Tag Archives: relaxation

Practice Prayer, Calm Yourself

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 25, 2017



Practice Prayer, Calm Yourself

As I read today’s brief reading, I was amazed at how basic and simple were the instructions. If I were to follow Thich Nhat Hanh’s basic suggestions each day, and every day, I suspect I would find even more of a centering. Even more of a relaxation and calmness.

Don’t get me wrong. I am being realistic. I know that I can’t put my head in the sand. However, the teacher’s guidelines are straight-forward and basic. (Not easy, mind you, but straight-forward and simple.) A quote from today’s reading: “There are people who meditate only to forget the complications and problems of life. They are like rabbits crouching under a hedge to escape a potential hunter.” [1]

Oh, dear. This is an incomplete view of meditation and prayer. Of course, for people who are beginning in the practice, this is far better than no meditation and prayer! We may begin at any point. We may begin at any time of the day. And, once we begin, “we are able to see the source of our habits, perceptions, and attachments.” [2] Seeing all of that, I begin to clear away the wreckage of the past as well as to relax and calm myself in peace and serenity.

It works. It really does! Thanks, God. God is so good, and so good to me.



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), 78.

[2] Ibid.

Enjoying Prayer and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Enjoying Prayer and Meditation

When I slow down and get ready for prayer and meditation, I sometimes find myself automatically loosening up my shoulders, taking slow and even deep breaths, settling myself comfortably, or turning my head gradually from side to side. All this is my way of getting ready.

Thich Nhat Hanh has similar advice for his readers: “Set aside a room or a corner or a cushion that you use just for sitting. When you arrive there, you will immediately begin to feel some of the joy and relaxation that comes from sitting.” [1]

Relaxation and calmness are with me, and a part of me, most of the time now when I pray. However, I sometimes still find it difficult to generate the joy that the monk talks about here in this section from the book How to Sit. This is one of my current challenges, I know. (I am working on it.)

Gracious God, this quote reminds me of what joy and happiness can be found in prayer and meditation…Thich Nhat Hanh shows it so clearly. I know I ought to strive for that same joy. But—I feel the challenge. I realize this is difficult for me. Heck, I really am excited about feeling relaxed and calm most times, when I pray! (Much less feeling joy. One step at a time. That is what I keep telling myself.) Dear God, help me to persevere. And, thanks for the wonderful, unexplored world of prayer. I know I’ve just gotten started, in prayer. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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), 53.

PEACE, Upon Reflection

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 4, 2016


PEACE, Upon Reflection

Another day, anothter definition. I gathered personal definitions of PEACE from the young people at St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights, I am grateful I had the opportunity to engage with anyone who came up to the table I had set up on one side of the large lunchroom.

Two more personal definitions of PEACE today; a great chance to talk with young people and get their viewpoints on PEACE.

Kathryn’s personal definition: “PEACE is complete understanding and relaxation with God and creation.”  

I asked her to explain a bit more about those interesting images. She said, “Peace is relaxing, without worrying. It’s when we fully understand God, His creation, and God’s purpose for everything.”

Upon reflection, that is a particularly tall order. However, striving to understand God is something I’ve tried to do for years and years. I commend Kathryn for her commitment to that striving.

Anna’s personal definition: “PEACE is kindness in every way, shape and form!”


I wanted to know more about this. Anna said, “I think it’s important to show kindness in words and actions. Also, it goes along with having a peaceful mindset.”

Since the subject of being kind is near and dear to my heart,  exactly what I thought.  Excellent interpretation of the word PEACE.

I am amazed at how much excitement I have been able to see, regarding the word PEACE. Way to go, all of you young people!

God, grant me the willingness to calm my own heart so I can listen to the still, small voice 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

Praying When Scared Silly

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, July 10, 2014

don't worry about tomorrow--trust

Praying When Scared Silly

I had an oral surgery procedure earlier this week. Yes, most of my friends and even my husband let me know that this extraction was nothing to worry about. Piece of cake! Even though there was some infection around the base of the tooth, it wasn’t complicated. Gee, when I went to see my oral surgeon last week, even he told me it was basic and routine.

