Tag Archives: straight-forward

More on Compassion and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 28, 2018

compassion - in His steps

More on Compassion and Prayer

Father Nouwen had such insights. I’ve read a number of his book, and I am amazed at each one. Such simplicity, and such clarity of expression. The words with which he discusses the close relationship of compassion and prayer—so straight-forward. Even simple. (But NOT easy to do. Very rarely that.)

“Risks are involved. For compassion means to build a bridge to others without know whether they want to be reached.” [1] Bridge-building is definitely a trusting exercise of good faith. However, without the building of bridges, individuals would still be separated by walls and moats of their own making.

I fear that bitter feelings are often the dividers between individuals and groups. “Your brother or sister might be so embittered that he or she doesn’t expect anything from you. Then your compassion stirs up enmity, and it is difficult not to become sour yourself and say, “You see what I told you, it doesn’t work anyhow.” [2]

As I consider Father Nouwen, I cannot help but see him as someone with clarity of speech and insight. Someone who wrote many books, and touched many lives. How can someone like that not be a builder of bridges?

When we pray, we can try to build bridges. Each of us can strive to show compassion, to trust in God and in God’s love and caring. Is this easy? No, so in the least. Is this necessary? Only if we would like to be caring, compassionate individuals.

Dear Lord, help me show Your caring and love, in compassion and by building bridges. God, it doesn’t matter whether I build verbal bridges, bridges of relationship, or actual, concrete bridges to cross from one side to the other. Gracious God, bless each of us today, and encourage us to reach out in compassion. Amen.




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), 96.

[2] Ibid.

Open the Gifts of Life

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Open the Gifts of Life

Today’s reading from Keep It Simple opened my eyes. (Again.) This reading reminded me of such an obvious solution to the nagging difficulties navigating through my daily routine. “Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbons.” – Ruth Ann Schabacker [1]

What a simple, straight-forward thing to do: open the gifts each day brings to me. It’s not rocket science. Look for the gifts, because they are there, for sure! Living one day at a time can be challenging, sometimes. Rewarding, occasionally. Just plain hard, once in a while. But regardless of what each of us is dealing with every day, one day at a time is simple.

Not necessarily easy, but simple.

If I close myself off to God and to others, that is one definite way to not receive gifts. If I isolate, or put up walls, or go in my bedroom and pout, who does that hurt? No one but me. If I seek out others (even as few as one or two others), or let down those internal barriers and boundaries, or be open and willing to be friends with others, who does that help? Lots of people! Me, definitely. And, I have the opportunity to help others, to encourage and support them.

I understand that recovery is an inside job. If I orient my insides toward God as I understand God, or as some people think of it, my Higher Power, that is a tremendous beginning. Orient myself towards looking for the Higher Power’s gifts, each day. One way I develop my spiritual program is through prayer and meditation. Just what Step Eleven calls for.

Dear Lord, gracious God, remind me to stop and listen to You. Remind me that You love me very much.


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] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 4 reading.

Depending on God – in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 1, 2015

vessel - clay pot

Depending on God – in Prayer

October the first. A new month, a clean calendar page—and another method of praying in this Year of Everyday Prayers. That’s me praying every day, just to be crystal clear.

And now, for something completely different. I am turning to The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. I’ve chosen to pray this month with the section entitled “Prayers of Christians: Personal and Occasional.” These are prayers covering almost 2000 years, prayers from all over the world.

These prayers are also arranged in the framework of the Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9b-13. Focused on “Our Father,” today’s prayer is about dependence. (Prayer 137, page 53) [1]

Martin Luther wrote this prayer of dependence. I was so struck with the opening: “Behold, Lord. An empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it.” Good God!—such honesty. Such a straight-forward way of asking You to fill him with whatever You had for him, today. (Or, on the day that he prayed this prayer.)

Lord, do I have that same honesty? Honest enough to be up front with You? You know me so much better than I can possibly know myself. But can I be honest enough to bring you myself? As flawed and broken as I am, and ask You to fill me? But, that’s not all. Martin calls himself “an empty vessel.” I think he had the idea that he wanted to be used by You. (And not in a bad, manipulative way, either.) Rather, used like a trusty tool, or a favorite baking dish. Something useful, greatly appreciated, and even well loved.

Dear Lord, with Martin I ask You to fill me, an empty vessel.. Fill me with the love You radiate to others. Fill me with the kindness You display. Fill me with the caring You show in abundance. Fill me with the willingness to serve. Dear Lord, gracious God, fill me with all that You wish to give me. And, lastly, with Martin I pray that You strengthen my faith and trust in You. 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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 53.

Water, Water Everywhere

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 27, 2015

Jesus-is-the-water-of-life-in-a-water-background - John 4-14

Water, Water Everywhere

The image of water runs repeatedly throughout the Bible. Appropriately, our authors wrote the modern psalm in the next chapter about water. Images of water representing God, God’s spirit, and God’s nurture and strength.

This chapter of Praying the New Testament as Psalms seems so striking to me. Imagine, taking a straight-forward description of water and turning it into poetic interpretations! Both are adaptations of verses from the Gospel of John.

First, John 4:14—“The water You give will become a spring gushing up to eternal life.” [1] The water—the eternal life that Jesus provides for me—is more than just a pool of water. Instead, it’s a deep and active spring, with the possibility of eternal bubbling or gushing up. Just think! Jesus can provide for my deepest thirst, not only physical and natural. Emotional, spiritual, in every way.

Second, John 6:35. “Help me to believe in Jesus more deeply./Whoever believes will never be thirsty.” [2] This continues with the same theme: refreshing! Abundant filling! Especially in such a dry, thirst land as Palestine, few things are as attractive and compelling as the image of water and thirst-quenching.

Can I relate to such images? (Can you?) After reading these two adaptations, I have the suspicion that I am welcome to come to Jesus at any time.

Thanks for the offer, God! Thanks for the offer to come to You anytime, anywhere.


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.), 198.

[2] Ibid.

Day #1 – Journaling? Prayerfully!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 18, 2015

PRAY believe hope

Day #1 – Journaling? Prayerfully!

I decided to do Lent generously! Yes, I signed up with #40acts (www.40acts.org.uk), and today being Ash Wednesday, it was also the first day of the 40acts.

No heavy lifting today! However, I did exercise my brain. My assignment—which I imbued with prayer—was to start journaling. That was easy, for me! Next step, I am to keep a list of all the people I would like to bless this Lent. I am to use it to document all the things I learn over the next 40 days. From doing the 40 acts.

So, a list, they say? First off, the ones who come to mind are those in my family. My husband, children, siblings, cousins. Second, the people at my work. Not only those in the congregation at my church, but also the others who work there—the preschool teachers and the children. Third, my friends and acquaintances: I have a fair number of those. And fourth, people I hardly know at all—like fellow members at the YMCA who I may have seen three or four times before. And outright stranger-strangers, who I have never, ever met before.

Next—I am to write about the generous acts I do, every day. That sounds straight-forward. Planning out the people I am open to doing generous acts for.

God, I almost forgot about You!! Help me as I do this kind and generous thing, each day. Lead me to the people You would have me help, in earnest. I earnestly pray in Jesus’ generous,  loving name, 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.