Tag Archives: recommendation

Problems of Meditation?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 19, 2017


Problems of Meditation?

Ah, now we come to the main point of difficulty. At least, my main point of difficulty. Yes, I have prayed regularly for years, and prayed sometimes for extended periods of time. (Not half as much as I should have, for which I ask great forgiveness, Lord.) And, I have had problems with prayer and meditation for years. For decades.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood about problems with meditation. He was writing to seminarians, remember; a goodly portion of them probably complained and moaned when Pastor Bonhoeffer told them how long each day he expected them to pray and meditate. The first recommendation he had, when encountering great difficulties in meditation? Practice, practice, practice. Practice earnestly and for a long time.

His second recommendation applies to me, quite well. My thoughts often flit around like insects—sometimes fluttering like butterflies, but other times zooming like quite another kind of unpleasant bug. Bonhoeffer says, “If your thoughts keep wandering, there is no need for you to hold on to them compulsively.” (Thank God.) “There is nothing wrong with letting them roam where they will; but then incorporate in your prayers the place or person to which they have gone.” [1]

Yes. I’ve known that my thoughts do fly all around, for years. And, I have asked God to send my thoughts to people or situations that need prayer. That’s one way I’ve been praying, for years.

Thank God for Bonhoeffer’s suggestion! Otherwise, I would feel really guilty about my thoughts flying around all over the place, even when I sincerely try to pray and meditate.

I admit that I have the Myers-Briggs preferences of ENFP. I have read the 16 different prayers for the 16 different personality preferences, and I can relate to the one for ENFP: “God, help me to keep my mind—look! A bird!—on one thing at a time.” So, yes. I appreciate Bonhoeffer’s understanding and patience with his students. I also appreciate my God’s understanding and patience with me. (Thank You, God!)



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), 26.

A Prayerful Look at Trees

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 7, 2015

green trees

A Prayerful Look at Trees

What an unusual suggestion! The prayer guide today had quite the recommendation for me. I still am not sure I can manage it. I’ve been praying about it! Not quite following it, but I will attempt to do so.

I am supposed to look for (or think of) two trees. One which resembles the kind of person I would like to be, and the other which expresses in some way the kind of person I see myself to be now. And—I need to decide what I need to do in order to change from the way I am now to the way I would like to be. Or—the way that God wants me to be.

This is complicated. First, the idea of a tree that is somehow stunted or not completely hale and healthy comes to mind.

I know I am not completely healthy. I have very poor eyesight. If I were not born in a first world country with access to glasses or contact lenses, I would be out of luck, as far as seeing anything more than nine inches or at most a foot away from my eyes. Second, I had a stroke when I was a teenager. My language center was affected. I may not seem—outwardly—like I am markedly different from most other people. And, perhaps I’m not. But, I seem like I am. I notice little things, like my hesitation at finishing sentences, and how I sometimes stumble over words. Those are two big areas for me. At least, they seem big.

Second, I think of a tree that is healthy, green and growing. I think of the tree represented in Psalm 1. I am not only in good physical health, but also in good mental, spiritual and psychological health, too. I can see myself stretch out my arms/branches to the sky, and my feet/roots grow deeply, connecting with the source of food and drink, health and all good things.

But how to get from where I am now to where I want to be? Other than asking God for help and working—one day at a time—to do my best for God, wherever I am placed,

Did You hear, God? Please, help me to do my best. For You.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net