Tag Archives: presence of God

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 22, 2017

water-lilies-mindful

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

I still have difficulty praying and meditating on a regular basis. Yes, I have had this blog for many months. I strove to be faithful in prayer and meditation for many years before. (Lord, You know I have.) And still, I struggle.

Yet, when I do pray and meditate—on occasion—I can feel the peace and serenity of God come into my heart and mind. Marvelous feeling! (Even when I do not feel the sense of the presence of God surrounding me, much.)

Plus, every now and then, I gain insight, or wisdom, from the prayer and meditation. Every now and then, I find I have discernment that I did not previously realize was there.

See, when we pray and meditate, sometimes long-held internal ideas of resentment, fear, anger, despair and hatred are quietly transformed. In some cases, relationships with other people and with nature can be transformed, too.

When I become aware of this—this discernment, this wisdom beyond myself, I am filled with wonder. How amazing that negative ideas and qualities can quietly transform. As I continue with the prayer and meditation on a regular basis, positive things begin happening on the inside. As teacher Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us, “As we become freer and happier, we cease to act in ways that make others suffer, and we are able to bring about change in ourselves and help others around us.” [1]

God willing, may I become more and more positive. May my mind become more in line with the way Jesus would view my thinking. Dear 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 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), 34.

 

PEACE: God’s Love Within

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 16, 2016

God brings peace

PEACE: God’s Love Within

This post includes a second definition of PEACE from Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church. But, before we get to that, I need to tell a bit about the Englewood neighborhood, and Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK). This excellent group has a dinner outreach called Take Them a Meal. Several people from Morton Grove traveled to the south side of Chicago to provide for the dinner, two weeks ago.

The weather was quite warm—and so was the fellowship and community! Heartwarming, too.

As the dinner outreach packed up, Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church started to set up on the same street corner. They have an outdoor worship service every Wednesday night during the summer. That church has a regular outreach to the Englewood community.

I greeted several of the church members, including the associate pastor, Frederick Schells. A kindly man, he gave me his view of peace right away. Pastor Frederick’s personal definition: “PEACE is the love of God within you.”

As I asked for him to elaborate, he said, “Peace has to be recognized from within.” He talked about the importance of God in each individual’s life, and how the presence of God is a foundation for peace.

The presence of God can be a comfort and encouragement for many, especially when going through difficult or challenging times. The Gospel of John lets us know that Jesus promised peace—His peace. Not as the world gives. Not fleeting or temporary, but permanent. Everlasting peace.

Praise God. Thank You for Your peace.

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

PEACE: Presence in Heart and Mind

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April16, 2016

peace, swirls

PEACE: Presence in Heart and Mind

Today, I have the final definition of PEACE from the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove. I appreciated the opportunity to visit the MCC some days ago.

The president of the Sunday school reminded the gathered crowd that I was there to ask the simple question “What is PEACE, to you?”

Dilnaz’s personal definition: “PEACE is when there is a presence in the heart and mind.”

I asked her for further explanation. She said, “You realize peace when you give yourself to a Higher Being. And, you don’t have to have total control.”

Dilnaz is so right. We all can realize peace in our own lives by opening ourselves to God (or, the Higher Power, if some choose to identify the Holy or Divine One, in such a way.)

I would like to express my thankfulness at the kind invitation I received from Dilnaz, so that I could have the chance to gather interesting, diverse personal definitions of PEACE. (Thanks, Dilnaz!)

Gracious, merciful God, thank You for the opportunity to go to the Muslim Community Center and get to know them a little better. Help me—help all of us strive to continue the conversation of PEACE. In Your holy name we pray, amen.

@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

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

PEACE: God’s Presence in My Heart

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 3, 2016

IMG_0186

PEACE: God’s Presence in My Heart

Earlier this week, I visited the senior group at St. Martha’s Catholic Church in Morton Grove to speak to them about PEACE. Isn’t the country more and more divided now? Divided in terms of race, politics, sexual preference. And, then some!

I gave a small presentation about the lack of PEACE and what we can do about it. Several ideas about how to lessen the animosity between people and between groups of people.

I also gave them some background on my Pursuing PEACE Project, and asked if any of the seniors would be willing to give me their personal definition of PEACE. Several of them were eager to give me their points of view.

Today’s definition comes from a sweet woman circulating around the room. I went up to her and asked my question: “What is your personal definition of PEACE?” Carol DiSimone reflected for several moments, and then said, “Peace is God’s presence in my heart.”

I asked her for a little more explanation. She responded: “I thank God when I pray. I thank God every night that I have God in my heart. I am very grateful.” That was the most important thing in her heart. Yes, there was some additional stuff going on in her life. However, stripping all that other stuff away, putting it in its place—as Carol had—the presence of God is what is important to her.

