Tag Archives: thankful

A Grandmother and Psalm 90

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Psa 90-12 teach us, type

A Grandmother and Psalm 90

I suspect Dietrich Bonhoeffer loved his grandmother Frau Julie Bonhoeffer intensely. That is the feeling that comes across from the words of his sermon for her funeral. And, yes, he also spoke with great thankfulness about her person, her great faith, and her deep love for three generations of her family. As Bonhoeffer mentioned, his grandmother always made time for her many family. “She was there for each one with her peace and good counsel.” [1]

This gem of a sermon is found in the book Meditating on the Word, a compilation of various writings, letters and sermons all displaying the great love Bonhoeffer had for the Word of God. This sermon is an excellent example of this devotion to the Scriptures, not only on Pastor Bonhoeffer’s part, but on his grandmother’s part, as well.

At ninety-three years of age, Frau Bonhoeffer had many years to love and care for her family. What is more, her grandson actually said that his grandmother “transmitted to us the heritage of another age. With her passing a world passes, and which we all in someway carry within us, and want to keep within us.” [2]

Psalm 90 says to “teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” As Bonhoeffer said, everyone can learn from his grandmother. Everyone can learn from her. “Applying our hearts to wisdom means knowing the limit of our life, but, even more, know that beyond that limit is the God who is from eternity to eternity, into whose hands we fall, whether we choose to or not, in whose hands we.needed to mourn and to get together, ” [3]

Bonhoeffer closes with the injunction of his grandmother to not be sorrowful. This was important to him. One gets the idea that this was important to his grandmother, too. Work each day, trusting in God. Good advice, no matter who, no matter what.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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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), 70.

[2] Ibid, 71.

[3] Ibid.

Just Sit There—and Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Just Sit There—and Pray

“Don’t just sit there—do something!”

These words, above, are not the best of advice. I have found that I do better when I take my time, and consider my actions. Thich Nhat Hanh has much better advice: sit, and do nothing. (At least, initially. And, sometimes, more often that.)

Non-action is already an action. (So, there.) Plus, as the good monk says in the book “How to Sit,” “The quality of the action depends upon the quality of the non-action.” [1]

I sincerely try to avoid anger and worry. If I have even a little of anger and concern inside, I find it gums up the works.

It’s part of my One-Day-At-A-Time way of living. I don’t always succeed in living this way, but ODAAT certainly helps me in being mindful. This way of thinking I have always found to be positive. Just taking my time, being thoughtful, thankful, and mindful.

Thanks, God! Great suggestions.

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 21.


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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

Grateful, Thankful Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 24, 2016


Grateful, Thankful Prayers

It has been a thankful, grateful past few days. First, a wonderful opportunity to gather together for a beautiful service on Wednesday night. Yes, the Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve service happened, for anyone who felt especially thankful. (And, even for those who did not, but were trying to feel thankful.) So interesting and heartening to come together, to be thankful. What an opportunity to see and hear from different faith traditions and religious leaders.

Yes, what happened in the service was wonderful last night. However—I thought one of the best times of the night was the time of refreshments after the service. Almost all of the people who attended the interfaith service came to the fellowship hall afterwards. And, you should have heard the talking, laughing, and otherwise mingling together going on. Such a friendly, welcoming, wonderful thing!

Today’s turkey dinner (which was superb, by the way) was a family affair. Small, cozy, and welcoming. All of my children—now grown—were here with me. Truly, a time to be grateful and thankful for all that God has given to us.

Dear Lord, Giving God, we give thanks for the beauty of Your world, and for the holiness of Your temple. We give thanks for the fruits of the earth and for the labors of those who harvest. We pray for all those in need, who hunger and thirst because they have limited resources. Provide not only for us in our abundance, but also for the relief of all who are in need, here in the Chicago area, as well as throughout this world. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of Your great bounty, Lord. We give You thanks and praise, to the glory of Your Name. Alleluia, amen!

Peace to all at this thankful, grateful time of the year


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

Thankful Prayers, Earnest Petitions

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, July 23, 2016


open hands

Thankful Prayers, Earnest Petitions

My daughter and I safely arrived at the New Wilmington Mission Conference in Pennsylvania this afternoon. We are thankful! And, I have already received several great spiritual boosts from the several sessions I attended.

Thank You for this conference, God. It is truly a marvelous place.

I saw a request from my friend Vicar Josh (online vicar of the Episcopal www.dailyoffice.org website). He earnestly requested prayer for our mutual friend, honorary deacon and soul-medic, Clint.

Here is the prayer I offered. Hear all of our prayers, please!

Gracious God, You hear all of our prayers ascending to You for our dear brother Clint. You know his heart, his love for You, and his love for all of the brothers and sisters. Please, Lord, hear our prayers. Please, Lord. It’s in Jesus’s powerful, healing name we pray, amen.


