Tag Archives: relationships

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jer 29-11 I know the plans I have for you

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Finances are the very devil, sometimes.

Between worry about where finances are coming from, complaints or disagreements about where the money is going, and awkwardness concerning spending, saving, and general consumption of available finances? Yes, I would say money can be the very devil. Sometimes.

That’s why I want to pray for relationships and finances.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for helping us to be good stewards of all You have given to us. Encourage each of us to be honest, open and willing with all that we have and are—in terms of time, talents, and especially treasure. All we have and are comes from You. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart.

Lord, I ask that You provide for all of our needs. You know how desperate some of them are. Especially in times of such uncertainty of many different kinds, give us wisdom and understanding with finances. I praise You for Your loving-kindness, mercy and grace extended towards each of us, especially for those who are crushed with uncertainty, anxiety, debt, illness and unemployment. Dear Lord, give comfort where it is needed, and help to those who are hopeless and sinking. Gracious, loving God, in Your mercy, we earnestly 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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Implore Thy Clemency for All

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 20, 2015

St. Anselm illustration

St. Anselm illustration

Implore Thy Clemency for All

Such old-fashioned language! That’s my initial thought, now. (And to think, as a teenager, I used to love the King James Version of the Bible for the beauty of its expression…)

Perhaps I’ve been listening too much to my husband, the journalist. He regularly tells me “eliminate needless words.” One of his favorite quotes is that of George Orwell: “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.” Accordingly, I often try to follow my husband’s advice. Except—when I consider lovely writing from The Oxford Book of Prayer.

Today’s prayer is about Relationships. The prayer I chose for today from The Book of Prayer concerns “As We Forgive” (Prayer 372, page 113) [1] This prayer for clemency and for love from our God is attributed to St. Anselm (1033-1109).

“…Grant us grace that having received Thine undeserved bounty, we may love everyone in Thee and for Thee.” O, Lord! Undeserved grace and undeserved bounty? I do not deserve any of it. Do You hear me? I feel like Isaiah beholding the vision of the Lord Almighty seated on the heavenly throne in the Temple. Falling flat on my face, and not even daring to lift my eyes.

“We implore Thy clemency for all, but especially for the friends whom Thy love has given to us.” Is it any wonder that I have any friends at all? According to the good saint, it is only through Your gracious love that I even have friends. And, clemency? You are merciful, indeed, Lord! Merciful to me, a sinner. Imagine, the audacity of St. Anselm, asking—nay, imploring mercy and clemency for all. Not for some, not for most, but for all. Fairly takes my breath away.

“Love Thou them, O Thou fountain of love.” What an expression! Fountain of love. I can imagine the Lord having a never-ending supply of love. (which is quite possibly the image Anselm had in mind. I’m not sure.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Anselm’s gracious and generous words. Thank You for the opportunity I have to examine these words more closely. Help me to heed them, and to follow Your will and Your ways. O blessed Lord, 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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 113.

Soul-Keeping? Let Conscience Guide!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SOUL gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul Prov 16-23

Soul-Keeping? Let Conscience Guide!

How to keep my soul? Why not how to nourish my soul? Stephen Covey thinks our consciences can guide us into fuller, deeper nurture of our souls. He makes a strong case for service.

In today’s chapter of the Handbook for the Soul, Covey describes several dimensions of a person’s life. Physical, mental, spiritual. He speaks more to each dimension. But foundational to this discussion is the duty/joy/privilege of service.

Our service is, indeed, how we can open our souls, as Covey says. “When other people suffer from soul sickness, we can seek to build relationships by understanding their world and their feelings, so that they feel deeply understood.” [1]

But that’s just one aspect of service. Covey does touch on several aspects. He mentions altruism. Yes, that is a fine reason to do mercy and love justice. But that is not all. (At least, that isn’t what Covey mentions as the end-all-and-be-all.

No, Covey and his family are focused on God—among other things. This spiritual element is so important to many people. Yes, we could consider the generosity of Mother Teresa, or the humility of Nelson Mandela. (Two real-life examples from Covey’s chapter.)

Yet, we also see the example of little things. Weak people striving to do the best they can. Like me. God willing, we all can strive to be better than we presently are.doing. Please, God, help us do an excellent job as we all strive to do service. (As Jesus said, too, in Matthew 25:34-40.)

@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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 149.

Cry for Help? Assistance in Prayer from Fr. Nouwen.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 12, 2015

hearts in hands

Cry for Help? Assistance in Prayer from Fr. Nouwen.

I love Fr. Nouwen’s writings. All of them. I have never read a single page of his that I have dismissed as trivial or unnecessary. So, I was more than excited today when I saw that one of the liturgical daily lectionary texts and readings included several paragraphs from A Cry for Mercy, by Henri Nouwen.

