Tag Archives: shortcomings

Prayer While Hiding

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 30, 2018

storm, waves drawing

Prayer While Hiding

I was struck by Father Nouwen’s descriptive words in this reading tonight. “When God asked Adam, ‘Where are you?’ Adam answered, ‘I was hiding.’ He confessed his true condition.”

Wow. Double wow. That is so true of me, too. I hide so much. I hide from other people, from obligations, from opportunities, from myself. Oh, yeah…I often hide from God, too. Why do I do that? What is my motivation? (Other than the obvious.)

One big motivation happens to anyone who is leading an organization. A large building under construction needs to be using an advance team, according to the daily news blurb. But, what about this particular large building? Are the workers at this particular building staying current with all official procedure?

We could look at Adam in the recently-completed Garden of Eden and compare him to the staff in the building in Evanston. Both had official things they had to do. Both had complaints made against them. What kind of complaints? Complaints of not following through, problems of shirking the assigned tasks.

Did both sets of employees know what they were doing? (Or, NOT doing, in either case.) Yes. Both were aware of NOT doing what they were assigned to do. In Adam’s case, he got all flustered, and afraid. Adam hid himself.

The Lord knows very well what happened. The Lord knows where Adam hid, and goes straight there. The Lord was gracious and merciful to Adam, and will always be gracious and merciful to any of God’s children who struggle with keeping to the straight and narrow.

What does Father Nouwen say? “Certainly praying takes some admissions. It requires the humble recognition of our condition as broken human beings.” [1]  When we realize that God loves us anyway, even though we mess up, even though we are broken and are in need to repair, God loves us anyway.

“If we cling tightly to our own weaknesses, faults, shortcomings, and our twisted past, to all of the events, facts, and situations which we would prefer to cut out of our own history, we are only hiding behind a hedge through which everyone can see.” [2]

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, forgive me. Forgive my sin. Forgive me when I run away and hide, just like Adam. Thank You for loving me anyway. In Your name we pray, amen.

@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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 88.

[2] Ibid, 89.

In Prayer, In Parenthood

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 21, 2016

ABBA abba father papa

In Prayer, In Parenthood

I considered parenthood tonight. Partly because of something I read, and partly because of something I watched on television this evening.

Parenthood is such a multi-faceted thing. I know I’ve been a parent for several decades. (Truly.) I know my shortcomings all too well. I suspect I’ve been a good parent, by and large. My children and I have never had this sort of discussion before. Good parent? Bad parent? Indifferent parent? I don’t think I’ve ever asked.

However, I can pray that I will continue to be a good mom, and pray for my children. I pray for several friends, too. I ask for them to be kind, considerate, and warm. In fact, there is no time like the present.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your excellent work at being a Parent. A loving, engaged, caring Parent. I pray for all those who are reading this, who have had less than loving parents. God, help those of us with children still under our care to be patient, loving, and encouraging in the care of those children. Pour out an extra helping of mercy, wisdom and Godly judgment on each one who is a parent, or acting as one. Lord, help explain each mistake. Lord, provide for our shortcomings, and bring others into our lives who will make up for whatever we need assistance with. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear us. 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

It’s Not Your Fault. Prayerfully.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 20, 2015

shame and guilt

shame and guilt

It’s Not Your Fault. Prayerfully.

I love today’s reading by Rev. Howell. I needed that today. (Gee, I need this particular reading on a regular basis!)

Yesterday’s reading focused on confession. Yes, confession about the things I have committed in thought, word and deed, and those sins of omission, too. I am often filled with guilt about these shortcomings, guilt about missing the mark that God has set for me. However, that is a whole different kettle of fish than feeling shame. As Rev. Howell points out with great insight, shame is not about the bad things I have done or bad words I have said, but instead, bad things and words that have been done to me. [1]

Thank God I do not have such severe psychological, emotional, physical and justice issues, but what I have been through for many years is definitely hurtful. And quite shaming.

So many people feel shame. Yes, guilt can be there as well, but shame can creep in like an insidious, destructive crawling weed. Shame can be devastating and even traumatizing. And when shame happens to or affects children and young people, it is almost too much to bear.

Rev. Howell mentions a stunning illustration taken from an Oscar-winning film, Good Will Hunting. The scene involves the therapist Sean Mc Guire (played by Robin Williams) and Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon). After many weeks of therapy, Mc Guire “learns that the young man’s aberrant behaviors stem from pretty severe childhood abuse. He embraces the tough Will and keeps repeating, ‘It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault,’ and finally Will breaks down and cries.” [2]

What kinds of things or events or words are shaming me, today? Or, from yesterday, or even years ago, decades ago? What is deep inside of you, shaming you? I don’t need to bear the burden any more. I am free to be me, freed from any bondage or hindrance. I can take that bushel basket off my head, stand up straight and not be ashamed any more. Ever.

Yes, I yearn for a kind, compassionate, interested person to truly and deeply listen to me, to finally tell me that it’s okay. “It’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.”

I have that person in Jesus. And, the best part is that you do, too. Just ask. Jesus will come alongside of you, wrap His arms around you. Praise God. Alleluia, amen.

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.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 67.

[2] Ibid, 68.

Pray to God as I Understand God?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 5, 2015

girl praying

Pray to God as I Understand God?

I practiced prayer today, using my trusty prayer guide. I really did. Except—I don’t feel like it. Or rather, I didn’t feel it. Not very much, anyway.

Rev. Howell had an excellent focus for his chapter today. It goes along with us, with all the shortcomings and foibles that human beings have today. As believers in God nowadays, some people have difficulty in prayer. In fact, some are so disheartened or distracted that they are ready to throw in the towel and leave the mysterious skill of praying to the professional clergy, even in emergency situations.

Howell has a wonderful help (if not an outright solution) for those having difficulties finding someplace to start. He suggests that we choose some place in our homes (or, at work, if home is MUCH too busy, and if your work will welcome pray-ers).

As I mentioned in a message on social media earlier today, each person is an individual, separate and unique. Each person has the capacity and ability to come to God, but there are a myriad of different ways to come to this Higher Power, to this God as each of us understands God.

Howell reminds his readers that prayer is like a really big AA meeting. People are introducing themselves: “My name is Elizabeth, and I am a sinner.” Or, “My name is Elizabeth, and I have this horribly dark hole in the place where my heart ought to be.” Or, “My name is Elizabeth, and I am addicted to the futility of my life.” [1]

And as I introduce myself to God (who really needs no introduction, since God knows me so much better than I know myself), there is no better place to be. In the loving presence of God, in prayer.

@chaplaineliza

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

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 26.