Tag Archives: receptive

Prayer, Life-Breath of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 20, 2018

breath of God, mountains

Prayer, Life-Breath of God

Father Nouwen calls the Gospel—the Good News—the life breath of God. Isn’t that it, exactly? If we name the Good News as indispensable for life, how then shall we orient our selves? Our lives? Indeed, our souls?

“The person who prayerfully goes about his life is constantly ready to receive the breath of God, and to let his life be renewed and expanded.” [1] (Fr. Nouwen wrote this several decades ago, when “he/him” was commonly seen to be representative of all humanity.)

If I am receptive and ready to receive God’s life-giving breath, God’s Ruach ha Kodesh, into my life and self and soul, isn’t that the essence of being? Isn’t that what it means to be a child of God? (These are rhetorical questions.) I agree with Henri Nouwen. Then, I can stand upright, stretch out my hands and come out of the corner where I have been hiding and cowering in fear. Then, I am free to boldly stride through the world, because then I can move without fear. [2]

Fear is just what I am preaching on, in my summer sermon series. I am looking at just a few of the hundreds of “Be Not Afraid!” passages in the Bible, and highlighting these each Sunday. But, to return to Nouwen’s idea of God’s breath, it is truly life-giving.

Nouwen describes someone who never prays as someone who has asthma. (Or, from my direct experience as a hospital chaplain, someone with COPD.) So difficult to breathe! As I have had it described to me, life becomes as small as the distance an affected person is from his or her oxygen source, as far as their oxygen tube can take them. What a sad commentary on living and existence.

It is prayer that opens up the world for anyone, even if some do have mobility difficulties and challenges. Prayer becomes that gift from God for which we need not give anything in return. Thank You, dear God, for the remarkable, immeasurable gift of prayer.


(Here is last week’s “Be Not Afraid” sermon: June 17 Sunday Sermon: “Joshua Called Courageous!“ Joshua 1:8-9 @StLukesChurch2 #pastorpreacherprayer )

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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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 31.

[2] Ibid.

Center on Gift of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 9, 2015

GIFT OF GOD present

Center on Gift of God

Today’s Name of God surprised me. Almost shocked me, even. Not the Name, itself, but where it was located. The situation where I found it.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve committed to Centering Prayer each day in September. And, to aid me in this prayer method, I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible. I’m using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Gift of God.

I had quickly glanced at my list of Names of God (and there are quite a lot of them!). This was as I settled and quieted myself to pray. I noted that “Gift of God” was found in the Gospel of John, and then I started in to pray. I had a peaceful time of prayer, with occasional thoughts of Jesus handing me a wrapped present, or looking at a table piled with presents (almost like at a wedding reception or something). I felt open, receptive, and it was a good time of prayer.

However—after my time of prayer when I checked out exactly where the Name of God came from, I saw right away it was included in the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. John chapter 4. “10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

I find the Gospel of John fascinating. How John uses such simple, straight-forward language to get across such deep thoughts! Here in verse 10, the Gift of God could mean a metaphorical gift. Or, Jesus could be referring to Himself. (As this list of Names of God suggests.) Regardless, this phrase makes a fruitful foundation on which to pray and meditate.

Thank You for my times of Centering Prayer. Thank You for the phrase “Gift of God.”


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