Tag Archives: sad

Prayer While Losing Heart

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, September 26, 2018

rain on windowpanes

Prayer While Losing Heart

When I read this reading, the bottom dropped out of my stomach. Oh, such a sad thing, to be so self-sufficient, and yet so alone. Father Nouwen must have known someone who was like this. (Or, perhaps even he was like this, now and again.)

When someone grits their teeth and tries really hard to go it on their own, I look at that person and am divided in my thoughts. Yes, I acknowledge their persistence and perseverance. Going it all alone can show signs of strength and stick-to-it-ive-ness. I honor that. Truly.

However…when someone presumes that they absolutely must do it on their own, or else they lose some of their person-hood…”with this mindset you will become weary and exhausted from your efforts to prove that you can do it alone and every failure will become cause for shame.” [1]

My sneaking suspicion is that Father Nouwen might be writing this about himself. Either that, or about someone he knows very well. Oh, I do hope that who ever he was writing this about found some sort of assistance and help from even one person. What Nouwen writes about sounds so lonely, and weary-making. Someone’s sense of honor is not so easily impugned. Asking for help every once in a while is not a threat.

This so sadly reminds me of the Paul Simon song “I Am a Rock.”

“I am a rock, /I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain; /And an island never cries.” [2]

I hope and pray that the one Father Nouwen wrote about found someone to share their burdens with, and someone to pray with. What is more, God will surely send fellowship into the lives of God’s people. All we need do is ask.



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), 87.

[2] “I Am a Rock,” Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel album Sounds of Silence (Columbia, January 17, 1966)

A Last Word about Meditation, and Psalm 62

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 17, 2017

candles, votive prayer

A Last Word about Meditation, and Psalm 62

In this final word on the psalm, Dietrich Bonhoeffer did his usually excellent job. Not only did he talk about Psalm 62, but he also mentioned those who might not be enjoying close relations with God. “And then we wait and wait for years, perhaps to the end of our lives, until we once again are in the mood for religion.” [1]

How sad, and lonely for the unnamed person. As Bonhoeffer said in such a way, “We must learn the language of God, carefully learn it, work hard at it, so that we will be able to speak to Him.” [2]

Yes, it is indeed sad and lonely that a host of people are foundering in their times of prayer and meditation. And, some even do not make the attempt at communicating with God. “Why should I? I’ve tried a few times, and nothing at all happened.” Or “I am not religiously inclined.” So sad.

I have prayed to God, indeed. God and I are more of close friends than not. However, my attention can easily falter. My prayer and silence before God? “Certainly, it will be harder for one person than for another, but we may be sure that no one can advance without work. It takes daily fortitude to expose ourselves to God’s Word and to allow ourselves to be judged by it..” [3]

Wow! That sounds like prayer and meditation takes commitment, time and diligence. I must confess I do not have that commitment all the time. Forgive me, dear Lord.

Bonhoeffer closes with that wonderful quote from St. Augustine: “Lord God, you have made all things for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We have a Friend whose ears are always open, always with arms ready to embrace all who come close.

Thank You, God, for Your love and caring. 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 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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 54.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Gentle Prayers, Remembering Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 31, 2016


Gentle Prayers, Remembering Prayers

When I was small—four, I think—my grandmother moved in with us. I remember feeling badly that my sweet grandmother could not live on her own any longer. My mom and her siblings agreed that Grammy ought to come to live with us. Except—I did not really know how to pray. Yet.

I was the youngest of a large family. I remember Grammy trying vaguely to teach me to pray. Gentle prayers were a possibility, but Grammy was not in the kind of mental frame to teach anyone how to pray. Looking back on the next few years of my childhood with an adult’s point of view, I think they are hardly positive, considering the sad downhill journey of my grandmother.

Gentle prayers helped me, eventually. And, I know writing helped, too. After my Grammy died of complications from stroke, I remembered her with great fondness. I wished so much that we could have a relationship. Not a full one. Gentle prayers, remembering prayers kept those things about her in my mind

Here is a poem by Ray Bradbury. More of the same sadness.

O dear sweet dead, come home and welcome here.
Lost in the dark but always dear.
Do not wander,
Do not roam.
Dear ones,
Come home, Come home.

~Ray Bradbury

Remembering my loved ones. May they experience God’s comfort, encouragement and love. May those who have passed into God’s presence rest from their labors.


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

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 25, 2016


suffering word cloud

Pray, Out of the Miry Clay

I get sad sometimes. Anxious. Depending on what has happened in my life, and how my emotional barometer is reading, I can get depressed. On occasion, to the point of despair. What am I to do? How on earth can I get out of this?

Psalm 40 gives me some positive steps, and words to match. Not only am I advised to wait for the Lord, but I know God will hear me. God will come to my aid. (Sooner or later. And, I know. Sometimes it really seems like “later!”)

