Tag Archives: Scripture

More About Morning Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 26, 2017

sitting in park

More About Morning Meditation

A puzzlement: am I just convicted and disgruntled by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s injunction to pray and meditate first thing in the morning? Or, am I truly a night owl, able to find other times to meditate and pray during the day and even the night? Possibly, both.

Pastor Bonhoeffer might well have been a morning person. My mother was, too. She would wake up early every morning and think, make her lists, have coffee, and get ready for the day. (She was definitely not a Christian, but that is the matter for another post.) From what I understand, Martin Luther was a morning person, too. He was also a man of great prayer and meditation. And, yes. He would pray and meditate over Scripture in the morning, too.

How my heart yearns to get on board with Bonhoeffer when he says: “The morning must yield an hour of quiet time for prayer and common devotion. That is certainly not wasted time. How else could we prepare ourselves to face the tasks, cares, and temptations of the day?” [1]

Sure, I might be able to drag myself out of bed on occasion, and get involved with prayer and meditation first thing in the morning every once in a while, but I know my body. Faithless flesh and blood, it would scream out for more sleep. It would hit the snooze button on the alarm.

The principles of Scriptural prayer and meditation that Bonhoeffer sets out make such sense, though, especially given my job—my calling—as a minister? “How should we go about during the day as ministers of the Word, preaching and instructing, helping to carry the burdens of others, if we have not experienced God’s help for the day ourselves?” [2]

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me figure out this prayer piece in my life. Not only for my personal life with You, but also for my professional life. Yes, I know I have been coming to You for years now with variations on this same prayer. I still need Your help. I suspect other people need Your help in the same way, too. Dear God, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 30.

[2] Ibid, 31.

How Shall We Meditate?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bible with flowers, drawing

How Shall We Meditate?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had excellent advice on prayer and meditation. His suggestions to the seminarians at Finkenwalde were so pertinent.

His depth of experience in meditation and prayer provided such substance, especially the way in which Bonhoeffer taught how to meditate and pray using Scripture. “There is free meditation and meditation that is bound to Scripture. We advise the latter for the sake of the certainty of our prayers and the discipline of our thoughts.” [1]

Bonhoeffer’s suggestion to have all the seminarians meditate on the same passage of Scripture really intrigued me. Not only were the same few verses of the Bible meant to speak to each individual’s heart and mind and spirit, but moreover, the seminarians would then have the opportunity to share with each other. They might be able to discuss the passage even further, and really chew on, or meditate over the Word of God.

He gives instruction on prayer, too, as the seminarians compose themselves for the morning time of meditation. “If during meditation our thoughts move to persons who are near to us or to those we are concerned about, then let them linger there. That is a good time to pray for them.” [2] Bonhoeffer was quite serious both about prayer for others and continued prayer for the salvation of our own souls.

His call for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon all who meditate that day is an excellent reminder for all of us. The Holy Spirit enlightens us on a regular basis, giving us deeper insight into the text.

These few insights merely scratch the surface of prayer and meditation instruction, as far as Dietrich Bonhoeffer is concerned. (My sneaking feelings of inferiority are rising within, again. Note to self: this has got to be the result of my re-reading this superb book…)

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 24.

[2] Ibid, 25.

Meet Christ in the Word

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bible, drawing

Meet Christ in the Word

How to meditate, and why? Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote several recommendations for the Finkenwalde seminarians on how to meditate.

As I have said before, Bonhoeffer was adept at meditation and prayer. What an instructor to have for spiritual direction. He suggests that people ought to rise up from meditation “in a different state from when we sat down. We want to meet Christ in His Word.” [1]

Bonhoeffer had such a high view of scripture. Scripture was where he came to receive what God would like to give to him. Through reading the Bible on a regular basis, each day he gathered information and understanding from God’s Word.

He suggested meeting the Lord each day in the morning. Truthfully, this is difficult for me. I am not a “morning person.” Perhaps, someone of Bonhoeffer’s insight was excited to meet God as early as possible. One of his recommendations is to “lay upon Him everything that preoccupies you and weighs you down, before new burdens are laid upon you.” [2]

This is similar to one of the recommendations of the Twelve Steps, to reflect upon one’s day at day’s end and to set up a virtual ledger, weighing good deeds and bad, and then leaving things with God. (Or, the Higher Power.) As someone with a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, I have spoken with alcoholics, addicts and their loved ones about the wisdom of making mental accounts. Every day we do at least one thing “right” or pleasing in God’s eyes. That is to be celebrated.

“His fellowship, his help, his guidance for the day through his Word—that is the goal.” [3] What an insight into how to meditate! God willing, I might be able to do the same thing.

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 24.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 9, 2017

fasting - empty plate

 

Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Originally an Anglican priest, Cardinal Newman found comfort in many spiritual disciplines—including fasting. As Richard Foster writes in his definition, Newman is intimately engaged with scripture. It shows, too.

