Tag Archives: thank You Lord!

Prayer: Comfort of God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 9, 2019

Jesus, medieval face

Prayer: Comfort of God

We are introduced to Ignatian prayer immediately, in this first chapter: Ignatian prayer and the effects it can have, internally What a powerful introduction it is, too.

A woman, K., relates about a time of spiritual retreat, and how during one of her times of prayer she was moved to pray with and enter into the trial of Jesus. As she entered fully into that scene, she was moved to think, “How could Jesus stand there while everyone called for His death, I wondered. How could He be so calm?[1]

Oh, my. I have just been through some down, disheartening days myself, not only in my personal life, but in my ministry as well. Not mega-serious – not like a cancer diagnosis or a house burning down – but truly disheartening, nonetheless. I have been having difficulty with keeping my cool, being calm, as well as positive. I immediately focused on K.’s question.

K. continued to pray, and she saw God the Father holding Jesus, encouraging Him, and letting Jesus know that God would never let Him go. After a long period of prayer, K. was aware of God communicating that same thing to her: “I realized that the Father was within me as He was within Jesus. [God] was also holding me: ‘Do not be afraid. You are safe in My arms.’” [2]

I realized as I read these words that God indeed has treasures waiting for me in Ignatian prayer and meditation. (Yes, I have discovered these treasures in the past, at the times I’ve used these practices. But, it is so difficult to keep up the practices…)

How much more do I need to have the Lord remind me that I can also have these kinds of prayer experiences from time to time? Now, Father Gallagher openly says that these kinds of encounters and communication do not happen all the time, or even on a regular basis. But, if I practice Ignatian prayer and meditation regularly myself, I will have these experiences from time to time. What a stunning thing for me to look forward to.

Thank You, Lord, for Your presence with me. Thank You for being available to me when I pray, whenever I pray. Help me to be more regular in my prayer and meditation, please. Just as K. showed in her account, You are ready to bless, to come alongside, to comfort, to encourage any one who might need it. Oh, Lord, help me to pray.

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] Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture, Timothy M. Gallagher, OVM (United States of America: Crossroad Publishing, 2008), 19.

[2] Ibid.

Take Delight in God’s Decrees

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Psa 119-14 God's statutes, bible

Take Delight in God’s Decrees

I am amazed at how earnest the psalmist is, sometimes. Taking delight in God’s rules? Laws? Decrees? I know this psalmist really meant it, with all his heart.

Let’s read verse 119:14, as translated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

I have taken greater delight in the way of Your decrees

than in all manner of riches.

As Bonhoeffer said, “’Delight’ is the great word, without which there can be no walking in the way of God.” [1] He then mentions the Gospel of Matthew, where a man found a treasure hidden in a field, and then buys the whole field for the joy of it. Such exuberance. Such joy.

Sometimes, I cannot quite bring up the joy of the Lord from within me. I wonder why? Perhaps the day-to-day routine covers up that joy. Maybe the week-in, week-out rat race gets me down. Yes, I can read statements like Bonhoeffer’s, that “God’s word creates joy and delight in the one who receives it.” [2] Yes, it is delight about restored fellowship with God, and the ability to walk with God, sit with, cry with, even be angry with God.

But, I suspect it is much more than that. I am delivered from fear and separation and alienation from God. God’s Word – which is both the Bible and the Logos – is full of that joy. Especially at this time of year we hear about it. “There is the great proclamation of joy about the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus Christ in Luke – ‘Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’ (Luke 2:10).” [3]

Even though people go through challenging times, or difficulties, or the valley of the shadow, or joy on the mountaintop, there is still joy. That good news of great joy is truly a delight. I can reach out and accept that gift of great joy. I can delight in that precious treasure. Thank You, Lord. Thank You for this matchless gift of the incarnation of the Word of God. Thank You.



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, 119.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 120.

PEACE – Knowing Christ is in Me (Repost)

This repost is especially for the Facebook site “Pursuing Peace.” God’s blessings on all my readers today.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 24, 2016

peace in Jesus' name

PEACE – Knowing Christ is in Me

Another day for me to sincerely apologize. I had a malfunction with my digital camera happen on Sunday, at Bethesda Worship Center. Again, I’d like to express sadness that I have no photos of any of the dear people who were so kind to pose with their personal definitions of PEACE. I thank Pastor Chuck for being willing to offer his smart phone as a last-minute replacement! (Sadly, my advanced-beginner expertise with social media is showing … in that I couldn’t get the dratted thing to send photos!)

However, I am continuing to post the sheets of paper on which these dear people wrote their definitions! So, for the next few days—and definitions—I will be posting the sheets by themselves.

The next definition comes from a gentleman who had a marvelous view of PEACE. Nick Kokoraleis’s definition was PEACE is knowing that Christ is in me.

It took Nick a little while to process my question: “What is PEACE, to you?” He told me, hesitantly, that he sometimes had difficulty responding in a quick manner. I let him know that he could take as much time as he needed! After reflecting on the question, he formulated his response in an excellent way. (As we can see, above.)

Pastor Chuck saw Nick’s response. He nodded, and said, “Nick is a wise man.” He sometimes has difficulties and challenges in his dealings with some people (who are usually impatient, and get irritated very quickly). Yet, he is a thoughtful, kind man, who is occasionally misunderstood. Thank you, Nick, for an excellent definition.