So many sentences and phrases of Fr. Nouwen’s caught my attention. However, I will focus on two particular sentences: “Why . . . do I keep expecting happiness and satisfaction outside of You? Why do I keep relating to You as one of my many relationships, instead of my only relationship, in which all other ones are grounded?”

These words make me want to hide under a blanket, or under my bed. Hide myself away from the sight of the Lord, and hide my whole self in shame. And fear, and deep sadness.

I can see where several of the big sins, the Seven Deadly Sins, are trying to horn in here. Overweening pride at being arrogantly self-sufficient, apart from You. Green-eyed envy while trying to juggle many surface or vacuous relationships outside of You. Sloth, that lazy, take-one’s-time disease, which keeps me from honest effort lest I strive to grow closer to You.

Lord, forgive me for neglecting You, Your love, support and encouragement. Help me in developing a closer walk with You. And as Fr. Nouwen says, help me to become Your trusting friend. Please, dear Lord. In Your grace and 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.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Instant? Freeze-dried? Super-easy Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 8, 2015

PRAY alphabet blocks

Instant? Freeze-dried? Super-easy Prayer?

Prayer is not quick. Not efficient. Not microwave-able. Not instant or freeze-dried. There is no super-quick, super-easy way to pray. Except by praying.

I could say similar things about true, deep relationships. Not quick, or efficient, not microwave-able or freeze-dried.

Yes, I know someone will tell me about a true, deep relationship they had or have, where the stars aligned, the heavens opened, and two people came together and instantly found their hearts beat as one. What Anne of Green Gables might call a “bosom friend” or a “kindred spirit.” God bless you if you have that! But in the great percentage of time, relationship is not instantaneous, not microwave-able. True, deep relationships take time.

What would you think if you had me for a friend, and all I wanted from you were things? Favors? Inside influence? Quid pro quo? You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours? I know that’s the way some relationships in this world are structured, but the subsequent relationship—the “friendship”—is not particularly true, deep, or intimate. True, deep relationships take time and trust.

I go back to my helpful prayer guide for January. Rev. Howell says, “Think about human relationships. What if I measured my marriage by whether my wife does stuff I want or not? If all I do is come to her with ‘Honey, do this, and honey, I want that,’ you would dismiss me as a stupid husband.”[1] Yet—how often do we come to God and do pretty much the same thing? The last thing in the world I want my dear, loving God to think is that the only reason I go to the Lord Almighty is like I would go to some cosmic vending machine or drink dispenser in the sky.

True, deep, intimate relationships take time, trust and love.

Dear God, help me continue to develop a true, intimate relationship with You. Please. And thank You.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation. (also published at www.matterofprayer.net

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

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 33.

 

Praying for Children

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, January 30, 2014

dog and boy

Praying for Children

I hesitate to put this down on the screen (years before, I would have said “put down on paper”), but I do not pray for my children every day. I know, I know. I am not a stellar example of an intercessor, a person of prayer. I especially do not consider myself a prayer warrior. However, I do have a desire to bring people together in prayer. I facilitate an intercessory prayer chain at my church, and I enjoy doing that! It gives me great satisfaction to keep track of various prayer requests, note the answers to prayer, and see the gratitude that comes from people we are praying for. (or from their family members and friends, too)

However, I was nudged today to pray for my children. My children are getting older. Only one is still in high school—the other three are all in college or beyond. Still, I pray for my children’s well-being, for their personal relationships, for their work, and especially for their spiritual growth and relationships with God. Some days ago, I mentioned a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent. I still use this book, often, when I pray for my children. I did so this morning, in my (fairly regular) prayer time, and the prayer time was okay. Not exceptional, but I did feel a connection with God.

Later this afternoon, I read a blog post about a child in Africa. This child was sponsored by a couple here in the United States. The blog post was well-written, a vivid word-picture of the situation the child and her family lived in. But this blog post brought something else to my mind: something Stormie mentioned in her book.

In the first chapter of Stormie’s book, she says, “We can be a friend, a teacher, a grandparent, an aunt, a cousin, a neighbor, a guardian, or even a stranger with a heart of compassion of concern for a child. . . . If you’re aware of a child who doesn’t have a praying parent, you can step into the gap right now and answer that need.”

I’ve tried to be that answer. I do pray for children and teens. It doesn’t matter whether they are your (or my) children, or not. You might be the only person praying for that child. I’ve tried to school myself in that way. If God brings some child or teen to my mind, I really try to stop and pray for them. It doesn’t matter whether I am related to them, or not. Often, I feel compassion and tenderness in my heart. So, I pray. Sometimes.

Let’s pray. Dear God, I feel compassion and care for children—sometimes. Thank You for this care that You’ve placed in my heart—in all of our hearts. Please, help me—help us to think of a child or teen to pray for, sometimes. It might mean the world for them. Thanks for all of those I don’t even know who prayed for me. You know them, God. May I be there for some other child or teen, when they need prayer. In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.

@chaplaineliza