So, why was I scared to death?

I know, I know. My husband tried to allay my fears. (He is fearful of dental procedures, himself.) He told me how far advanced dentistry has come, since he and I were small. He told me about the great staff in the oral surgeon’s office, and how our surgeon was a master at his craft.

But I was still shaking. Frightened, on a deep, fundamental level.

As I said in my other blog (A Year of Being Kind), I did not take care of my teeth when I was small. I also ate a lot of sweets. So, by the time I hit kindergarten, I had a number of small cavities in my teeth. I would not sit still for the dentist my parents used. So, my parents sent me to a special dentist. He was special, all right! He was downright cruel. He held my jaw in a deathgrip, and had the most piercing eyes of anyone I had ever seen in real life. Through the sheer force of his will, plus a healthy dose of sadism, he was able to fill the cavities.

He also scarred me for life. However, for that reason, I understood where I could go for help. I fled to the fellowship of other believers in prayer. I spoke up about my dental anxiety, and asked for prayer. Nay, even begged for prayer.

Yes, my prayers for my anxiety and fear did have more than a touch of the foxhole prayer in them. True enough. And I think God was right there with me. Helping me. Allaying my fears, all the time I was in the dentist’s chair for that procedure. Yes, I used breathing. Mindfulness practices. Relaxation techniques. And, I was surprised. They did indeed work.

Now that I’m on the other side of that procedure, I feel much better about things. I would even have significantly less fear, if I needed to have more oral surgery. (But that is not an invitation. Please, God, NO more. At least, not for a long time!)

And, I would like to send out sincere thanks and praise for everyone who prayed for me. Let’s pray right now. Dear Lord, Gracious God, You are always with me. Even through the dark valley, You stay right by my side. Even under the bright lights of a surgical procedure, You allay my fears. Thank You for your constant presence. Thank You for being right next to me, even when it seems like You are so far away. In gratitude and praise, amen!


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Internal Life? Or External Walk?

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, December 30, 2013

winter road

For the past few years, I’ve been concerning myself with—myself. I have been striving to maintain some kind of spiritual balance, working on my internal, spiritual component. I pray regularly (or at least, try to). I visit my therapist and spiritual director regularly, work out on a weekly basis at the local YMCA gym, and I even practiced relaxation and meditation in an intensive way for several months. In all of this, I have been working on the inner “me.”

I have also been intentional with my prayer life. Not only have I been praying on an increasingly regular basis, but I’ve also started a prayer chain and prayer blog, so we all can be encouraged in our personal prayer lives. This helps my inner relationship with God prosper, too.

But, what about my relationship with others? How about my family? Friends? What about those at church, or at the gym? What about my co-workers, or strangers I meet on the street? Have I been as studious and diligent at developing my relationship with them?

Yes, I am called by God to be in relationship with God—the vertical relationship.  But I am also called to be in community, as well—the horizontal relationship, one with another. One of my spiritual gifts is helping people. And by nature, I am kind and compassionate in my relations with others. It’s my relationship with others and with my local community (as well as their relationship with me) that I want to work on in 2014.

That’s why 2014 is my year to be kind. To help. To be of service. Intentionally.

(I will explore my thoughts and experiences of my year of service throughout 2014. I’ll do this at a new blog— www.ayearofbeingkind.net, starting on January 1, 2014. I’m excited! Visit me there, too.)

Let’s pray. Dear God, as the old year ends and the new year begins, I see new hopes ahead. New opportunities. New experiences. God, be with me as I begin a year of intentional service. I pray that this service be God-honoring. I ask You to lead me into places and experiences that You intend. Even challenging and difficult things. Protect me, guard me, guide me. I know You will be there, holding my hand. Thank You for my friends and prayer partners, who will be right by my side (in prayer!). God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.