Tag Archives: quiet

Prayer. Silence. Shhh.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 8, 2018

open hands

Prayer. Silence. Shhh.

What a stunning viewpoint on silence. Or, should I say, Silence?

Somehow, I feel as if this word ought to be capitalized. Father Nouwen makes such telling points on silence and the modern understanding of it. This little book was written in 1972, which is well over forty years ago. Fr. Nouwen talks about the clatter, banging, and constant noise of this modern time. Boy, can I relate.

I wonder what the good Father would have to say about 2018, the modern day in the western world? With all the technological updates and social media and the myriad of different choices in the way of accessing sound and video and recording of all different kinds…   Would this audio-visual kaleidoscope of noise, this cacophony of countless visual and audible selections, cause him to shun technology even more?

I remember I did not like being alone or in silence very long, when I was a teen. It got better in my twenties and thirties. Now, I enjoy it.

Oh, Father Nouwen, you seem to run toward silence with abandon. Nonetheless, you freely admit that “for many, silence is threatening. They don’t know what to do with it.” [1] Is silence truly a disappearing art? Is silence a fearful and terrifying thing, finally in its fearsome stages of existence?

The question forty years ago Fr. Nouwen wanted answered was, have people become alienated from silence? I consider it just as fair to ask what have the majority of people become addicted to?  Beyond random noise, to videos, blogs, vlogs, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, much less regular texting and instant messaging?

Dear God, save us from ourselves. Help me—help us to see that You thrive in the various sounds of silence just as much as in loud howls and yells, conversations, noisy trumpets, cymbals, honky-tonk pianos, drum sets, wailing guitars, and all the variety of electronic sounds and other forms of audio and visual input. Gracious God, thank You that You have given humanity the insight, ability, and ingenuity to come up with all of the constant sounds. Help us to quiet our insides just as much as the outside environment can be quietened. Thank You for this profound insight Fr. Nouwen brings to me today.

@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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 16.

Look Deeply. Pray. Meditate.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, January 18, 2017

lily-and-lily-pads-mindful

Look Deeply. Pray. Meditate.

When I think about meditation and mindfulness now, my breath automatically starts to slow down. I don’t necessarily have to begin the practice of mindful meditation and prayer. It often just starts to happen.

Yet, this is not the only thing that happens during meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh had some excellent insights in the small section of the book I read tonight, including where he talked about the practice of meditation giving us the opportunity to heal and transform.[1] I don’t know about you, but I particularly need the chance to heal and transform. I often feel broken and hurting. When I am offered the possibility of healing and transformation, I’d be foolish not to take it!

Slowing down, slowing my breathing, stretching my neck, back and shoulders—all of these are so helpful to my relaxation. Preparation for a time of prayer, of healing and transformation. And then, even if I quiet myself for just a few minutes, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Finally, as I enter into that quiet place of mindful meditation, I also have the opportunity to see clearly. To look deeply into what surrounds me on the outside as well as what is inside of me. This does not completely banish fear and anxiety, but it certainly diminishes it. Anything that lessens fear and anxiety is definitely something I support. And, mindful meditation certainly does that.

Thank You, God, for this spiritual practice. Thank You for leading me to it, and giving me the opportunity to practice prayer and mindful meditation. 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 31.

Making Plans for Prayer, Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 24, 2016

prayer candles

Making Plans for Prayer, Meditation

International Peace Day. Looking forward to Wednesday, September 21.

Here in the Chicago area, praying for peace goes far above and beyond. I mean, Chicago started observing a Day of Peace before the United Nations made it a thing. Since 1978.

Lots of events are planned for Wednesday, September 21, all over the world. Not only the moment of silence at 12 noon, but also Peace Walks, Peace Book, and other Peace Day events. Speeches, skits, songs, musical performances, international participants. All centered around peace in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities.

I try to pursue peace in the community where I live as well as the community where I work. My small part this September 21 is opening the church where I work from 7 to 8 pm for ecumenical meditation and prayer. If anyone is near Morton Grove, Illinois on that Wednesday evening, St. Luke’s Church will open its doors to anyone who wishes to pursue peace. Meditate. Pray.

I know not everyone has a religious appreciation for prayer, but so many people are spiritual. So many appreciate a quiet, nurturing place for meditation. The church will host that, in an effort to bring many people together.

Dear Lord, I pray for Wednesday, September 21st. I ask You to guide me in our preparations, and support all of us as we continue to strive for peace. 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet (Repost)

Just reposted this to my new Facebook page, Pursuing Peace. Also, to my blog, matterofprayer.wordpress.com.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

IMG_0134

Quiet. Shh!