These seniors have a good deal of wisdom and insight. Would that we all have such a straight-forward view on life, and God in our lives. God, may it be so!

@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

Pray in the Presence of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 10, 2015

Matt 22-26 greatest command

Pray in the Presence of God

I try to remember God. Really, I do. But—it’s so difficult, sometimes. I forget. God slips my mind, sometimes. How can that be, I ask myself? (!!!) Forgive me, God.

Reading in the Advent book of reflections for today, Henri Nouwen talked about forgetting God. About how humans here on this earth, here in this plane of existence, pre-empt my attention and my direction.

I need to direct my thoughts to God, to give as much as possible of my heart, soul and mind to God. Not to have my heart, soul and mind redirected. I know, I know. It is so simple to just allow it to happen. To allow my heart, soul and mind to drift away from God.

Nouwen’s words cut me to the quick: “Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul.” [1]

For the Advent Action of the day, I am advised to go through the “old tapes” that play inside my head, those “tapes” that do not allow me to acknowledge God’s love for me. “Pick one ‘tape:’ a resentment, a belittlement, a loss, and pack it away permanently in exchange for the shelter of a loved and loving God.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, You love me. You really do. And, You want me to be all I can be. You want me to give all—that is ALL—of myself to You. Help me to be willing to be willing. Help me as I wait for You and Your coming. It’s in Your name I pray, amen.

@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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

Forgiveness? How to Forgive.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 9, 2015

FORGIVE God forgives the unexcusable

Forgiveness? How to Forgive.

How to forgive? The same way Christ forgave. Step by step, one step at a time.

One action, one lovingly, giving-ly, supernaturally, and amazingly given.

But what happens when I do something against God? Something that hurts God? What about something that ought to cause God to become bitter, or aloof, but just doesn’t? What then?

Amazing grace. Even more amazing forgiveness. That is the way that God is going to forgive; or has forgiven. I am reminded of the scene in Isaiah 6, where such awe-inspiring presence of God would lead me to prostrate myself before all that mighty God-ness. Only, I see that remarkable presence of God as forgiving me. Wow. I have no words. They all seemed to be inadequate.

But—wait. As I come to the book Praying the New Testament as Psalms, I find forgiveness in so many places there, as well. Like in this modern verse adapted from Ephesians: “Touch my heart, God, that I may be kind to others,/tender-hearted, ready to forgive as You in Christ have forgiven me.” [1]

Dear God. Gracious, loving, forgiving God. Through the riches of Christ’s grace, I have forgiveness lavished upon me. It is too much for me to understand, much less begin to appreciate. All I can do is fall on my face. (Just like Isaiah.) Thank You. Thank You. And, help me always to be as ready to forgive others as You in Christ are ready to forgive me.

@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.), 78.

Nourish and Connect with the Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 20, 2015

HUG - can I have a hug

Nourish and Connect with the Soul

Why not nourish our souls? Why not connect with that deep place inside each of us? (Those are rhetorical questions.)

I loved the way Richard Carlson opened our chapter today in Handbook for the Soul. He quoted Stephen Levine, and said, “If you had one hour to live and could make only one call, who would it be to, what would you say, and why are you waiting?” [1] Yes, I loved this quote.

I know I think about life one day at a time. This quote also made me think hard.

When it comes to thinking about my own death, I am certainly calmer, more at peace than some I have seen first-hand who received bad news in the hospital. However, I have never thought quite this thought before. Going one step further, I considered Carlson’s similar question, directed to the Soul: “Why wait a moment longer to connect with and nourish the Soul?” [2]

My connectedness to my Soul plays a big part in my happiness, my joy, contentment, graciousness, and kindness (to myself as well as to others). Any kind of disconnect is something that concerns me.

As I thought about the whole concept of connection to the Soul, my yoga class came to mind. (I know I’ve mentioned before that my yoga teacher is marvelous!) True, I have prayed, meditated, and done various other kinds of spiritual formation and exercises for years. However, I think the past year and a half (since I started yoga practice on a regular basis) has helped me to grow in a different way. Not as much up in my head, and more in my heart and in my body.

I can easily affirm Carlson’s words “that the primary purpose in life is to feel and appreciate the presence of God, to live from a state of love and compassion, to be of service to others, and then, instantly, like magic, I begin to feel at peace.” [3]

Just so.

Yes, I find yoga greatly assists me in this endeavor. Yes. Striving to do these three foundational things, and having peace by the natural result? Marvelous striving. And, wonderful happenings, along the way. Feeling nourished by my Soul? Fabulous. And, I feel that feeling on a regular basis, now. What a feeling! How wonderful to be more and more connected to my Soul. God willing, I can keep feeling this way.

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 126.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 127.

@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 .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net