Dear Lord, thank You for Nick’s reminder. When I know that You are with me, in me, then I have the assurance of Your protection and care. Thank You, Lord.


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

PEACE is Compassion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 16, 2016


PEACE is Compassion

Today’s definition touched my heart.

I read some news online today. I read about a man who robbed a store several miles from my house. I read about a suicide pact carried out by two young people. I read about a hospital blown to bits by a bomb. I read about a family torn apart by a bitter divorce.

I wonder whether compassion might have made a difference in any of these situations.

This word is the definition given to me today by Lill Hutchins: PEACE is compassion.

Lill is the president of the congregation at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. She is a thoughtful, caring person. And, she took her time and thought about her personal definition for PEACE for quite a while. Really considered it.

She said to me, “If everyone in the whole world had compassion, there would be peace. People can’t shoot guns with compassion.”

Oh, yes. If individuals had compassion—if they truly felt with the people around them (which is where the word compassion comes from, from Latin com– or with, and pati, to bear or suffer), the world would be a very different place.

It matters less about differences between people when they concentrate on the challenges and difficulties each one must bear. Com-passion. Bear with. It’s hard to be mad at someone you are helping or praying for. If I know that my mean neighbor has a sick child, it’s difficult to be nasty to them. When I realize that nasty village employee has an elderly relative who is terminally ill, it’s hard to think mean thoughts in retaliation. Com-passion. Suffer with.

Something to consider. So, help me, God!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for today’s definition. Help me to bear with those around me. Urge me to consider those around me with compassion. Help us all to keep quiet and listen to others, hear their stories. And have compassion. Thank You, Lord.


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

Our Father, Who Art—Centering.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lord's Prayer word cloud Matt 6

Our Father, Who Art—Centering.

For today, I chose a Name of God from the Bible that is not only traditional, but some might say even old-fashioned. This is my word of the day for Centering Prayer. My word—Name of God for today is Father.

I chose this Name as it’s from one of the most familiar passages in the Gospels. Even perhaps the whole Bible. It comes from the Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 6, where our Lord Jesus gives His disciples and the others listening to Him a template for prayer. Jesus opens with, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”

I grew up with this term for God. I attended a Lutheran church in elementary school through high school. Every Sunday we would say the Lord’s Prayer as part of the service. The pastor would refer to God as “Our Heavenly Father,” and this way of referencing God was so familiar to me.

Fast forward more than twenty years. I was married, with small children. I tried to be faithful in how God called me, and so I tried to pray on a regular basis. I remember questioning how I referred to God in prayer, but only mild questions.

Go forward a bit more, and I found myself in seminary. Second year, I was having considerable difficulty with some outside issues. (Not with school. I loved seminary!) However, I remember having particular difficulty with calling God “Father.” In fact, I could not bring myself to say the Lord’s Prayer out loud, since I had so much of a problem with using the Name “Father.” I did not want to lose sight of the feminine half of God, and I struggled with that expression and Name of God almost all year long.

Now, present day. Things continue to evolve. I try not to use gender often as I use Names of God. But, I need to consider this Name again for this particular prayer time. I taught an adult bible study at the beginning of the summer on the Lord’s Prayer, and I talked about “Father.” How unusual it was for Jesus to use this Name for God Almighty. It showed intimacy, love, and caring. Not only from Jesus to His Heavenly Father. No, the intimacy, love and caring were (are?) a two-way street.

Praise God that God has revealed Godself to me so freely, and with so much love and intimacy. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:9. our Heavenly Father. Thank You, Lord. You love me as Your child. You carry me like a beloved toddler! You really do. Thank 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

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Prayer—for Bella

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 2, 2015

heal my child - pray

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Prayer—for Bella

Our lives get interrupted at the worst moments. Sometimes inconvenient, sometimes exciting. Once in a while, horrible. Gut-wrenching, and incredibly sad.

I am interrupted in the middle of my neatly-laid-out prayer plan on lectio divina . . . to pray for Bella, instead. To ask you whether you would consider praying for Bella, her parents, and the medical staff who will be caring for her. Tomorrow, on Wednesday morning, Bella will be having surgery on a brain tumor. She just turned nine years old this past weekend. She is scared of the surgery. Her parents are scared, too.

The office manager at my church, Sunny, is good friends with Bella’s parents. Sunny has kept our church updated on the continuing situation with Bella, the doctors, and other medical stuff. I cannot even imagine what Bella and her family are feeling and are going through tonight, with surgery in less than twelve hours. Plus, Sunny just set up a GoFundMe site for Bella. You can find it at http://www.gofundme.com/4BellaM

Yes, I was a hospital chaplain for most of the last ten years. And, yes, I have some rudimentary understanding of what kinds of things Bella and her parents will be dealing with. But—I can’t know, for sure. But what I can do is send positive thoughts, earnest prayers, and good feelings. And, I can pray God’s mercy, care and comfort upon such a sweet young person.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, we pray for Bella. We ask Your presence with her as she goes through this procedure. We pray that You will hold her in the hollow of Your hand, being present with her in a very special way. We ask for Bella’s parents, and for all who care for her and love her. We know You can comfort like no other. We pray for the medical staff who will be caring for Bella. Give them wisdom and understanding as they treat Bella. We know that You are a God of healing, a God of wonder-working, and a God of comfort and encouragement. Thank You, Lord! We hold up all these things in prayer, 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.