Tag Archives: remember

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 31, 2018

dream not interpreted, letter not read

Prayer. Even in Dreams.

Often, when Father Nouwen suggests something, I strongly consider it. Except—in this particular situation. He was talking about silence, and noise, and especially about sleep. Then, he mentioned dreams. Oh, no!

It’s not that I never dream. From what I understand about dreams, I must dream with some regularity. I just never remember my dreams. Other people remember their dreams with great detail. Alas, not me. I am even uncomfortable talking about the fact that I don’t remember my dreams. (Well, hardly ever. Two, maybe three dreams a year, at most. And those, only vague impressions.)

Nouwen is talking about God being a Master Gardener; “Under this gentle regime, we can once again become masters over our own house. Not only during the day, but at night as well….Sleep is no longer a strange darkness, but a friendly curtain behind which dreams continue to live and to send out messages which can be gratefully received.” [1]

I am terribly sorry, Father Nouwen. I can’t make use of this friendly curtain, or the dream-space behind it. I feel my lack of dreams strongly. Periodically, I hear others discussing their dreams. An older friend encounters God on a fairly regular basis in dreams. (That’s how God communicates with my friend…not me!)

Realizing God communicates with me through the written word was (and is) a comfort to me. Gosh, I am so word-based! I know lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are great ways for me to pray. However, I have tried other ways of praying and meditation.  I really have tried, and tried hard. But, I just can’t allow myself, turn myself over to dream, because thereby leads to frustration and sorrow and disgruntlement.

Dear Lord, I do not think You want me to be disgruntled when I’m coming before You in prayers! I think that much be the furthest things from Your mind. Thank You for letting me find out that lectio divina and Ignatian prayer are two ways of praying that can lead me into Your presence, on a reliable basis. Gracious God, help me to be able to come before You on a regular basis. However, if I should be some change remember my dreams, help me to find some meaning in them. Just another in the dozens of ways You find to communicate with us. In the loving name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 21.

Peace on a Day of Remembrance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 11 2016


Peace on a Day of Remembrance

I read the last two verses of Psalm 120, feeling sad and disheartened. The psalmist seems disheartened, too. 120:6 – “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.”

Yes, this is one of the psalms (or songs) which were historically said or used or read in the procession to the Temple in Jerusalem. However, these verses of scripture look to be positive towards peace. Even though peace may seem to be a really positive idea, he has dwelt among the hate-mongers too long.

I suspect the psalmist is jaded. Doubtful that any change—positive change—can come. What is to be done? 120:7 – “I am a person of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”

This verse makes me really disheartened, as I said. At first glance, there is no hope, no positive side to be found. However, the psalmist could be at the end of his rope. So far gone, that he falls at the feet of God. He might realize he depends on God alone, if those surrounding him were persistently crying out for war.

Peace. Crying out for peace. Sometimes it seems that I am a lone voice crying out for peace. God, especially with the reminder of September 11th fresh in all of our minds, help me to be a catalyst for peace and reconciliation. Help us all to spread the words of peace, wholeness and harmony. So help me, 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

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

colorful flower bouquet

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

Today was a Sunday. A day to worship, a day to gather together with other believers. A day to share joys and concerns. Oh, how many joys and concerns we all have.

Many concerns, including a 90-something friend who is recovering from yet another hospital procedure. Just like the Energizer Bunny, keeps on going. God bless this senior! Also a newly-born premature baby, the tiny relative of an older friend. Great amount of concern for this little one, and family! Then, several generations of a family going some distance to a large family reunion. Journey mercies going, and returning, and many blessings while at the reunion. And, my friend in hospice. So sad. God be with that situation, too.

Today was also the day that I provided flowers for the altar at church. Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death.

I could not help but remember that my father had been dead exactly twice as long as I had lived. Since he was a statistician by trade, and I remember how much he used to enjoy serendipitous situations like that, I noted it. And, I missed my dad. Mourned him and his premature death. Cancer took him much too soon.

I went to the cemetery to see him and my mother today, as well as the other relatives buried there. Gorgeous day to walk in the cemetery.

Yes, I listened. Certainly, I prayed. Quietly, I mourned. And yes, I remembered.

Dear 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 sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

The Externals of Christmas

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jesus and children drawing

The Externals of Christmas

Somehow, the externals of Christmas get in the way. You know. Last-minute presents, decorations, short visits, running errands, waiting in line. The externals take away from important things like praying. Worshipping. Making time for God. Loving my neighbor.

As Henri Nouwen mentions in today’s Advent reading: “How hard it is to remember…the difference between the urgent and the important.” [1]

I am afraid I am unfamiliar with Pѐre Thomas. (Nouwen mentions him in today’s reading.) Pѐre Thomas wants his readers to spend the days before Christmas in prayer. Such a difficult task!

