Tag Archives: thank You God

Does Prayer Matter?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 10, 2018

man kneeling in prayer

Does Prayer Matter?

Oh, Lord. This is such a pertinent question. Just what I was talking about with an older friend of mine today. (Yes, another minister, not that that makes it a negative thing.) Yet—this question of “Does Prayer Matter?” only served as a corollary to the overarching question we discussed, which is “Why Suffering?”

Neither of us—me or my friend—came up with anything deeply profound. We simply brought up two options that have been discussed for decades (referring to the wars and conflicts of the 20th century). Such catastrophic events, on the large scale. Such horrific experiences, ahappening to so many individuals. On all sides, of all conflicts.

“If we say that it’s good to turn to God in prayer for a spare minute, or if we grant that a person with a problem does well to take refuge in prayer, we have as much as admitted that praying is on the margin of life and doesn’t really matter.” [1]

Oh, dear God, I so want prayer to matter! Why does it seem so much as if people only dabble in prayer? (Even me, sometimes. Forgive me, Lord, for my inattentiveness in prayer.) I suppose with me, as with many others, when things are going well, or even moderately okay,

“If we think that a little praying can’t do any harm. We will soon find that it can’t do much good anyway. Prayer has meaning only if it is necessary and indispensable.” [2]

Why do people forget You, or forget what we ought to be doing, which is thanking You for all You so graciously give to each one. I want to walk with the Lord, yes, and sit with the Lord, too. Dear God, please forgive me me for my uncaring attitude towards You, and towards prayer, which is a simple wy of communicating with You. Dear Lord, 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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 84.

[2] Ibid, 85.

God’s Commandments in Psalm 119

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 1, 2017

Psa 119- 4-5 precepts, script

God’s Commandments in Psalm 119

I appreciate Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words so much. His commentary on the beginnings of Psalm 119 hit home to me. We are considering verse 4:

You laid down Your commandments,

that we should fully keep them.

I was particularly intrigued by his description of “the Hebrew word for ‘commandments’ in this verse. It is a word that cannot be translated by a single word of ours.” [1] I am fascinated by these types of words that cannot be translated, word-for-word. Instead, translators are forced to find approximate definitions and translations.

I appreciate the candor of some translators and commentators when they honestly state their difficulties in translation and interpretation. And, sometimes, a word in one language takes a phrase or even a sentence to define it in another language. (Again, I think this is fascinating!) The word translated as “commandments” is one such word, “that cannot be translated by a single word of ours. It derives from the verb for seeking, visiting, paying attention to. Hence, the commandments are what God looks at, pays attention to, and the means by which He seeks and visits the human being.” [2] (The NIV translation is “precepts,” which conveys much similar ideas.)

Bonhoeffer considered God’s commandment to be a permanent thing, in fact, a continual thing. As Bonhoeffer mentions, God’s commands are not just for an instant, or for a short period of time. No, they are for a good long time. What’s more, God “laid them down.” God established the commandments as one lays a cornerstone for a building.

What a marvelous image! God meant the commandments to be permanent, laid as a foundation or cornerstone. Thank You, God, for giving us the gracious gift of Your Scriptures—Your commandments.

@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, 106.

[2] Ibid.

Sitting, Praying, Letting Go.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 4, 2017

group-prayer

Sitting, Praying, Letting Go.

When I read this small section of the book How to Sit, I felt so badly that I did not sit and pray more than I do. (I know, it seems ironic, or perhaps even perverse, to be sad and regretful that I did not take as much time to pray and meditate regularly. But—there it is.)

Several parts of this reading hit home. For example, one part that smarted a great deal was the following: “We carry our past sorrows and anger and they become a kind of baggage that makes life heavy. Sitting meditation is a way to practice letting go of the things we carry needlessly.” [1]

Yes, these sentences hurt. Yet, they also gave me hope. When I pray and meditate, God helps me to let go of all those things I carry around with me, needlessly. All the stuff. All the hurt, and pain, and anxiety, and irritation, and awkwardness. All the difficult emotions, and hurt feelings, and painful experiences, and the memories I want to hide from. God helps me to bear them, and gradually to release them all.

Thank You, God! You not only provide me with more stability and serenity and peace, but You make it more and more easy for me to enter into prayer and meditation with You. How awesome is that? I praise You, and I am so grateful for Your help.

@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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 48.

In the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 22, 2016

autumn-harvest-bounty

In the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Ever had what seems to be a hundred things going on at once? Yeah—me, too.

Don’t come to me for advice. (Please.) But, I do listen to some wise people. Sometimes.

Yes, I have work stuff happening, and continuing to happen. Yes, there is quite a bit of family stuff happening, both in my extended family as well as my husband’s family. On top of everything else, a major holiday is coming up, soon. Even more stuff is happening because of that.

All of which is totally overwhelming, if I let myself think about it too much.