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

Snare, Prayer, Take Care

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 7, 2016

God refuge and strength Ps 46-1

Snare, Prayer, Take Care

Anyone can get tripped up. Fall on their face, sometimes. Tripped up in my thought life, my words, or my actions. It can happen to anyone.

For example: when I try to stay on the beam in any particular behavior or activity, I often need help from my friends. If I end up isolated or alone, that is not a good scenario for me. Thank God I have friends and family who can rally around.

I realize some people don’t have many healthy relationships. However, God can assist, and bring certain people into our lives to remedy those kinds of lacks and losses. And, we can end up with families of choice. Good friends, too.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your gift of relationships. Build up our relationships with our significant others; our families, our friends, our spouses. Draw me close to those people I love. You have promised to deliver us from the evils in this world—those things that are physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual evils.

Protect me with Your power, and remain a refuge for me to run to when I am isolated, filled with anxiety, or bedeviled. Gracious God, You are my stronghold. You can help all of us avoid harm, distress, temptation and evil. You are faithful, and for that I am so grateful. Thankful. Thank You, God.


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

Turning It Over to God—in Gratitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, November 26, 2015

THANKFUL today I'm thankful

Turning It Over to God—in Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Today was Thanksgiving: a day when America traditionally gives thanks to God. Today’s reading in the daily meditation book Keep It Simple also involved turning life over to God as I understand God.

I just read some heartbreaking and honest Facebook posts where a few acquaintances of mine legitimately had difficulty doing both of those things today.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

True, there were (and are) various things happening in each of these families. With wide and varied situations with many family gatherings. Still more with volatile or even explosive verbal confrontations. Some with lonely, anxious people gathering together over a meal ladled out at a shelter or a church basement. And then, those with sad and grieving people in sad and desperate straits.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Yet, today was another day where many, many people worldwide successfully stayed clean and sober. Through anxious circumstances, even though they were sorely tempted, or amidst incredible grief and sadness. Many, many people successfully turned their lives and wills over to the care of their Higher Power. Just for today. One day at a time.

Another day clean and sober. Another day following God as I understand God.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


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

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

Day #6 – Saying Thank You? Praying, As Well!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 24, 2015

THANK you flowers

Day #6 – Saying Thank You? Praying, As Well!

Today’s suggestion of generosity is one I can really sink my teeth into! As the 40acts post says, gratitude is one of the best catalysts for generosity. Gratitude and thankfulness are closely related. When you and I are thankful, isn’t it natural to wish to share that gratitude? Sharing the blessing(s) we received is often natural, too.

I have been on a journey. A multi-year journey, in which I have traversed emotional mountain ranges, huge spiritual deserts, and rocky denominational terrain. In the midst of it all, I have finally found a home in the Federation of Christian Ministries, an ecumenical, non-denominational association of Christians. This community encourages all of its members in their personal and individual ministerial activities.

After much prayerful consideration and discussion with some trusted, mature spiritual mentors and companions, I put my name (and a whole lot of paperwork) in for consideration with the FCM Circle of Directors. The Circle prayerfully considered me and a group of other members, and I received the joyful news that I—and a number of other FCM members—have been approved for commissioning. That’s the equivalent of ordination. So, in just a few weeks, I and several others will joyfully have a commissioning service at my church in the Chicago suburbs. Thank God!

You better believe I have sent out a number of sincere “thank you notes” to my many friends, colleagues and mentors in the past two weeks! This occasion is a radically joyful one for me. The beginning of a whole new stage in ministry. And, an occasion to let many people know how grateful, thankful and humbled I am for their constancy, friendship, encouragement and support.

So, I am advised to take some time to express my gratitude. (Oh, yes!! Abundant, even overflowing gratitude and thankfulness!) And, I am advised to let someone—even a lot of people!—know they are fully appreciated.

Thankful. And grateful. And so appreciative, too.

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

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 #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Instead of a Gratitude List? A Thankfulness List!

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, November 29, 2014

THANK thank you God

Instead of a Gratitude List? A Thankfulness List!

In this thankful season of the year, I am going to write a Thankfulness List. Of course, this will be an abbreviated list. Only the high points, or what I can think of to write today.

God, I am going to address this list to You. You are the main One who matters, anyhow. So, this will be my Attitude of Thankfulness List. (For today, at least.)

Dear God, I am thankful for:

  • My family. I saw all four of my children yesterday, and I love all of them so much!
  • My family’s health. My immediate family is in good health, as are my siblings. Amen!
  • My husband. He is himself. A one of a kind guy. When You made him, God, You absolutely threw away the mold.
  • My job (which I love). I love providing pastoral care, preaching, teaching, love, concern and leadership for the church and congregation I am privileged to pastor.
  • My home. My condo is a warm, friendly, welcoming place. Thank You, God!
  • Plenty of food to eat. And, additional food to give away to food pantries.
  • A working car, computer, telephone, electricity in our home, and appliances to make our lives so much easier.
  • Sufficient clothes and shoes to wear. Plus, good things to give away to resale shops.
  • Wonderful music to listen to, books to read, and DVDs and movies to watch. In addition, the ability to make music, and write books and stories.
  • My health, since I celebrate a sobering anniversary—I had a stroke as a teenager on November 30, almost forty years ago. Other than some slight issues with my speech, I have been in good health ever since, for which I praise God. Thank You, dear God!