I strive to pray more, and I fall down on the job. I try, and try, and try again. Alas, I cannot keep this discipline of prayer. Forgive me, Lord.

“Christ wants to be born in us, but we must be open, willing, receptive, and truly welcoming.” [2]

Isn’t that the key, Lord? The key to so much of living? The way of following Jesus?

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to follow You. Lead me in Your way. Give me patience and understanding with those who have different views, and who come from different cultures. Thank You for many myriads of people—all made by You—individuals with differences. Lead us out of darkness and blindness. Lead us into Your Light. Amen.


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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 38.

[2] Ibid.

Another Step in the Daily Examen

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, May 18, 2015

my heart saying a prayer

Another Step in the Daily Examen

Feelings can be wonderful. If I feel fluffy, warm, fuzzy feelings, that lets me know I have a more positive, cheery outlook on life. On the other hand, if I feel sad and down in the dumps, my outlook on life is radically different. Negative. Unpleasant, even.

I don’t want to say that every time my spirits are low it’s a time for me to take advantage—no, I usually just pipe down, go quietly and leave. Usually, that is.

Detaching from my emotions can be helpful, especially since it’s often useful for me to hold these same emotions at arm’s length. Even still, close examination of the emotions behind my thoughts, ideas, and actions takes a good deal of courage.

This is the third day we are gleaning what we can learn from the website on Ignatian prayer: Pay close attention to your feelings, and see where the emotion takes us. We can see what this website has for us, today.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?”

Hmm. Great questions, Lord!

Now is the time for reflection and prayer. I can take the opportunity to be honest and open, no matter what. Thanks, Lord! You’re the best.


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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Remain in God’s Love. Stay Put.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jesus and fruit - grapes  John 15

Remain in God’s Love. Stay Put.

God loves Jesus. Jesus readily affirms this—His Heavenly Parent is embracing Him, even while He is talking to the disciples in the Upper Room. And, Jesus also affirms that He loves the disciples. Without qualifications, no matter what.

That’s the same kind of love Jesus has for me. And, for you, too.

The liturgical lectionary scripture reading for today is from John 15. It isn’t only the disciples who are encouraged to remain in Jesus’ love. We are, too. This is how I am to stay close to Jesus. Really close.

I am still feeling the effects of some very sad news; it came as a great shock to me. Jesus (and His love) is helping me through it. I know I am told to keep Jesus’ commands, and I will remain in Jesus’ love.

Please, God, be with all who received sad news today—or, even recently. Be with those who mourn, wipe their eyes, lighten their hearts. Be with all those who lost a loved one. Please. In Your mercy, Lord, hear all of our prayers. Amen.


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 .

Third Sunday in Lent – Excuse Me, Fr. Nouwen. I Am Praying For Myself.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 8, 2015

pray pray pray

Third Sunday in Lent – Excuse Me, Fr. Nouwen. I Am Praying For Myself.

I love Fr. Nouwen’s writings. Really, I do. I read something from Fr. Nouwen’s book A Cry of the Heart in the devotional book I have. Yet, my thoughts kept going back to one of the scripture readings for today.

Yes, Fr. Nouwen wanted to alert his readers to prayer. Being led to pray to God, and even taught to pray by God. Yes, dear God. Teach me to pray.

A very good brief reading, but my mind kept wandering away. Wandering toward Psalm 42.

I connected with verses 3 and 4a. “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’  These things I remember as I pour out my soul.”

Suddenly, vividly, as I read these verses I remembered several times in my life when I was so very sad. So disappointed. Submerged in anguish. Including, one fairly recent time when I was in the ocean depths of despair. Lord, where were You? It’s so dark. I felt all alone. Almost . . . worse than all alone. Such despair and hopelessness.

I knew, intellectually, that You were with me. True, I could not feel it. Not for some time. I still am not sure quite how, but I got through that horrid time of depression and dire despair.

A key feature to continuing through the Slough of Despond? One day at a time. One hour at a time. Even, ten minutes at a time. If I can just make it through the next little while, then I’ll be okay. I hope I can. I think I can. I pray I can.

I guess Fr. Nouwen was right after all. Teach me to pray, dear Lord. Reach out to me. Teach me to pray.

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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penitence - Larry Poncho Brown

Penitence – Larry Poncho Brown

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. I’ve been doing so much already, it seems like a day-and-a-half has been packed into just a few short hours. Yes, most of what I’ve been doing today is quite necessary. But what does God want from me today? I really ought to slow down and check in with God. See what I need to do to help my spiritual self stay right with my Higher Power.

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of preparation before Easter. Today is also Ash Wednesday, a day of holy penitence, confession and absolution. I take the Lenten observance of the cross of ashes on the forehead as a serious, penitential act. But I find I’m not acting like it today. Sure, I’m doing necessary stuff, busy stuff. But I need to slow down. Do some inward reflection on my habitual thoughts, words and deeds. And most importantly, I am advised to do some inward reflection on the state of my soul.

