Tag Archives: positive

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 11, 2016

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Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

I have been following some sort of spiritual discipline during each Lenten season for the past number of years. As Lent got nearer and nearer, I had not been particularly moved by any special Scripture reading series or prayer discipline, as in years past. However—I have been intrigued by the idea of PEACE for several weeks.

Peace got lodged in my brain, and would not go away. I thought about it more and more, and finally came up with this idea of the Pursuing PEACE Project.

My name is Elizabeth, and my personal definition of peace is harmony, wholeness and hope.

Harmony – I have a bachelor’s degree in music. I have sung in a number of choirs and singing groups, over the years. Music is important to me! Harmony is something I look for, yearn for. Harmony between people, between groups, among families—something I wish to encourage and promote, as much as I can. Doing my little bit.

Wholeness – comes from the concept of the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace. Yet, it means much more than peace! Shalom can also mean whole or wholeness, completeness or safety. A whole basket of meanings! That is what I want from my definition.

Finally, Hope – expectation, trust or desire. (At least, that’s what Merriam Webster says, in part.) I am a glass-half-full kind of person. I have that expectation. I trust that peace is a possibility. I don’t think this idea is pie in the sky, but a realistic desire.

Even if my part is small, I will be doing something positive, encouraging, and loving in making PEACE a reality. God willing, I am doing what I can to pursue PEACE.

@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

Guard My Tongue, I Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 27, 2016

silence is a good answer

Guard My Tongue, I Pray

I can’t always guard my tongue. I mean, I have put my foot into my mouth a goodly amount of times. Perhaps it comes from growing up as a chubby, socially-awkward kid, and turning into a chunky, gauche adolescent. I suspect that has something to do with it.

Regardless, I know I can do better. God would be pleased if I tried to do better. Our words and our speech can be so powerful. I have choices. I can use positive, encouraging words with others, or I can speak hateful, negative words, which would cause lots of people to dislike me and avoid me when I am around. It’s my choice.

I know my words, thoughts and actions all display what is in my mind and heart. If I think respectful thoughts and feel encouraging feelings in my heart, I will be that much more likely to be positive in my interactions. That means my interactions with acquaintances and friends will be affected, as well as my relationships with family and close friends.

What a way to please God. And, it’s a way to be kind, thoughtful, and open to others. On top of that, I think God will be more than happy to help, in this instance. A lifelong pursuit of positive, encouraging words, that build up and don’t knock down.

Dear Lord, gracious God, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

@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

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 25, 2016

 

suffering word cloud

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

I get sad sometimes. Anxious. Depending on what has happened in my life, and how my emotional barometer is reading, I can get depressed. On occasion, to the point of despair. What am I to do? How on earth can I get out of this?

Psalm 40 gives me some positive steps, and words to match. Not only am I advised to wait for the Lord, but I know God will hear me. God will come to my aid. (Sooner or later. And, I know. Sometimes it really seems like “later!”)

Negative emotions can be the pits. (And, sometimes I can feel like I am in the depths of a horrible pit, too.) If I am not careful, negative and depressing feelings can run away with me, just like wild horses can gallop away, too. Horrible. I don’t even want to think about such things. Good thing I know where I can turn—I know God can help.

Let’s turn to God, now. Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for me, and for my loved ones. Dear God, I pray against anxiety, anger, despair, depression, and hopelessness, in any of our lives. In all of our lives. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Restore to my loved ones the ideas and thoughts of positivity. Give us the ability to take the sad or angry or fearful situations we are—sadly—so familiar with, and turn to You. Trust in You. Please, dear Lord, hear our prayers.

@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

Pray for a Positive Attitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, January 23, 2016

glass half full, half empty

Pray for a Positive Attitude

Is the glass half full? Or, half empty? Some people might even complain that their glass is cracked and that the water keeps leaking out. Having such a poisonous attitude has such a negative effect. I know.

Being around chronically negative people had a damaging effect on my formerly-positive attitude. Thank God, I am no longer in regular contact with someone like that, but I remember what kind of down-in-the-mouth effect that attitude had on me!

