Tag Archives: prayers

Seek After God with Psalm 119

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Psa 27-4 seek the Lord, sky

Seek After God with Psalm 119

Over the years, I have loved reading Psalm 119. Sometimes more than others. I was moved especially with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s commentary on Psalm 119:2, when he went further in depth to discuss seeking God with all one’s heart.  Here’s the translation of Psalm 119:2.

Happy are they who observe his decrees

and seek him with all their hearts!

A number of references in the Hebrew Scriptures (in Exodus and Nehemiah) concerning decrees, or testimonies, of God are coupled with the “tent” or the “tables” of the testimonies. The tablets speak of the Lord. Yet, the tent and the tablets are not to be worshiped. It is God alone who deserves worship, and we must seek after God. Bonhoeffer suggests that the whole, undivided heart needs to be involved in the seeking of God.

“In the commandments, in acts of worship and prayers, the heart seeks after the One who has given them all….Blessed is the person who keeps the testimonies of God…who seeks God from her whole heart.” [1]

I don’t know who wrote Psalm 119, but the author expressed a wish several times to seek after God (and God’s decrees, statutes and testimonies). I realize that King David was also striving to seek after God. Here’s a verse of his, from Psalm 27:4. “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.”

Regardless of who wrote it, or who suggested it, or in what century the advice was given, it’s still a good idea. Dear Lord, help me—help us—in the seeking of You, beholding Your beauty, and meditating in Your temple. Thank You for Your caring and encouragement.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 103-04.

More Devastation. More Prayers.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, September 8, 2017

Psalm 23-4 though I walk through valley shadow death

More Devastation. More Prayers.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer certainly faced a great deal of devastation in his life, as well as the lives of those he was close to, and the lives of those in the congregations he served.

I suspect he knew well the words of Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” Although that verse was written so long ago by King David, remembering the times when he was so very afraid (yes—afraid for his very life), that verse echoes and re-echoes down the crooked pathways of time. Sometimes through dark and fearsome valleys, sometimes through pelting storms and fiery trials. Yet, King David’s words ring true, for many, many people throughout the ages.

I know those words from Psalm 23, personally as well as professionally. I have pulled them out of my Bible in emergency rooms, in the intensive care unit, in living rooms, even sitting on street corners or in waiting rooms. People have spoken these precious words from Psalm 23 along with me. Other times, people have been too choked up to even utter a word, and silently allowed these words of comfort to wash over them.

Dear Lord, whether in grief, or pain, or anger, or trauma, we hurt. We cry out. We question. We wonder, “WHY?” (And, there is rarely an answer. An answer that satisfies, that is … )

Gracious God, You have said You would be right by our sides, even though we go through those extremely difficult experiences. Even though our parents—or siblings—or spouses—or children die. Even though we lose our homes, or limbs, or jobs, or even countries. Even though we may become refugees or homeless or incarcerated or even suicidal. Dear Lord, You have promised to remain with us. Right by our sides. Perhaps even holding our hands, through the trial or torment.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “the answer of God to the world that nailed Christ to the cross [was] blessing…. The world would have no hope if this were not so.” [1]

Only a love that extraordinary could possibly encompass my fear and suffering and hopelessness. And, encompass the griefs, pains, angers, traumas, and all of the countless sufferings of all of the rest of the world. God provides hope where there is no hope. God comes alongside when it seems as if there is nothing left. Thank God. Thank God for being there through Hurricane Harvey, and with Hurricanes Irma, José and Katia coming quickly. Dear God, help us. Please.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 89.

Karl Rahner, and the Daily Routine

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Karl Rahner

Karl Rahner, and the Daily Routine

Karl Rahner—a major Christian theologian of the 20th century, professor of Dogmatics and Theology at several prestigious universities, and one of the men who had a part in crafting the language of Vatican II. He was also a man of intense spirituality and service to his fellows.

“Look at this routine, O God of Mildness….Isn’t [my soul] just like a noisy bazaar, where I and the rest of mankind display our cheap trinkets to the restless, milling crowds?” [1] This is what Fr. Rahner wrote in Encounters with Silence. This is what he considered his life to be: a life of diligent service to God.

Rahner wished that he might experience God’s mercy. This was one of his most fervent wishes—between the times that the daily, everyday routine cluttered up his life, that is.

“How can I redeem this wretched humdrum? How can I turn myself toward the one thing necessary, toward You? How can I escape from the prison of this routine?” [2] And then, Fr. Rahner answers this very question: “Aren’t You my Creator? Haven’t You made me a human being? And what is man but a being that is not sufficient to itself, a being who sees his own insufficiency, so that he longs naturally and necessarily for Your Infinity?” [3]

Oh, how perceptive is Karl Rahner. How petty is humanity in its unrepentant, even unwashed state! Fr. Rahner echoes Psalm 8 in his musings, finally announcing that the long-lasting stars will remain, long after you and I and our friends are all gone. (For that matter, after our enemies are gone, too.)  Yes, even the disillusioned heart/person can take heart in God, for God is truly all that we really need.

Dear Lord, thank You for being with us, day or night. Thank You for coming to us unexpectedly, visiting us with your care, concern, and encouragement. For, it is as Fr. Rahner said: “only through You can I continue to be myself with You, when I go out of myself to be with the things of the world.” [4] Lord, in Your mercy, hear all our prayers.

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 217.

[2] Ibid, 219.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 221.

