Tag Archives: retaliation

Detached? Prayerful, Instead.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 27, 2018

immeasurable prayer power

Detached? Prayerful, Instead.

Oh, Father Nouwen, your words burrow deep within my heart. Or, deep within the flimsy defenses I’ve erected, rather. (Whichever it is, these words do burrow deep. Perhaps both deep in my heart AND deep within my flimsy defenses…)

So many of the unpleasant, downright irritating and repulsive character traits Father Nouwen mentions in this short section are true about me. At least, every once in a while, and sometimes much more often than that. These repulsive character traits do get in the way when I wish to pray. (And, especially when I do not wish to pray. Then, perhaps, they get the most in the way.)

Most striking to me today is the fact that I “can become attached to [my] own hate. As long as [I] look for retaliation, [I am] riveted to [my] own past.” [1]  Oh, how foul. How horrifying. Imagine, being stuck in an infernal hamster wheel of hate for my whole life long.

I have rarely been burdened with long-term hatred and the desire for retaliation, thank God! However, sometimes… Twisted daydreams of revenge and retaliation do flit across my mind, on occasion. Again, thank God they do not stick around. I would shrink back in terror and horror if my mind did happen to continually return to twisted thoughts like that.

“Don’t be afraid of him who wants to enter that space where you live, or to let him see what you are clinging to so anxiously…. Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, disappointment to him who reveals himself as love.” [2] Oh, dear God, let it be true! Even though I am filled with twisted, repulsive, bitter character traits and negative emotions, I know You continue to reveal Yourself as love. Reveal Yourself that way to me, today. Now.

With a hopeful heart—surprising, after considering this sad, depressing topic—I pray all of these things in the precious name of Jesus, amen.



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[1] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 6.

[2] Ibid.

PEACE is Compassion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 16, 2016


PEACE is Compassion

Today’s definition touched my heart.

I read some news online today. I read about a man who robbed a store several miles from my house. I read about a suicide pact carried out by two young people. I read about a hospital blown to bits by a bomb. I read about a family torn apart by a bitter divorce.

I wonder whether compassion might have made a difference in any of these situations.

This word is the definition given to me today by Lill Hutchins: PEACE is compassion.

Lill is the president of the congregation at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. She is a thoughtful, caring person. And, she took her time and thought about her personal definition for PEACE for quite a while. Really considered it.

She said to me, “If everyone in the whole world had compassion, there would be peace. People can’t shoot guns with compassion.”

Oh, yes. If individuals had compassion—if they truly felt with the people around them (which is where the word compassion comes from, from Latin com– or with, and pati, to bear or suffer), the world would be a very different place.

It matters less about differences between people when they concentrate on the challenges and difficulties each one must bear. Com-passion. Bear with. It’s hard to be mad at someone you are helping or praying for. If I know that my mean neighbor has a sick child, it’s difficult to be nasty to them. When I realize that nasty village employee has an elderly relative who is terminally ill, it’s hard to think mean thoughts in retaliation. Com-passion. Suffer with.

Something to consider. So, help me, God!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for today’s definition. Help me to bear with those around me. Urge me to consider those around me with compassion. Help us all to keep quiet and listen to others, hear their stories. And have compassion. Thank You, Lord.


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