Tag Archives: thank You

Raised with Christ? Pray with Christ, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 10, 2015

Colossians 3 word cloud

Raised with Christ? Pray with Christ, Too!

I was moved today. By today’s verses from the liturgical daily prayer book, that is.

I read Colossians 3:1-4, and had to re-read the passage several times to start to grasp the implication of it. Wow! Just one or two of these ideas is enough to set me back on my heels. But, with all of the things presented here? I need to take them slowly, little by little.

Wait a minute. Isn’t that a good way to digest scriptural principles?

First, I have been raised with Christ. Paul says so. (He goes further into it earlier in chapter 2, where he talks about being raised by faith in God’s working.) That alone is worth meditating on! But, wait! There’s more. Another idea I was transfixed by is that my life is now hidden with Christ Jesus in God. It’s almost like I am held in Jesus’ hand, and God the Father has God’s hands are wrapped around Jesus’s hands.

If I were to think about the other principles in this short passage, I might overload. I suspect these two are sufficient. Good thing that the Apostle Paul can write in this dense, sober manner, since I have my choice of which concepts to think about, and pray about.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for these good and gracious words. Help me to make them foundational principles and cause my words to be reflections of the words You want me to say. Help me—help us to live like You, the Resurrection way. In Jesus’ risen name we pray, amen.


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Reading, Pondering, Yearning as I Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 17, 2015

moonrise over hills

Reading, Pondering, Yearning as I Pray

I have come to the last prayer suggestion from the book Prayer and Temperament (Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types). At least, the last suggestion for one particular personality preference. This suggestion is—yet again—a challenge to me. Not because I dislike the poem mentioned—by no means! However, the poem is lengthy. And takes some pondering.

“The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson was the poem assigned for today. Yes, I have read this before, several times. But I haven’t read it for a few years, at least ten, if I remember correctly. Let me say that I reacted to this strongly. Because of my personal theological point of view as well as from my deep feelings from this first stanza, I was strongly moved. Yes, God is pursuing me. Not only in my external wanderings in life, but as I make my internal, labyrinthine travels, too.

Not only do I find that the imagery hits me deep, but the loveliness of the words draws me in. “In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.” And, I yearn over these words. These ideas, phrased in such winsome ways.

And yet, the relentless words keep up their march. “I stand amidst the dust o’ the mounded years–/My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap./My days have crackled and gone up in smoke.” I read these words, and tears come to my eyes.

“And is thy Earth so marred,/Shattered in shard on shard?/Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest me.” Beauty, words. You call to my heart; it delights in the rhythms and flows. And at last, “I am He (She?) who thou seekest.” Ah! Home at last! Or, is it that the Hound has reached its quarry?


I feel the words of this poem, down to my bones. Yes, it causes me to pray, to contemplate, to lift my voice/my heart in praise to God.

Thank you, gracious authors, for these prayer suggestions I’ve used during these past two weeks.

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.

Pray. Sigh. (What Would a Shepherd Do?)

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring-Lamb photo by Richard Peters

photo by Richard Peters

Pray. Sigh. (What Would a Shepherd Do?)

What do you do when things spin out of control? Sometimes I pray. But that’s only sometimes.

Today, I went with the flow. I did the next right thing, the next responsibility that came to my attention. Sure, there were some roadblocks. But if I handle one thing at a time, it all seems to be okay. Sort of okay, that is.

I just bought a book over the weekend at a used bookstore. It’s a reprint of the Phillip Keller classic “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” Today, I happened to crack it open somewhere around the middle. It did not surprise me that the words I saw were apropos to my current situation. The chapter talked about “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow, You are with me.” I read that our Shepherd does know all about our approaching storms in life. And yes, our Shepherd Jesus is with us through those anxious times.

Even though I’m not in the out-of-doors, living rough, or in the middle of a severe health concern, staying in the hospital, I still can feel the darkness, the anxiety of life. I can still feel things spinning out of control. I know I have little (if any) control over the actions and responses of others. However, with God by my side, I can choose to take action. I can speak kindly and act generously. I think that is what our Shepherd Jesus wanted me to learn today.

Like I said, it all seems to be okay now. Sort of okay, that is. Sometimes, that’s good enough. Good enough for me, and good enough for God, too. After all, God is always there, right beside me. Even when I walk through those dark valleys of difficulty and unmanageability. God will help me to walk every step of the way.

Let’s pray. Thank You, God, for leading me to this book. When I picked it up, I found just the words and thoughts to help me. Thanks! And You are wonderful to send me good and gracious gifts each day. Open my eyes—open our eyes and help us to recognize Your grace, forgiveness and love. Thank You for being right by our sides, each and every day. In the name of our Shepherd Jesus, Amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: http://wp.me/p43g3i-4d

Christmas Music for Everyone

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 14, 2013

I hear Christmas music on the cd player as I write this. Choral, a capella. Complex chords and harmonies. These aspects of the music make my heart sing. The winning combination of beautiful music and meaningful words helps my heart to worship, too.

Since I am a classically trained musician and have a bachelor’s degree in church music, music has been and still is an important feature of my life. My avocation and my deep joy, as well as an aid to worship. Sometimes music can bring me to tears, and the next minute can lead me to worship and praise. Especially at this time of year.

A great deal of Christmas music was written with the church in mind, or at least, based on the Gospel accounts in Luke and Matthew. (I know there are some fun songs, secular songs, but I’d like to focus instead on the sacred music.) Composers and songwriters in many diverse cultures have tried their hands at writing Christmas music—and Advent music, too. Diverse songs like “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming” (German, Michael Praetorius, 1609) to “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” (Traditional West Indian Carol, popularized by Harry Belafonte in 1958).

Different cultures portray the Holy Family in contexts that are familiar to them, too. Many people are familiar with the olive wood nativity scenes, carved by Palestinian Christians and imported all over the world today. But I’ve also seen a Kenyan nativity set with animals native to the Kenya bush. And a Peruvian nativity with everyone dressed in traditional Peruvian garb. And—to me—the familiar Advent calendars with the northern European features.

One more recent Christmas carol comes from the mid 20th century. The words by Wihla Hutson evoke the differences in how children all over the world see the baby Jesus. “Lily white,” “bronzed and brown,” “almond-eyed,” “dark as they.” The Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. He was born into this world to identify with us. And we can identify with Him, just as much.

This Advent period is a period of waiting for the coming of the Baby in Bethlehem. However we may see Him, however the Holy Family is presented in our culture or setting or church tradition, we are to wait with eagerness. With quiet and prayer. With expectation in our hearts. And in one of my favorite ways, with music to assist us in this waiting time.

Let’s pray. Dear God, Gracious Lord, this Advent waiting time is a time of expectation, but it’s also a time of preparation. Help me to prepare my heart to receive You. Forgive me for closing the door on others who don’t see You in the same way as I see You. Forgive me for being so narrow-minded and thoughtless. Thank You that You came into this world for everyone. For each child, for each adult, for each senior. Help me to look on those who are different from me with Your eyes. Emmanuel, God with us, all of us. Thank You, Jesus.