Tag Archives: resentment

Prayer, Hoping for a New World…

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 12, 2018

Rev 21-5 all things new

Prayer, Hoping for a New World…

Resentment. Oh, how pervasive it is!

Resentment, frustration, cynicism. And finally, resignation. What’s the use? What good will mere praying do? The structures of this fallen, imperfect world certainly seem to be set in stone. I’ll never be able to budge those structures, or practices, or attitudes, or groups. “Oh, well,” I say to myself, with a melancholy, half-cynical grin.

“And yet, you are Christian only so long as you look forward to a new world, only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society in which you live, and only so long as you emphasize the need for conversion both for yourself and for the world.” [1] How much faith does Father Nouwen have! How much resilience and wherewithal did he harbor, deep within.

Sometimes, I do not see how I can continue to have this sort of hope, the hope in a new world that Father Nouwen so clearly had.

I saw several questions taken from Henri Nouwen’s writing, quoted today on social media. These questions arrested me, and started me thinking. (Are these the types of questions Nouwen mentions here in his book With Open Hands?) The questions run as follows:

“Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love? These are the real questions.”

Instead of feeling beaten down and defeated by the societal structures, common practices, and overarching attitudes of this world, I can concentrate on these personal questions. I might be able to use them in personal interaction. One on one, person to person. That is the only way I can try to affect change, anyway. One kind act at a time, one gentle word at a time. So help me, God.

Dear Lord, forgive me for my resentment, frustration and cynicism. I think. I hope. Amen.



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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 103.

Pray in the Presence of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 10, 2015

Matt 22-26 greatest command

Pray in the Presence of God

I try to remember God. Really, I do. But—it’s so difficult, sometimes. I forget. God slips my mind, sometimes. How can that be, I ask myself? (!!!) Forgive me, God.

Reading in the Advent book of reflections for today, Henri Nouwen talked about forgetting God. About how humans here on this earth, here in this plane of existence, pre-empt my attention and my direction.

I need to direct my thoughts to God, to give as much as possible of my heart, soul and mind to God. Not to have my heart, soul and mind redirected. I know, I know. It is so simple to just allow it to happen. To allow my heart, soul and mind to drift away from God.

Nouwen’s words cut me to the quick: “Jesus’ claim is much more radical. He asks for a single-minded commitment to God and God alone. God wants all of our heart, all of our mind, and all of our soul.” [1]

For the Advent Action of the day, I am advised to go through the “old tapes” that play inside my head, those “tapes” that do not allow me to acknowledge God’s love for me. “Pick one ‘tape:’ a resentment, a belittlement, a loss, and pack it away permanently in exchange for the shelter of a loved and loving God.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, You love me. You really do. And, You want me to be all I can be. You want me to give all—that is ALL—of myself to You. Help me to be willing to be willing. Help me as I wait for You and Your coming. It’s in Your name I pray, 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), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

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 .

A Daily Examination, or Inventory

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 15, 2015

my own way

A Daily Examination, or Inventory

I went to a seminar this morning. The topic of the seminar was self-care, which was helpful to me as someone who works with people. Having so much and such intimate contact with others can deplete me, internally. So, self-care is something I must pay close attention to.

Yes, taking time to do beneficial things for myself is a wonderful way to do self-care. However, there is another way of maintaining balance and caring for myself, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually: doing a regular inventory.

I know about this practice. Yes, because I have learned about prayer and meditation, and learned about the spiritual practices involved in spiritual formation. In other words, I have a good introduction to this spiritual side of things. But—I was also thinking about the 12 Steps of the Recovery program. (Specifically Step 10.)

I have a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, so I know a few things about the Recovery program. One of the important aspects of the 12 Steps is taking care of one’s shortcomings and mistakes, promptly. In other words, “cleaning my side of the street.” Making sure that there are as few difficulties and mistakes left hanging. I consider this to be an excellent way of dealing with fear, anxiety and resentment, and I have recommended a regular Step 10 to a number of people over the years.

Under the general topic of Ignatian prayer and meditation comes something very similar to the Step 10 inventory: the Daily Examen, or examination of one’s own spiritual state at the end of the day. Perhaps I ought to simply show a brief form of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.

