful things. Thanks for the help, God!


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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 10.

[2] Ibid.

Slow Down—Find Our Center

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 3, 2015

prayer - hands

Slow Down—Find Our Center

What does my heart have to say today?[1]

This little daily meditation book hit the nail on the head for me, today! Yes, I need to examine my words. Yes, I need to slow down and take the time necessary to even think about examining my words! And, yes, “we can also hear our spirit in the tone of our words.” [2]

What am I hearing as I examine the words I say to others? How are others receiving my words? Are my words gentle, peaceful, cautious, or hurtful? Do I offer them with love? Or, with anger? Do I say them quietly and slowly, or all-in-a-hurry?

When I intentionally slow down, I find myself listening better. Listening more closely. When I intentionally slow down, I view life with more clarity. And, I view life around me with less in the way. When I intentionally slow down, my breathing becomes deeper, more regular. My breathing helps me to relax and let go of tension within.

And—we arrive at meditation. Isn’t meditation part of Step Eleven? (Yes, I think it is. In fact, I know it is.) Meditation is a fancy word for listening. Not only listening with my body, but listening with my heart, mind, and soul. Listening for what my Higher Power—God as I understand God—has for me, today.

Today’s reading suggests to me that I slow down today. That sounds to me to be excellent advice for any day. Slow down. Then, all of the possibilities I just listed above become opportunities for me and my life. Today.

I can speed up again later. Maybe, tomorrow. Just for today, I’ll slow down. Breathe.

Meditate. Breathe. Listen to God.

Thank You, God.


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 3 reading.

[2] Ibid.

Given, Broken, for Others

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, April 17, 2014

God thanks for everything

Given, Broken, for Others

I read the Lenten meditation for Maundy Thursday this morning with great interest. I had never thought of bread and the Body of Christ in this specific way before!

The meditation booklet I am following is a selected group of snippets from Fr. Henri Nouwen’s books and other works. Today, being Maundy Thursday, Fr. Henri riffed on the bread that was broken. The Bread of Life is equated with the bread that Jesus multiplied by the Sea of Galilee. Further, Fr. Henri compared this bread to the bread used by Jesus on that Maundy Thursday night. The Bread that is the Body of Christ, broken for us.

Finally, Fr. Henri asked the penetrating question: how are we—the Body of Christ—broken today? So that Jesus can distribute us, give us to others—how can we then serve? What kinds of opportunities open up for us?

I know I look for opportunities for service each day. I pray for intentional acts of being kind, each day. But I still am amazed by God sending me such specific answers to prayer! I know I can find ways, sure. However—here was a special answer staring me in the face, in black and white.

Sure, I was kind to a whole bunch of people today, including one very good friend. I used my well-honed skill of listening. I heard my friend tell me about concerns and difficulties. I couldn’t offer any answers, but I feel my friend was relieved to get whatever it was out. Not eating away at the insides, but out in the light of day.

Let’s pray. God, thanks for allowing me to serve You in such a way. Forgive me—forgive us for our selfishness and self-centeredness. It’s so great to know that I am doing things and praying prayers that are pleasing to You. Thanks, God!


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink:

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, February 28, 2014

BK have to show love

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

Did you know that I have another blog? It’s called A Year of Being Kind (also found on wordpress.com). I have been industrious, as far as the other blog is concerned. I’ve been writing posts on it every day since the beginning of January. I mentioned the other blog at the end of December in this space, when I planned to kick off the blog on New Year’s Day 2014. Two months have gone by already. Really, where does the time go?

Does anyone relate to having struggles with prayer? I have been rigorously honest about mine, speaking regularly about struggles in my practice of prayer. Up and down, sometimes more regular, sometimes less. I’ve tried praying with a number of different prayer books, and several different kinds of spiritual discipline practices. But somehow, I just wanted something else, something besides the usual schema of prayer books. To recap what I said at the end of December, I determined to begin a daily practice of acts of intentional service, kindness and love—as in, each and every day. Thus, A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

This is a departure from my usual acts of prayer. Almost like I’m stretching a little-used muscle, repeatedly. It’s not that I don’t do acts of service, because I do! Yes, I have the spiritual gifts of helps, encouragement and mercy, in abundance. But this intentionality is what is new. Different.

I am now two months into this Year of Being Kind. Not surprisingly, I am finding a rhythm in my days. I don’t necessarily go searching for an intentional act of service to do each day. Instead, I find God bringing them to me. Sure, I’ve been open to them, asking, praying for God to show me fresh opportunities to be kind—each and every day. (or night, as the case may be) They have been showing up on my doorstep, by my gym locker, on my phone line, at the grocery store.

Does anyone reading this blog need some spiritual “oomph” in their lives? A helpful boost? Perhaps my Lenten Calendar of Service might help. It’s called 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. You can sign up for it here, at your right. Or, check out Facebook. I have two pages called Matter of Prayer and A Year of Being Kind. You can sign up for the Lenten Calendar of Service there, too. I would love to hear from you!

If you choose to accept this challenge of service, I would like to hear from you! You can expect something blessed and amazing to happen during this Lenten season. As you go through this calendar of service, God can and WILL show up. Bet on it. I’d like to know about it, and I will certainly share those God-incidences on my blog. And if—as I hope—I have too many to write about on my blog, I’ll post them to my Facebook page, too. Remember, God may be calling you to 40 Days & Ways of Service.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for this idea of A Year of Being Kind, for these 365 days of intentional service for You. I pray for all those who are considering 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. I realize You call individuals to separate practices. If they—we choose to celebrate and practice other disciplines, bless us all. Prosper our times of prayer and meditation. Whatever our prayer and spiritual practices, as we prepare for Easter, may Your richest blessings be ours. For us and our loved ones. Amen.


Internal Life? Or External Walk?

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 30, 2013

winter road

For the past few years, I’ve been concerning myself with—myself. I have been striving to maintain some kind of spiritual balance, working on my internal, spiritual component. I pray regularly (or at least, try to). I visit my therapist and spiritual director regularly, work out on a weekly basis at the local YMCA gym, and I even practiced relaxation and meditation in an intensive way for several months. In all of this, I have been working on the inner “me.”

I have also been intentional with my prayer life. Not only have I been praying on an increasingly regular basis, but I’ve also started a prayer chain and prayer blog, so we all can be encouraged in our personal prayer lives. This helps my inner relationship with God prosper, too.

But, what about my relationship with others? How about my family? Friends? What about those at church, or at the gym? What about my co-workers, or strangers I meet on the street? Have I been as studious and diligent at developing my relationship with them?

Yes, I am called by God to be in relationship with God—the vertical relationship.  But I am also called to be in community, as well—the horizontal relationship, one with another. One of my spiritual gifts is helping people. And by nature, I am kind and compassionate in my relations with others. It’s my relationship with others and with my local community (as well as their relationship with me) that I want to work on in 2014.

That’s why 2014 is my year to be kind. To help. To be of service. Intentionally.

(I will explore my thoughts and experiences of my year of service throughout 2014. I’ll do this at a new blog— www.ayearofbeingkind.net, starting on January 1, 2014. I’m excited! Visit me there, too.)

Let’s pray. Dear God, as the old year ends and the new year begins, I see new hopes ahead. New opportunities. New experiences. God, be with me as I begin a year of intentional service. I pray that this service be God-honoring. I ask You to lead me into places and experiences that You intend. Even challenging and difficult things. Protect me, guard me, guide me. I know You will be there, holding my hand. Thank You for my friends and prayer partners, who will be right by my side (in prayer!). God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.