Negative emotions can be the pits. (And, sometimes I can feel like I am in the depths of a horrible pit, too.) If I am not careful, negative and depressing feelings can run away with me, just like wild horses can gallop away, too. Horrible. I don’t even want to think about such things. Good thing I know where I can turn—I know God can help.

Let’s turn to God, now. Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for me, and for my loved ones. Dear God, I pray against anxiety, anger, despair, depression, and hopelessness, in any of our lives. In all of our lives. Restore to me the joy of my salvation. Restore to my loved ones the ideas and thoughts of positivity. Give us the ability to take the sad or angry or fearful situations we are—sadly—so familiar with, and turn to You. Trust in You. Please, dear Lord, hear our prayers.


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

Day #17 – Buy One, Get One Free? Except When I Forget . . .

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 9, 2015

flowers in sidewalk cracks

Day #17 – Buy One, Get One Free? Except When I Forget . . .

I read today’s post with the suggestion for the day before I left the house this morning. I really did. And then, I promptly forgot it.

I did have some other things on my mind today, though. I needed to bring the car in to the car dealer for some maintenance. (With the help of the dealer, I actually caught one of the local car repair places in some shady business dealings—but I’m not posting about that right now.)

Hindsight is so often 20/20. Looking back over the day, I ordered and went through a coffee shop’s drive-through window. I could have paid for the person behind me! Simple enough. But, no. I completely forgot about today’s generous suggestion . . .

One wonderful thing about today? It was the first beautiful day of the year! Sunny, almost fifty degrees, soft breeze. The outside air felt almost like spring. I was so happy to be out and about, driving to the office from the car dealership.

As I stopped to pay for my coffee, I spoke with the employee. Young man, tall, curly haired. Pleasant looking, friendly to talk to. I struck up a conversation. He acknowledged that the weather outside was, indeed, beautiful! But, he seemed down in the dumps after he said that. I asked him what was the matter. (Just as I’d ask a sad parishioner what was the matter.) He hesitated, and then I think he saw I was truly interested in his response.

“Oh, work. I just work all day, and then go home. Go to bed, and get up in the morning. And then it starts all over again.” His face fell. He really seemed sad, almost resigned to his fate.

I looked at him and smiled gently in response. “I’m sorry you feel that way. Do you feel like that a lot?”

“Yeah, pretty much. Except I do get to talk to people in this job. A lot of people. That’s okay.”

“That sounds great! You have the opportunity to give them smiles. Say ‘good morning,’ or ‘good afternoon.’ Being cheerful and friendly could really help someone who is down or sad. Listening to someone can help, too.”

He looked closely at me. I could almost see the wheels turn in his mind. He thought about what I said as he gave me my coffee.

“Have a great day. Really and truly.” I waved as I got ready to drive away into the lovely afternoon. The young man’s face brightened. He smiled at me and waved back.

God, be with this young man. I honestly tried to encourage him. I hope it helped. Please, help him find a good opportunity, a good fit. Thanks, Lord!


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(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 .

What Can I Give?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Only two more weeks until the Big Day. Christmas, I mean. Gift-giving, galore. Do I have presents for everyone on my list? My husband? Children? In-laws? And what about those others, the people I ought to give gifts to? Am I feeling little, niggling qualms of guilt because I am not able to give much this year, as I have in years past?

Gift-giving can be such a trap. When people use one-up-man-ship to gain a sort of superiority to others (“I gave a gift that cost twice as much as the gift I received!”), that’s when this whole business of gift-giving needs to be seriously overhauled.

Why do we give gifts, anyhow?

The custom of gift-giving reaches centuries back, before Christianity, to pagan festivals. For instance, Saturnalia—a Roman winter solstice festival—included giving and receiving of small gifts, tokens, or sweets. St. Nicholas (a bishop in 4th century Turkey) gave small gifts to children in December. This custom lessened as the Puritans frowned on excessive celebration, but came back with the popularization of Charles Dickens and his “Christmas Carol,” the increased Victorian celebration of Christmas, and the publishing of Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” All of these caused gift-giving to become firmly established once more.

So, I can give and receive gifts with joy in my heart—not with avarice or envy or bitterness. Another reason that we choose to give gifts? Because—we received the best gift of all, born in the town of Bethlehem—our Savior, Christ the Lord.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for the best gift of all. You wanted to reconcile us to Yourself, and You chose this way to do it. This Holy Child was be recognized as Emmanuel, God with us. Forgive me for not recognizing this Holy One. Forgive me for living a life that does not honor and adore Him as Christ the Lord. Thank You for loving me, forgiving me, and reconciling me to Yourself. Thank You for giving me the best Christmas gift of all. Amen.