So, yes. I can praise God for all of these things. Perhaps I will write another Thankfulness List sometime soon.

Let’s pray. Dear God, I have so many things I can thank You for. And, I know I missed a great deal of other things I could be thankful for. Please, help me–help us to see where we can have a giving heart and open hands towards others. I truly want to spread the thankfulness and gratitude around. Again, God, thank You for everything You give to us, every day. Amen.


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“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, November 24, 2014

autumn pumpkin field - photo credit Liz West

autumn pumpkin field – photo credit Liz West

“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

Yes, it’s that time of year again. How many shopping days before Christmas? What do I need to strike off my holiday check-list today? Where is the party I’m obligated to go to, this weekend? Who do I need to pick up at the airport on Wednesday?

Oh, and our national observance of Thanksgiving happens to occur on Wednesday.

Yesterday, at church, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for all that God has given to us. Yes, our church does follow the liturgical calendar. However—I strongly felt that giving thanks needed to be front and center for our congregation. So instead of the last Sunday of the liturgical year, Christ the King Sunday, I decided to lift up this thankful time of the year.

The Gospel reading for Thanksgiving in Year A is from Luke 17, where Jesus meets ten lepers. They call to Him from some distance (being unclean), and ask Him to have mercy on them. His response is simple: “Show yourselves to the priests.” On the way, while they were going, they found themselves healed. All ten ex-lepers were healed. One returned to give thanks.

Yes, I preached on the one who came back after the miraculous healing. The one who was thankful and grateful. He couldn’t help but come back and say, “Thank you!”

In the reading from Luke 17, yesterday, one ex-leper was grateful. Thankful. Showed God how much he wanted to love and to serve God. At the end of the sermon, I asked the congregation to speak up, and tell how much God had blessed them—a little testimony time! We had a wonderful time of sharing together how much God has done in this past year. We talked about our gathering in what God has given to each of us. Yes, we all do have challenges and trials. But God is good—God is gracious. Even through these difficult things, God provides for all of us so abundantly.

I am reminded of the hymn we sang yesterday, the one about raising “the song of harvest-home.” Sure, the hymn talks about gathering in the harvest. The fruits and vegetables. But, it talks about much more. We sang all four verses. These classic hymns have lyrics that often pierce me to the heart. The second verse tells of the whole world being God’s own field, and the author asks “Lord of harvest, grant that we/wholesome grain and pure may be.” And the last verse? The author states in gratitude: “Gather Thou Thy people in/Free from sorrow, free from sin. There forever purified,/In Thy presence to abide;” in that triumphal time, in that final harvest-home.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, in the waning of the year, I think of the harvest. Gathering in the bounty You provide for all of us. I pray, with the author of our hymn, that I—that we—may be fruitful, wholesome grain for Your harvest. Help us to do Your will, go where You want us to go, and fulfill the tasks You have set for us. Then, we will look forward to Your final harvest-home; and go to be with You. And we will abide in Your presence, forever. Lord, quickly come! Amen.


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Be Thankful. No Matter What.

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, November 28, 2013

I woke up this morning, went out to the car to do an errand, and found it had a flat tire. On Thanksgiving morning.

I was able to get the tire half-inflated, and drove over to the nearby car repair shop, which WILL be open tomorrow. However, that incident throws a monkey wrench in our Thanksgiving Day plans.

Upon reflection, that monkey wrench does not seem TOO serious. My family is currently all in one piece—no accidents or catastrophic events. We are healthy, have (lots of!) food in the refrigerator, a warm place to live, and plenty of warm clothes in our closets. It may not always be that way, but it is for right now.

I do have friends who have sick relatives, one whose sibling just died several days ago, and several more who have chronic health concerns of their own. But God can see us through. God has not failed me yet. I understand from many, many people that God hasn’t failed them, either.

I think of the verse from the first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, where Paul advises the Thessalonians to “be thankful in all circumstances.” I know that Paul was familiar with trials and tribulations in his journeys and voyages around Asia. He did not have an easy time of it, all the time, either. He also had faith that God would be with him, no matter what happened to him, where he went, or who he was with. I ought to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, instead of griping about my personal trials and tribulations. Happy Thanksgiving Day, indeed!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for a day set aside to give thanks. Thank You for seeing me through my various trials, just as You have been with countless believers in You, over the centuries. Dear God, be with all those who are lacking provision for their physical needs, today. Lead them to people and places that can provide for them. And thanks for the promise we have from Matthew 6, that You do provide for us, one day at a time. What a great Thanksgiving. Amen.