Tag Archives: preparation

Pray on a Gray Day

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 28, 2016


Pray on a Gray Day

Today was a wet, dreary, gray day. Chilly and cold. Damp, too. Altogether unpleasant.

I know it is not a huge thing, but I have a confession to make: I did not pray, much. In retrospect, the day probably would have been a bit more positive if I had. However, I did not pray. Much.

I did do a whole lot of computer work today, though. I suppose I could say that the computer work was urgent. Wasn’t prayer urgent, too?

God, You must be really tired of me by this time. The way I cycle through faithful and faithless, I mean. Yes, I stick to my plans for a good, steady prayer time, for a while. (It depends, on the whether. Whether I can or not.) But sooner or later, I fall off. Fall back into my old, prayer-less ways.

For the past few years at Advent, I try my darnedest to be faithful to my devotional readings. Each year, I do follow them to a fair extent. So, yay! At least I’ve had a fair track record, for several years running.

Speaking of prayer, let’s pray.

Dear God, thank You for this period of waiting and preparation. Help me to be more faithful to You, even though times in my life are not as rosy as they could be. Gracious God, thank You for loving me with Your everlasting love. Lord, help me to be an example of watchful, hopeful waiting these next few weeks.



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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

In Which We Pray for School Children

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 22, 2016

schoolgirl drawing

In Which We Pray for School Children

Labor Day is almost here. Autumn quickly approaches. Children and young people are returning to school, including my child. (Returning to college, that is. Tomorrow.)

The return to school can have great emotional impact on parents or children. (Although sometimes, not so much.)

At my church last week, we prayed for the children and grandchildren of the congregation as they started school. So much preparation goes into that process. The purchase of school supplies, school clothes and shoes, calculators, sports equipment, books. All kinds of preparation.

Parents, grandparents, congregation members, other caring and concerned adults—all of us can help children and young people as they return to school, too. We can pray for them.

Pray for these students to have excitement and encouragement. Pray for focus and discipline. Pray for learning and fun, for yearning and discovery. Pray that all students may continue to strive, to play, to enjoy, and to learn.

Pray for the families the students come from. (Both for the wonderful families as well as the difficult places and hurtful experiences the students may deal with.) Pray for teachers, coaches, tutors, aides, and all those who nurture and care for the students each and every day. Pray for them to have patience and persistence, caring and compassion. Pray for all who work with these children and young people, so that all may be safe and secure.

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

Mary and a “Yes” to God’s Request

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 7, 2015

The Annunciation -  Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, a vintage Christmas greeting illustration (circa 1910)

The Annunciation –
Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, a vintage Christmas greeting illustration (circa 1910)

Mary and a “Yes” to God’s Request

From time to time, I hear about people wondering how Mary could have said “yes” to God. Some people truly think about this, and think deeply. Sorry. I don’t think I ever did.

Similarly, from time to time, I understand people also wonder how Mary and Joseph interacted with each other, as well as the people along the way. When these curious people bring such a thought to my attention.

I wonder more about logistics. And about having a child too far ahead of time. How were the other townspeople affected? Was Mary ostracized? Shunned? Or, were there a few good friends who staying true to Mary, even though she was pregnant out of wedlock?

Even though I have never wondered about that particular wrinkle of the Advent narrative, I can still appreciate the “yes!” that Mary communicated to God. “Yes” to pregnancy. And as Henry Nouwen says, “yes” to the idea of me—of us—claiming that space of childhood. Becoming as children before God. Accepting God’s invitation into relationship as God’s beloved child.

I have no problem with that. I know I am like a toddler to God. God is my loving, caring Heavenly Parent. I guess that is a big enough wonderment for me.

Dear Lord, gracious Heavenly Parent, prepare my heart to receive the Lord Jesus once more as we remember His birth in Bethlehem, in this Advent time of preparation and waiting.


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

Christmas Music for Everyone

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 14, 2013

I hear Christmas music on the cd player as I write this. Choral, a capella. Complex chords and harmonies. These aspects of the music make my heart sing. The winning combination of beautiful music and meaningful words helps my heart to worship, too.

Since I am a classically trained musician and have a bachelor’s degree in church music, music has been and still is an important feature of my life. My avocation and my deep joy, as well as an aid to worship. Sometimes music can bring me to tears, and the next minute can lead me to worship and praise. Especially at this time of year.

A great deal of Christmas music was written with the church in mind, or at least, based on the Gospel accounts in Luke and Matthew. (I know there are some fun songs, secular songs, but I’d like to focus instead on the sacred music.) Composers and songwriters in many diverse cultures have tried their hands at writing Christmas music—and Advent music, too. Diverse songs like “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming” (German, Michael Praetorius, 1609) to “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” (Traditional West Indian Carol, popularized by Harry Belafonte in 1958).

Different cultures portray the Holy Family in contexts that are familiar to them, too. Many people are familiar with the olive wood nativity scenes, carved by Palestinian Christians and imported all over the world today. But I’ve also seen a Kenyan nativity set with animals native to the Kenya bush. And a Peruvian nativity with everyone dressed in traditional Peruvian garb. And—to me—the familiar Advent calendars with the northern European features.

One more recent Christmas carol comes from the mid 20th century. The words by Wihla Hutson evoke the differences in how children all over the world see the baby Jesus. “Lily white,” “bronzed and brown,” “almond-eyed,” “dark as they.” The Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. He was born into this world to identify with us. And we can identify with Him, just as much.

This Advent period is a period of waiting for the coming of the Baby in Bethlehem. However we may see Him, however the Holy Family is presented in our culture or setting or church tradition, we are to wait with eagerness. With quiet and prayer. With expectation in our hearts. And in one of my favorite ways, with music to assist us in this waiting time.

Let’s pray. Dear God, Gracious Lord, this Advent waiting time is a time of expectation, but it’s also a time of preparation. Help me to prepare my heart to receive You. Forgive me for closing the door on others who don’t see You in the same way as I see You. Forgive me for being so narrow-minded and thoughtless. Thank You that You came into this world for everyone. For each child, for each adult, for each senior. Help me to look on those who are different from me with Your eyes. Emmanuel, God with us, all of us. Thank You, Jesus. 

We wait.

matterofprayer blog post for Sunday, December 1, 2013

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. At my church, that means lighting the Advent wreath in a decorated sanctuary, with everything in the service oriented toward the coming One. We celebrate the four-week period that comes before Christmas. In other words, we wait.

I can relate. In terms of prayer, I wait a lot. I wait for God to answer prayer. I wait for God to reveal things to me. I wait for news, for healing, employment. I wait for people. I wait for a lot of things. I am more patient than I used to be, but I still wish God would hurry up!

God, I know I’m griping. But I wish I knew better what God had for me, in this world. In this life. Sure, I know some good ways to approach God in prayer, in meditation, in service. One great way is one my church just used yesterday. They helped provide and serve sloppy joes at a local food kitchen, one that serves homeless people on Saturday afternoons. What a needed way to be the hands and feet of Christ to others.

But, I am coming back to the concept of waiting. God, I almost don’t want to pray for patience, because I know what that will mean—You’ll make me wait even more. But Advent is not only a time of waiting, it’s a time of preparation, too. At least I can prepare my heart to welcome the Christ-child once again. And, I know I can claim the wonderful promises You made.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for this time of preparation and waiting. Help me to get ready. Not in terms of a material way, but internally. It is an inside job. I know I do not reflect on the Christ-child’s birth enough. Forgive me. Help me do better. Help me prepare for the coming of Christmas in real, tangible ways, like serving the homeless. Most importantly, help me prepare my heart for You. Amen.