Tag Archives: sinfulness

Prayer: Restoring Relationship

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 4, 2018

relationship, definition

Prayer: Restoring Relationship

People get all kinds of ideas about prayer. What prayer is, and what prayer is not. Good ideas, not-so-good ideas, off-the-wall ideas, and on-target ideas. Father Nouwen had some excellent ideas about prayer himself.

In this evening’s reading, I was amazed to read that “To pray means to stop expecting from God the same small-mindedness which you discover in yourself.” [1] Oh, my. How true that is! I am somewhat ashamed of having to admit that. (Well, all right. Downright ashamed, actually.)

How could Father Nouwen know me so well? Sometimes, his words hit home in a new way, or in a way that seems sadly familiar.

But, wasn’t he just speaking to the human condition? Don’t I simply have that same human tendency? And sometimes, more fallible and more fallen than others? Even though I try and try to pray, walking in the full light of God, I definitely am fallible. Isn’t sin simply separation from God? Mea culpa, dear Lord.

Nevertheless, Father Nouwen does not leave us in that desperate, sinful state. Sure, we are sinful. Yes, I admit that. Yet, he lets us know that God is faithful. God will be there, for us and with us. God with show up, even when we do not deserve it.

What is it that God wants most of all? The Lord wants a restored relationship. Not just a surface subterfuge, “hi, how are ya?” said wearing a nicely-nicely mask on my fallen face. But, that is me, and my side of the argument. Or, prayer.

What about God? What does God want out of this special time of prayer? (Yes, God wants every time to be a special time, every conversation to be intimate.) The Lord dearly wants a restored relationship. I do not know why, since I am a sinner, and therefore are unable to get over my sinful self. Except—that does not matter to God.

Our Lord wants a restored relationship, even though a deep-down propensity of sin causes people to fail. Fail God, and fail themselves. What a wonderful thing to discover that God wants a restored relationship, too? God’s arms are open wide. We are all welcome in God’s arms. From the Lord’s viewpoint, we are all God’s best friends. Praise God.



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), 90.

Pray As I Consider Sin—and Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Psa 51-2 wash me, cleanse me

Pray As I Consider Sin—and Peace

Ash Wednesday. I prepared ashes for the congregation. I taught bible study this morning—on peace. And, I finished the sermon (shorter meditation, really) for this evening. Sermon on Psalm 51. On iniquity, transgression, and sin. On God’s forgiveness and mercy.

As I mentioned in my meditation, understanding our sin (and sinfulness) prepares us to receive the forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ. And, yes. Each person in the service this evening who wished received the cross of ashes on their forehead.

I have also been thinking about the Pursuing PEACE Project. My personal journey around the Chicago area, asking people about their individual definition of peace. I am honing the information I will present. I want to be open to the individual stories, listening with an open heart.

Listen. Share. Pursue PEACE. (I will begin posting photos tomorrow. Stay tuned!)

However, the concepts of peace, forgiveness and mercy are becoming combined in my mind. If you like, what young people might call a mash-up. Sprinkle with honesty and openness. Season with genuineness and willingness to understand. That is what I am going to try to do in this Lenten season.

Yes, I still have the cross of ashes on my forehead. Yes, I thank God that I have peace with God through Jesus Christ. And, yes, I very much wish to see what other people have in their minds and hearts concerning peace.

I will close this penitential blog post with a prayer from my blogging friend, Rev. Bosco Peters (http://liturgy.co.nz). Through the cross of Christ, God have mercy on you, pardon you and set you free. Know that you are forgiven and be at PEACE. God strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in life eternal. 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

Pray for the Shining of Thy Face

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 4, 2015

winter-landscape-forest with sun wallpaper-

Pray for the Shining of Thy Face

How refreshing and alive are the words of many expressions of Gaelic Christianity! (Translated into English, of course.) Today’s prayer is about Affirmation. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer again deals with “Who art in heaven (Prayer 152, page 58) [1] This is a Gaelic prayer translated by Alistair MacLean.

A quote from this short prayer: “… the dark happenings of my lot hide the shining of my face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough.” Yes, the prayer is deep and meaningful. I feel it deeply, especially recently.

I have had some run-ins with sin lately. (And, who hasn’t?) However, I was especially feeling my sinfulness during the past few days. Because the happenings of my lot—my life—are sometimes dark and sin-filled, I can’t always tell that I stray from God’s path for me. But, I do. Dear Lord, how I wish I could walk with You more nearly! Love You more dearly!

Yes, it’s all about my yearning to walk with my God.

(I’m taking just a moment to talk a little about my view of God. Between ten and twelve years ago, I discovered I had new difficulty with calling God “my Heavenly Father.” I struggled with my feelings for some time. I even didn’t want to pray the Lord’s Prayer, for months on end. However, I have pretty much come to terms with that difficulty by now.)

Dear God, my Heavenly Father, thank You for coming alongside of me. Thank You for being present with me, even through the darkness. I know it doesn’t matter to You if we are in darkness (since both night and day are the same to You), but often, it matters to me very much. I get scared and uncertain. Thank You for holding my hand. And, yes. It is enough.


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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 58.