  1.     Become aware of God’s presence.
    2. Review the day with gratitude.
    3. Pay attention to your emotions.
    4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
    5. Look toward tomorrow. [1]

I will be looking more closely at this way of praying and taking inventory in the next few days. I am looking forward to it! God willing, I hope and pray that it will be fruitful in my life. Stay tuned.


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 .

[1] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen (A service of Loyola Press.)

Day #39 – Forgiven, Cancelled. Can I Do the Same?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 3, 2015

FORGIVE as quickly as you want God to forgive

Day #39 – Forgiven, Cancelled. Can I Do the Same?

Good Friday. As the blog post said today, what’s so good about it?

We remember the day that Jesus died on the cross. Died for our sins. He forgave those who put Him to death, saying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

Such a moving statement. And, just think about how difficult it was for Jesus to say that, on the cross. In such extreme circumstances. In agony, with limited breath and strength. Still, to say such a thing? The amount of forgiveness must be huge. Mind-blowingly astronomical.

I suggest to you that you—that I—that we all consider how wide and deep, and even endless Jesus’ forgiveness must be!

It is not easy to forgive! God knows, I have been wronged, I have had some awful things done to me. I’ve been wounded and in pain, and I bet you have, too! Others might mistreat us, even abuse us in a myriad of ways. Do you think it’s easy to put aside bitterness and resentment? Let me tell you. I know from experience. It is not easy.

As I wrote one day, a few weeks ago, I finally forgave someone who was really pulling my chain. I had a resentment stoked up inside for years. Yet, God helped me with that. God helped me come to some sort of peace within myself.

What about me? How much sin, how many sins has Jesus forgiven that I’ve committed? When Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, another way it could be translated is “paid in full.” As in a debt. Jesus has forgiven all of my sins. Yes, and all of yours, too. He has paid our debt of sin and transgression to God in full.

That is how generous Jesus was, on the cross. Can I be any less generous? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Seriously, I need to consider how generous Jesus was—and is—to me. And go, and do likewise. Please, God, help me to be as generous, as forgiving.


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 .

Pray for the One I Like Least . . .

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 6, 2015

immeasurable prayer power

Pray for the One I Like Least . . .

Today’s prayer suggestion caused some surprise, even anxiety. Just as yesterday, I stared at the open page for some seconds.

And, yes. I immediately thought of one person I don’t like very much. I hesitate to say I like this person least, because I can’t quantify my “liking” so exactly. However—I know that God wants me to write about this person. So, okay, God. I will. I’ll be obedient to Your leading.

The prayer guide suggests that I try to see something of God’s goodness, love, life, truth, and beauty in this person. This person is a child of God. Much beloved of God. God’s everlasting arms are reaching out to hold this one just as much as God’s arms are reaching out to hold the people I pray for each Sunday in the pastoral prayer at my church.

I don’t want to cause any discomfort or commotion, so I will be careful not to identify this one. But I know that God has gifted this person with skills and spiritual charisms, just as God has given them to every believer. God has called to this one and given specific skills and direction.

I do not wish any ill on this child of God. Quite the contrary! However—I still have periodic resentment in my heart toward this person. So, what to do about the resentment?

My go-to book for many of these problems happens to be the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. On page 552, in one of the stories in the second part of the book, there is a pertinent paragraph. The person writing the story is flipping through a magazine and sees the word resentment in an article written by a clergyman. Here is the paragraph:

“He said, in effect: ‘If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them. You will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.’ It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”

My gracious. God, really? Is it that simple? Of course, if I don’t really mean the prayer, this remedy through prayer won’t be very effective. I suppose this is what the author meant when writing “it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”

Dear Lord, help me to ditch the resentment I feel in my heart toward this dear one of Yours. Yes, Lord, help me to pray every day for two weeks for this person. I know what this paragraph from the Big Book says—I’ll eventually feel “compassionate understanding and love.” I’m not even pushing for love! Compassionate understanding would be very helpful. And, a relief. I’ll shoot for that, if You please, God. Thank You for Your leading, Lord. In Jesus’ name we all pray.

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.

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.