I was struck by the following excerpt from his writing: “Even now, Angels are especially sent to those who thus seek God. Not Daniel only, but Elijah too, was, during his fast, strengthened by an Angel; an Angel appeared to Cornelius, while he was fasting, and in prayer.” [1] I can’t fast like I used to, years ago. (Sorry about that, Lord.) But—was God watching over me when I fasted? What a point to ponder.

Jesus seems to imply that prayer is somehow augmented by fasting, too. When someone prays AND fasts, is there an additional layer of strength and blessing granted to the one who does both of these things? Fasts and prays? It certainly seems so. I am intrigued to think of the Devil getting scared of people who fast! Amazing thought.

Gracious God, thank You for giving us the discipline of fasting, as well as the scriptures that talk about fasting. What an idea, that someone can fast from different things, not only from food. Show me how to fast like this, Lord. Grant us faithfulness and grace in order to fast.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 63.

Worthy is the Lamb!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 31, 2015

Paschal Lamb-cross stained-glass from Duomo Cathedral-Florence

Paschal Lamb-cross stained-glass from Duomo Cathedral-Florence

Worthy is the Lamb!

Here we are, at the end of the month. Already! I have enjoyed praying through July with the wonderful book Praying the New Testament as Psalms. I realize the New Testament was written in a different kind of manner. However, I have so appreciated these sections written like the books of poetry from the Hebrew Scriptures. Certainly a change in perspective, that’s for sure.

I also appreciated the two authors, Fr. Desmond O’Donnell and Sr. Maureen Mohen. Turning Scripture I know so well into modern psalms? Marvelous idea! Thank you both for your thoughtful adaptations of various verses of the New Testament.

I wanted to end the way I began, with Blessing. A Benediction, of sorts. Even though I will continue tomorrow, it will be a different month. But, as far as Blessing is concerned, you can’t beat the awesome benediction found at the beginning of the book of Ephesians, 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,/who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” [1]

My response is truly to praise God, to bless God’s name, and even sometimes to fall on my face before God . The Lord my God.

The second psalm adaptation comes from the book of Revelation. This is another benediction! Another one, in the midst of all hell breaking loose on earth. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and wealth, wisdom and might and honor. Glory and blessing forever.” [2]

Yes. Yes, a thousand times. Dear Lord Jesus, worthy are You. Thank You, dear Lord, for these modern psalms that give me a fresh, different way of looking at Your Word. And, Glory and blessing be forever more. Amen, and amen!

@chaplaineliza

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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 16.

[2] Ibid, 17.

What Has Shaped Me? In Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 14, 2015

keep me inn the spirit of prayer

What Has Shaped Me? In Prayer?

I have found that the way of Ignatian prayer and meditation seems deceptively simple, yet somehow not. And, definitely not easy.

The first exercises found in Inner Compass involve prayer and meditation. Yes, prayer with imagery, using Scripture. Yet, prayer and meditation pointed toward some deep questions. Questions that can break me wide open and leave me painfully raw. (It’s no wonder that a good, competent guide or spiritual director is strongly recommended, when embarking on this sort of a spiritual journey!)

Today, the question strongly attracting me is: how am I personally relating to God, right now? A follow-up question, how do I feel about that relationship?

Margaret Silf recommends that I read one of the suggested Scripture passages until it is familiar to me. Then, ask God to open my heart to discern its meaning(s) for me, personally. And, then, look at how the passage touches my life’s journey. That is Silf’s method of using Scripture in prayer.[1]

Psalm 139 is the passage that jumped out at me, from the references she suggested. And, goodness knows I am familiar enough with the passage. Yes, I am infinitely valuable to God. When I was being formed in secret, as well as right now. Yes, God knows me so much better than anyone else in the whole world. Such knowledge is too deep for me. It blows my mind.

There are several more things I gleaned from this passage, and I didn’t even spend a great deal of time on it! Dear Lord, thank You for these words of King David. Help me to learn from these verses. Reveal those things You wish for me to understand. Thank You, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 22.

What If Prayer Doesn’t Happen?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HEAL I have heard your prayer and I will heal

What If Prayer Doesn’t Happen?

I opened the book Inner Compass a little while ago, and I read a little bit. But—I am not feeling the best. What do I do when that happens?

It’s true, I sometimes feel under the weather. Or, not one hundred percent. But I almost always am able to pray, and write, and think about the topic of the day or the chapter of the book I am currently reading. Except, today. (I suspect I have a sinus headache, which is terribly distracting to me.)

I read in the book today that I need to express my feelings to God in prayer, and not to hold back. As if I could possibly hide anything from God, anyhow. That’s what Ignatian spirituality and prayer is advising me to do today, apparently.

So, here goes. God, I am feeling sick, and weak, and a little lightheaded. My head is hurting—and it feels like elephants are tromping on my eyes. I haven’t had a sinus headache for some time, but it’s here right now. Oh, joy.

Lord, I can’t even begin to consider reading a Scriptural passage today. I know You are supposed to open my heart to Scripture. I do thank You for doing that. Except—not today. I feel badly. Here, I am supposed to pray, and I don’t. I can’t. I mean, I am not really able to.

Please, Lord, help my headache go away. Please.

@chaplaineliza

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 .