First, before I can even confess my sins of thought, word and deed, and then even ask for God’s forgiveness (much less accept it into my heart and mind), I need to slow down enough to focus on spiritual things. I need to attend to things of God, and not to be distracted by the world. Or even by needful, necessary things that take my eyes off where they need to be. God, help me focus on You, on your forgiveness, grace and mercy.

As I turn to inward reflection, meditation and prayer, I also reflect upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After all, He is the reason that I am here, in prayer. His words to us—to me—to come to Him with our—my heavy burdens. It is Jesus who gives rest to the weary, the sinful, the world-worn. To those burdened with care, with worry, with anger, with unforgiveness, with resentment. God invites me to release all those negative, worrisome mental states and attitudes. God blesses me with the forgiveness of those sinful thoughts, words and deeds of commission (what I’ve done) as well as omission (those I have neglected to do).

Instead of merely writing about confession, forgiveness and pardon, all intellectual-like, let’s actually do it. Let’s pray.

Dear God, We confess to You that we have sinned. Each of us has stubbornly turned to our own way, like those sheep Isaiah talks about. Forgive me, God. Wash me clean, make me white as snow, dear God. Have mercy on me—on us, in Your loving-kindness. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in Your grace and mercy, hear our prayers.


Looking Back, Looking Ahead

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 7, 2013

I must be getting older. (News flash!) No, seriously. Sometimes, I find myself reflecting on the past with some fondness and nostalgia. And then there are the times I reflect on the past with sadness and grief. Like today. I read in the news that today was the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Fifty survivors of the attack gathered there today, along with many other people. Looking back. Remembering. Grieving the deaths of so many, at Pearl Harbor and in the rest of the war. I thank God that my father and his three brothers came back after World War II to their wives. They raised families and led fruitful, productive lives.

Just today, I saw several photos through email and on Facebook, displayed by some friends of mine—all proud grandparents! These photos showed busy toddlers, happy babies, curious children. Almost all of these children are looking forward to the holidays (except for the youngest babies, of course). They and their families are looking ahead. In expectation and excitement.

On the other end of the spectrum are my older teenagers. They are “too old” for the wide-eyed wonder of the coming holiday. Yes, they both acknowledge the coming One. They intellectually realize this season is, indeed, a special time. However, they are more in the “meh” or “whatever” camp, trying to stay outwardly calm and unflappable. (All for outward display purposes, of course.)

So, here I am, in the middle. Looking back, and looking ahead. I need to pray all the more earnestly. I am trying to follow an Advent devotional booklet, with some success. But, outward circumstances are dragging me down. God, please help me to a sense of wonder. Give me a sense of Your presence, each day. Help me follow You.

Let’s pray. Dear God, help me take the necessary and needed time to be with You. As I look back, I remember all those who have lost loved ones in the service of our country. Looking ahead, I remember all those with children (and grandchildren) who are gladly awaiting the holidays. Thank You for this Advent time of waiting. Please, God, be with me as I intentionally set aside time each day to pray and wait upon You. Amen.

Passing Through – Sojourners and Strangers

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, November 23, 2013

The last Sunday of this liturgical year is at hand. Tomorrow, the church where I worship celebrates a special Sunday. This church is steeped in both the Lutheran and the German Reformed traditions, so tomorrow is “Totenfest,” or the day the church remembers all members (and in some churches, friends of the church, too) who have died since the last Sunday of the liturgical year, 2012.

So the church remembers. The recently departed are still fresh in many people’s memories. But not only people depart. The year departs, too. The close of November is the close of the growing season, where the growing things out of doors lose their leaves, shrivel, dry up. Or, go into hibernation and stasis, until the spring comes again. This is a quiet season, a contemplative time. So it is with Totenfest tomorrow, too.

Psalm 39:4 says, “Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days.” Such sober thoughts are a bit challenging. Not the first verses suggested for beginners at this business of prayer and meditation. However, this season and tomorrow’s commemoration of Totenfest encourage us to meditate on verses like these.

Perhaps a verse from the Apostle Paul will be more accessible. “For we are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up, there is a house for us from God, not made by human hands but everlasting, in the heavens.” (2 Cor 5:1) Here, Paul talks about our temporary housing, the tent that can (and will) be easily disassembled. We can meditate on the time when our measure of days comes to an end, and look forward to that house from God, where we will dwell with our God forever. No longer sojourners, passing through. We’ll have a real home-coming, to our everlasting, heavenly home.

Let’s pray. Dear God, we remember those who have passed through this life, especially those who died this past year. We celebrate their life and commemorate their blessed memory. We pray for those who mourn, who grieve not only the passing of loved ones, but the passing of the year. Help us to remember that our measure of days is in Your hand, and that You will surely welcome us into our everlasting, heavenly home. In Your mercy and peace we pray, Amen.