Practical Prayers of Agnes Sanford

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 6, 2017

healing prayer for you

Practical Prayers of Agnes Sanford

When I hear about (or, read about) someone who prays like Agnes Sanford, I tend to be skeptical—a bit. I also hope against hope that her example in healing prayer could be true. I must admit that I do not have lots of faith. A bit of faith, yes. Sometimes, even more than a bit. But, there are times when I say with the man who came to Jesus, “Help my unbelief!”

In the case of Agnes Sanford, I have to take the word of Richard Foster. He gave witness to the fact that he sat and learned how to pray from Agnes, many times. (And, I respect Richard Foster more than I can say.)

How scary to pray, and have God’s power in our words—that’s the Almighty God, who made heaven and earth, who created life and love on a cosmic scale. Yet, that is exactly what we do and say when we pray.

At first, we have the suggestion of praying for a simple, tangible thing first, such as relief from worry, or finding something lost, or the return to health of someone who is sick. As Ms. Sanford said, “How strange it is that people who fear to do this do not hesitate to pray for the most difficult objectives of all, such as the peace of the world or the salvation of their souls!” [1]

So right. Such an odd thing, to have little confidence in God in prayer: “if they have such confidence…that they do not dare to test their powers of contacting God by praying for an easy thing, it is probable that their cosmic intercessions are of little force.” [2]

Ooo. That hits home. That hurts, Ms. Sanford.

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to have faith like Agnes Sanford. (Or, at least more faith than I do currently.) Thank You for Ms. Sanford’s excellent example, and grant that many may learn from her books and writings. 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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 39.

[2] Ibid.

Week-After-Christmas Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 28, 2016

christmas-holly

Week-After-Christmas Prayers

The week after Christmas does tend to be a bit of a downer. Anti-climactic, as it were.

This year? Especially so, with an elderly loved one dying two weeks ago, then going to the funeral in another state, last week. And, on top of that, all of the December and Advent and Christmas activities and festivities going on.

Apparently, it wasn’t only my extended family that had it rough. A lot of people had it rough. Some are even calling 2016 another annus horribilis.

Just this evening, I came to the realization that I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. I know I try to be strong, and caring, and honest, and willing to serve—all the time. However, sometimes things pile up so high, and get so heavy. I need to say “Enough is enough.”

I need some rest and relaxation time. Just what I had planned for tomorrow, Friday and Saturday. (Sunday, I need to be back in the pulpit.) My dear husband and I will travel to see my sister for the next few days, and I will even leave my laptop at home. (Gasp!)

If anyone would like to pray for me, I will gratefully accept prayers! Believe me, I have a full slate of things on my To-Do List waiting for me, when I come back.

However, I am still going to pray while traveling. I will take my prayer book with me while I am gone. Perhaps, I will have a fresh perspective on both prayer and life-in-general when I get back. Perhaps, in 2017, we can all make a fresh start.

Dear God, thank You for Your many blessings. Thank You for the opportunity and possibility to get away, to see family, and to rest and relax. And, thank You for dear friends, who uphold me in prayer. Help me to remember my friends and loved ones, too. Amen, and 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

Hopes and Prayers at a Baptism

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 10, 2016

baptism_collage

Hopes and Prayers at a Baptism

Tomorrow, my church is hosting a baptism. It is always so wonderful to celebrate a baptism! Seeing the new life, the hopeful, eager attitude of the family, the godparents, the others who have joined to celebrate with the family. An exciting time, to be sure. It is a time of expectation and hope, too.

Since I am a pastor at a Congregational church, I do have several personal, theological views on baptism. I am glad my viewpoints rub along well with the baptismal views of the official group with whom we are recognized.

Pastor Gordon is bringing this couple and their child to St. Luke’s Church to be baptized, and I am so pleased to be able to host the family of the child, as well.

I wonder—how often should I encourage others to celebrate the sacraments? As often as I get the opportunity, that’s what I think. Such a chance to welcome these new people, these new members in God’s forever family.

Gracious God, thank You for the gift of baptism. Thank You for the mark we impress upon the forehead of those who are baptized in love and obedience to You. We pray that this family will raise their child in the knowledge and understanding of You, Your will and Your ways. We ask Your blessing to rest on not only this child and the family, but also on all those who will celebrate with Pastor Gordon and me, tomorrow. Dear God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@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

Busy Day Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 12, 2016

autumn-harvest-basket

Busy Day Prayers

Ever have a busy day that just flowed by? Not crazy-busy, not frantic and frazzled, but a day when everything was moving by at a good speed? An enjoyable speed?

That was my day today. And, into tonight.

Looking back on the 24-hour period, I got a lot done. True, I do have a couple of mild regrets. I wish I had paid attention to two more things, and accomplished something there, too. But, overall, I had a satisfying day.

Yoga. If I had done nothing else all day, I would have considered this a good day with just the yoga. (Of course, my marvelous yoga teacher made it an exceptional yoga class. But, still. Yoga is wonderful, generally speaking.)

On top of that, I enjoyed everything I did today. Stopped at a garden store and bought a few supplies—and some Christmas tree ornaments. Visited someone sweet at a health care center. On the way home, ran in a store. Stopped off at church, dropped off some supplies, and made a pretty seasonal display.

I particularly enjoyed being artistic. It nurtured something deep within that does not often get fed. I suspect I found such pleasure in today because it utilized varied and different parts of me, So fulfilling. It stretched me in ways I haven’t been challenged in some time. But, not too much—a comfortable challenge.

Then, of course, writing. Several different things, including this post.

What a varied, busy time, sprinkled with prayer. With a backdrop of a gorgeous fall day, I’d very much like another day like today. Dear God, thank You. Thank You so much.

@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