This season in my life reminds me of some years ago, when I was in graduate school, full-time. I had a family. I worked two internships, half-time, my second and third years of graduate school. You better believe I was busy!. I could not even think of a full semester of my class work at a time. My brain would short circuit.

I got used to thinking of only a day or two, or at most, three. That was all. Just a couple of days at a time. The only exceptions were when I had a big project or a major paper. Those I would think about a week or two ahead of time. Unwillingly. Believe me, the people who stick to the idea of “One Day at a Time” really have hit on something.

So, that is what I am doing now. Concentrating on just a day, or maybe, two, at a time. I hope and pray I can be faithful and courageous.

Dear God, help me as I try to get things done, just a little at a time. Be attentive to my loved ones, and especially the situation with a dear one in hospice, Lord. Help me to decide and discern what to do first, second and third, each day, and what can be left for another day. Thank You for Your blessings poured out upon us each day and every day. Lord, 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

Busy Day Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 12, 2016

autumn-harvest-basket

Busy Day Prayers

Ever have a busy day that just flowed by? Not crazy-busy, not frantic and frazzled, but a day when everything was moving by at a good speed? An enjoyable speed?

That was my day today. And, into tonight.

Looking back on the 24-hour period, I got a lot done. True, I do have a couple of mild regrets. I wish I had paid attention to two more things, and accomplished something there, too. But, overall, I had a satisfying day.

Yoga. If I had done nothing else all day, I would have considered this a good day with just the yoga. (Of course, my marvelous yoga teacher made it an exceptional yoga class. But, still. Yoga is wonderful, generally speaking.)

On top of that, I enjoyed everything I did today. Stopped at a garden store and bought a few supplies—and some Christmas tree ornaments. Visited someone sweet at a health care center. On the way home, ran in a store. Stopped off at church, dropped off some supplies, and made a pretty seasonal display.

I particularly enjoyed being artistic. It nurtured something deep within that does not often get fed. I suspect I found such pleasure in today because it utilized varied and different parts of me, So fulfilling. It stretched me in ways I haven’t been challenged in some time. But, not too much—a comfortable challenge.

Then, of course, writing. Several different things, including this post.

What a varied, busy time, sprinkled with prayer. With a backdrop of a gorgeous fall day, I’d very much like another day like today. Dear God, thank You. Thank You so much.

@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

 

Unabashed Prayers—for the Cubs

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Unabashed Prayers—for the Cubs

chicago-cubs-win

At long last, after 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. Holy cow! Hey, hey! Holy mackerel! Cubs win! Cubs win!

The Cubs and their dry spell of over a century have been legend in the annals of baseball, and even in the wide world of sports. These past seven games—and especially Game 7—have been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, of absolute rapture to the depths of despair, to be sure.

However. Now this brash, young team full of hope, this winning-est team in major league baseball, has achieved the pinnacle of their sport. The 2016 World Series. Fly the “W” flag!

Lord knows, I have tried not to hope too much. I have seen my hopes and dreams dashed time and again, with many, many other Cubs fans, in many, many other seasons.

But, I tell ya, pinch me. It can’t be true. (Can it? Is it?)

I think it is. Hell is freezing over, right this minute.

God knows that I try to pray for a good, clean game, when I am asked to pray for a sporting event. I pray for both teams to do their very best, and for there to be as few errors, or penalties, or mistakes as possible. Except—I have been praying for the Cubs, the last few games. It’s not that I dislike the Cleveland players. Certainly not! That team is absolutely an excellent team. If the Cubs had had to play against Cleveland during the regular season, I am afraid they might not have had quite as many “wins” to their credit.

But, I digress. Yes, I prayed for the Cubs. And, the Almighty looked with favor upon our boys in blue. Thank You, God.

(I do pray for the celebrations tonight, and into tomorrow. Please, Lord, don’t let anyone get hurt. Keep people safe. Help everyone celebrate in a fun, excited way, and help us welcome the Cubs back to Chicago with open arms. Lord, in Your mercy and grace, 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

Prayers of Thanks and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 29, 2016

suitcase-microsoft-clip-art

Prayers of Thanks and Support

Ever have a time away or out of state that made you get out of sync, off kilter, or just plain too distracted? Too much going to pray? That was me, during the past couple of days.

Prayer is a good thing. I have not been praying much lately, but I do think it’s a great resource. A communal gesture, and a way for us to communicate with the Almighty. Now that I’ve come back from a visit to the East Coast, I hope things revert back to normal, soon.

Meanwhile, I would like to thank those who prayed for me while I was traveling. Much appreciated! (Now, if we might be able to pray for the Cubs…)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for a safe journey. Help me to get back into the swing of things and dig into work. Thank You for friends who lift me and my trip up to You. I have a busy month ahead of me, and I badly need Your help. Thanks for everything you do for me, as well as for my friends and acquaintances. I bow down before you on the recommendations, the listening, the miracles, most of which I am not even aware of. Thank You, so much.

What more can I say, God? Except, thank You so much.

@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