Tag Archives: prayer practice

Practice Prayer, Despite Strong Emotions

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 23, 2017


Practice Prayer, Despite Strong Emotions

As I read this short excerpt from How to Sit tonight,[1] I couldn’t help but be reminded of my chaplain internships. The teacher Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of strong emotions, and how the regular practice of prayer and meditation helps many people manage their emotional state. In all of my chaplain internships, we were shown several helpful ways of dealing with strong emotions (which included prayer and meditation).

Sometimes, strong emotions can carry a person away, devastate them, send them to the heights of ecstasy, or infuriate them beyond all measure. Problem: how to manage yourself and your emotions if you have a really, really strong emotion going in with you? (Believe me, at times in my chaplain internships, as well as my work as a chaplain, I faced some wild, intense emotional situations.)

Thich Nhat Hanh highlights the regular practice of prayer and meditation as a great help to remaining on an even keel, in situations with strong emotion. (I suspect this practice would be a bit easier for someone who had an affinity for quiet, contemplative, meditative prayer and meditation.) I have experienced this firsthand. I know how valuable deep breathing can be, as well as the use of meditation and mindfulness. I can attest to the helpful nature of regular, concerted prayer, for myself, my family or friends, or in intercession for the loved one of someone who asks me for prayer.

My chaplain internships were so worthwhile. (As is my practice of prayer and meditation.) God, thank You for providing such opportunities for me to learn about these wonderful practices. Each and every one. Lord, in Your mercies, hear our prayers.


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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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 72-73.

Guard Us with Holy Angels

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 2, 2015

Abraham and the Three Angels - Marc Chagall

Abraham and the Three Angels – Marc Chagall

Guard Us with Holy Angels

Sunday night. Evening Prayer. God, I find myself settling down, just opening this website. The dailyoffice.org has become something I count on. Rely on. I have not made use of it every day. True. I have difficulty staying consistent with any one particular prayer book or prayer practice, for an extended period of time. However, I find I can stay focused on one book or one prayer practice when it just lasts one month. That I can do. And, I have. Since the beginning of 2015.

As I read and prayed through the Evening Prayer for Sunday, I felt especially moved by “drive far from [us] all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace;” I teach a midweek bible study each Wednesday morning. Not only were these prayers moving and helpful to me, personally, but they featured angels. And, snares of the enemies.”

Some background: several of these church members had been curious about the whole topic of angels, for years. They told me about a former pastor at our church, and about several instances where he might have taught further about it. But did he? No.

I have several books on my shelves that go into the topic of angels in depth. Accordingly, I took one that has been quite helpful to me, in the past number of years. And, I spent the month of July teaching on what the Bible had to say about angels. Good angels, evil angels. And Satan. An instructive bible study, to be sure! The Bible assumes the existence of angels. Jesus in the Gospels speaks in a matter of fact manner about their reality—both good as well as evil angels.

So, yeah. I do have a healthy respect for both good and evil angels. As I read the Evening Prayer tonight, I was vividly struck by the reference to both good angels and “snares of the enemy,” which can include evil angels. I praise God that God has triumphed over sin and the enemy in the Cross. Amen!

Dear Lord, gracious God, I come before You in gratitude and prayer. I thank You for the Book of Common Prayer. I thank You for the free use of Bible passages that may be questioned or interpreted differently, today. Lord, help me to pray the daily prayers in spirit and in truth. Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for Your clear witness to the reality of evil angels. And especially, thank You for Your powerful resurrection from the dead, allowing us to stand firm against all powers of darkness. Protect me and my husband, my family, and all those associated with dailyoffice.org, especially Vicar Josh. In Jesus’ blessed, powerful Name we pray, amen.


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 .

Distracted in Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 24, 2015

praise the Lord Psa 148

Distracted in Prayer?

How to be distracted in prayer. That’s easy. That is frequently my state of mind when praying. How not to be distracted? Ah. That’s much more to the point. And, much more what I need, most times when I pray.

It doesn’t matter what sort of prayer I am praying. I almost always have some kind of distraction going on. I’ll admit it. Doesn’t matter whether I am using Ignatian prayer, lectio divina, centering prayer, or saying the Lord’s Prayer. I still have difficulty focusing my whole heart and mind on God.

That’s what I’m supposed to be doing. Isn’t it?

Yes. And, no. Yes—because communication with God/Higher Power/Source is what I am striving for, hoping for, longing for. And, no—because sometimes God is trying to get my attention, and by having persistent thoughts come into my mind, God can certainly get me thinking about a specific thing, or person, or situation. I’ll usually pray about it then, too.

I know this month we are examining Ignatian prayer practice. However, I wanted to stress the part about distraction in prayer. I ought to be as persistent as the widow before the dishonest judge, and how she continued to pray, persisted in prayer.

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to focus on You when I pray, and not get distracted. (I know very well this is a tall order!) Except—when You are trying to communicate with me. Thank You for the intimate means of communication with You through the means of prayer. You’re the best. Truly.


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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net