I can pray for God’s light to shine inside and out. Of me, that is. I can ask God to help me with relationships, and give me a glass-half-full kind of point of view. I’ve had enough with negativity in my life, relationships, and my work.

But, what if I have nasty things happen in my life? Things that cause anxiety, or frustration, or anger, or despair? What if I get a blasted sinus headache, or a dear loved one gets in a car accident, or if someone in my family gets terminal cancer or a massive stroke? What happens then?

I am feeling particularly involved, right now. So much to pray about. So much to be concerned about. Gracious God, dear Lord. Protect my loved ones. Guard all those I hold in my heart. Help all those who feel anxiety, fear, unquiet, rage, despair. Lord, let the peace that passes all understanding guard the hearts and minds of all those in need of a touch from You, right now. In Jesus’s precious, healing name we all 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

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!

@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

(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.

In Which I Take Advice. Or Not.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 13, 2015

sunset footprints

In Which I Take Advice. Or Not.

This daily meditation and prayer book, Keep It Simple, really hits me between the eyes, sometimes. Like today, for example.

This book is written to help alcoholics and addicts in recovery. Each of the twelve months of the year has a different focus. Since November is the eleventh month, we reflect and meditate on Step Eleven from the Twelve Steps of recovery. (Step Eleven is: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”)

Back to today’s reading. It is all about learning things the hard way.

I come from a family of extremely stubborn people. I am stubborn. I am married to a stubborn person, and his family is extremely stubborn. I have stubbornness all around me. Yet—this reading lets me know that taking advice is a good thing. Beneficial, positive.

I am also reminded of the recovery definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Sure, I can be extremely stubborn. I can go my own way, not listening to anyone. Not following anyone’s advice. And, I can lose opportunities. I can lose friends. I can lose work. I can lose all kinds of things and relationships.

But the other side of advice is this: “We don’t have to use [the advice we get.] But if it comes from people who love and understand us, we can try to listen.” [1]

Dear Lord, gracious God, I am trying to listen to You, each and every day. Help me listen. Help me hear clearly. And, help me help others to listen, too.

In Jesus’s name we 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

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 13 reading.

Be the Best Me I Can Be

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 6, 2015

be who you are, not who the world wants you to be

Be the Best Me I Can Be

Oh, I can relate to the topic of today’s reading. Dear God, how incredibly strong is the temptation to “fit in!”

Different people crave different things. Some want to “fit in” by wearing the “right clothes” thinking the “right ideas” or driving the “right car.” As our meditation book Keep It Simple says, “Many of us used to care so much what other people thought about us.” [1] (Some still do care.)

But, how shallow is that? How important is it for me to want to “fit in” with my shallow, self-centered peer group? Or, do I have the firm foundation and self-confidence to march to the beat of a different drummer? My Higher Power’s drummer?

Instead, I am encouraged to stay in touch with my Higher Power (vertically) as well as my fellows (horizontally). Yes, I can be easily influenced by a group of peers. Not always the most positive thing. And yes, I need to be following my Higher Power (God as I understand God).

Can I follow God in my own way, today? And, every day? Can I be okay with being different, with being “me?”

The prayer at the end of the reading today is short, moving, and humbling: “Higher Power, help me be the best me I can be today.” [2]

@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 6 reading.

[2] Ibid.

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 19, 2015

autumn leaves on a bridge

Forgive Me—I Did Not Introduce You

Many of the prayers in this section are prayers of people from traditionally English-speaking countries. Or, prayers of Church Fathers and Mothers, prayers of Saints, translated into English. However, I am intrigued by those prayers that come from vastly different cultures, distant places, far removed from the sociological and cultural place I call “home.”

The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” (Prayer 355, page 109) [1] The prayer is in a section entitled Penitence. It is titled “Prayer from Polynesia.”

“Lord, today You made us known to friends we did not know,/And You have given us seats in homes which are not our own./You have brought the distant near,/And made a brother of a stranger,/Forgive us, Lord … /We did not introduce You.”