One definition for peace certainly can be quiet. Calm, serenity, peace. Yes, quiet.

This was the definition Celeste Magers gave to me, several days ago. Peace is quiet.

Many people pray and meditate as a regular part of their day. Celeste is a practitioner of meditation. This is what she says about how meditation informs her practice of quiet, which is foundational to quiet in her life.

“I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, and the style of meditation I use encourages inner quiet. If thoughts show up, I try not to latch onto them and run with them. I let thoughts flow on by – like light fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. If I’m successful, after a while, the thoughts quiet down and stop intruding. And then I feel as if I’m immersed in a sea of peace and love. And the same is true of my emotions. When they are not in an uproar, when they are quiet, then I experience peace emotionally, too. So peace means quiet to me. I access peace through quiet.”

Celeste, what a wonderful explanation of how peace and quiet are so closely intermingled in your life, as well as in your practice of meditation.

As you or I come before our God, we can thank God we have the opportunity to calm our hearts as well as our bodies. I can feel the peace and quietude tiptoe into my emotions, my intellect, and my physical being—as well as into my spiritual self. Thank You, God, for such a soothing, calming experience. Gently breathing in—breathing out. Feeling my heart rate decrease, my thoughts become more serene. Thank You, God.
(Celeste Magers is a lecturer in meditation, healthful living, nutrition, and holds a laughter yoga certification. She is always ready to share about the power of laughter in healing and ministry.)

@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

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 13, 2016

IMG_0134

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Quiet. Shh!

One definition for peace certainly can be quiet. Calm, serenity, peace. Yes, quiet.

This was the definition Celeste Magers gave to me, several days ago. Peace is quiet.

Many people pray and meditate as a regular part of their day. Celeste is a practitioner of meditation. This is what she says about how meditation informs her practice of quiet, which is foundational to quiet in her life.

“I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, and the style of meditation I use encourages inner quiet. If thoughts show up, I try not to latch onto them and run with them. I let thoughts flow on by – like light fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. If I’m successful, after a while, the thoughts quiet down and stop intruding. And then I feel as if I’m immersed in a sea of peace and love. And the same is true of my emotions. When they are not in an uproar, when they are quiet, then I experience peace emotionally, too. So peace means quiet to me. I access peace through quiet.”

Celeste, what a wonderful explanation of how peace and quiet are so closely intermingled in your life, as well as in your practice of meditation.

As you and I come before our God, we can thank God we have the opportunity to calm our hearts as well as our bodies. I can feel the peace and quietude tiptoe into my emotions, my intellect, and my physical being—as well as into my spiritual self. Thank You, God, for such a soothing, calming experience. Gently breathing in—breathing out. Feeling my heart rate decrease, my thoughts become more serene. Thank You, God.
(Celeste Magers is a lecturer in meditation, healthful living, nutrition, and holds a laughter yoga certification. She is always ready to share about the power of laughter in healing and ministry.)

@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 for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 9, 2016

meditating Jesus - unknown artist

Pray for Peace (in a Contemporary Way)

How fascinating to contemplate peace. Interesting? Much more than that. Truly mind-altering.

When I consider peaceful thoughts, and meditation on peaceful subjects, my mind slows down to a more manageable speed. My breathing slows to a deeper in and out—slowly, in—slowly, out. I can feel my shoulders and back becoming less tense, more relaxed.

My yoga instructor, Ine, is a retired nurse. She regularly tells her class that the deep breathing and calming relaxation of yoga is beneficial in several important ways—including lowering the blood pressure, assisting in opening up the airway, and allowing the diaphragm to move freely.

That’s how I felt as I read through this prayer from The Oxford Book of Prayer.[1] It is taken from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship. It’s short enough that I will quote it in full:

“Show us, good Lord,/the peace we should seek/the peace we must give,/the peace we can keep,/ the peace we must forgo, and the peace You have given us in Jesus our Lord.” [2]

Differing aspects of peace, yet all of them can be said to be gentle and quiet. Peace is not often loud and boisterous! Often quiet and unassuming. Take, for example, this short prayer. If prayed slowly, earnestly, from the heart, it will have a good chance of having those calming benefits my yoga teacher talks about. (Try it, and see!)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the benefits of pursuing peace. I can see the wonderful reaction peace has on my tense, stressed-out body. Thank You for allowing me to learn more about many different aspects of peace, calm, prayer, and meditation. Help me to be able to practice these several actions, regularly. I know You are pleased when I do! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

P.S. Watch this space for Pursuing PEACE. A Project that is also a listening tour. Listen. Share. Pursue PEACE. Coming TOMORROW for Lent!

@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), 80.

[2] Ibid.