O, how poignant and tear-filled! How deep the pain that is felt; it spills over into the endless emotional pit. Powerful emotions and feelings churn within me. Yet—and yet—positive feelings flow over some of these words like a waterfall.

Dear God, these words from half a world away wash against me. Sometimes quiet and affirming, but other times knowing, nudging, concerned as a dear grandparent. And, the last two lines of this prayer? Not shaming, not demeaning, no! But at the same time, instructive. Giving gentle counsel. Almost, entreating.

And, I received admonishment. Gentle, to be sure. But, sure and certain. I do not introduce You to others as much as I have the opportunity. I see that. This prayer holds up a clear mirror to me.

Forgive me, Lord. Please, gracious God. Look with both forgiveness and favor on this poor sinner. Thank You for Your help and patience. Help me to look with love on all others, to those who do not yet know You, and an extra portion of thankfulness on those who do.

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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 109.

Encourage the Heart—in Word and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 7, 2015

encourage each other water

Encourage the Heart—in Word and Prayer

Who doesn’t get discouraged from time to time? And sometimes, more discouraged than others. I very much needed today’s New Testament psalm on Encouragement from the book Praying the New Testament as Psalms.

I suspect this is why God chose some to be positive, encouraging bright spots in God’s congregations. Yes, God has given me insight and some facility with words. I often try my best to put down words that are true, honest, loving, and—of course—encouraging.

I was particularly touched by this verse from the psalm on Encouragement: “Much joy and encouragement stem from love,/setting at rest the hearts of God’s holy people.” [1] Wow. A great deal to unpack from just these two verses.

This book’s authors (Fr. Desmond O’Donnell and Sr. Maureen Mohen) went to the little book of Philemon for this verse. I had almost forgotten about Philemon—such a little letter, tucked away after 1 and 2 Thessalonians. A letter of admonishment and concern as well as love and encouragement, written by the Apostle Paul to his friend and co-worker Philemon.

Ain’t it the truth? (In most cases, that is.) Joy and encouragement do flow out of love, and are the natural next step. And, don’t joy and encouragement calm people down? Yes, these feelings can get people excited, too, but the excitement is more happy-excited, rather than upset or even riled.

When I think of the term “setting hearts at rest,” serenity comes to mind. And that can only be a good thing. Thanks for such wonderful thoughts and images, 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 .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 64.

Touch Earth, Body and Spirit—in Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 15, 2015

reflected tree and mountains - Photo credit David Beatson

Touch Earth, Body and Spirit—in Soul

Keeping the inner fire alive? That’s touching soul. Nourishing soul. Looking at soul with positive eyes and ideas.

Linda Andrews in the book Handbook for the Soul talks of several excellent places where each individual is encouraged to use these several concepts to nourish areas of their soul. And, these activities really ought to be activities they would definitely wish to become involved in.

I was thinking as I read: Andrews recommends that these activities help the person doing the thing feel alive. Assistance or help by anyone else? Appreciated, as long as we try to pull it off in a positive, nourishing manner.

Andrews focuses on several activities, particularly meditation. Yes, it’s true I can learn a great deal about meditation, mantras, and other tools for understanding and nurturing the soul However—book learning only goes so far. (At least it only goes so far for someone of my personality preferences.)

I can learn from a lecturer, or from books, but it also is helpful for me to learn by example. Learn by “color by number” or from being mentored. This is more than appropriate for this excellent learning. As with meditation, it needs to be done on a regular basis.

As Andrews says, “if you have the tenacity to get to that quiet place and embrace the stillness, you will be meeting with your soul.” [1] Figuring out how to use the keys to wholeness. Health. And positive things. Activities.

God, I’m going to be perfectly serious. I would like to meditate every day! I know it’s not the highest priority on my to-do list, but I wish to take the advantages of these marvelous opportunities. Let’s hope that I may be able to. God, I surely wish You could be with me, walk by my side. Oh, and provide nourishment for my soul, too!

@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. 97.