Tag Archives: the devil

Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 9, 2017

fasting - empty plate


Cardinal Newman Describes a Fast

Originally an Anglican priest, Cardinal Newman found comfort in many spiritual disciplines—including fasting. As Richard Foster writes in his definition, Newman is intimately engaged with scripture. It shows, too.

I was struck by the following excerpt from his writing: “Even now, Angels are especially sent to those who thus seek God. Not Daniel only, but Elijah too, was, during his fast, strengthened by an Angel; an Angel appeared to Cornelius, while he was fasting, and in prayer.” [1] I can’t fast like I used to, years ago. (Sorry about that, Lord.) But—was God watching over me when I fasted? What a point to ponder.

Jesus seems to imply that prayer is somehow augmented by fasting, too. When someone prays AND fasts, is there an additional layer of strength and blessing granted to the one who does both of these things? Fasts and prays? It certainly seems so. I am intrigued to think of the Devil getting scared of people who fast! Amazing thought.

Gracious God, thank You for giving us the discipline of fasting, as well as the scriptures that talk about fasting. What an idea, that someone can fast from different things, not only from food. Show me how to fast like this, Lord. Grant us faithfulness and grace in order to fast.



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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 63.

God’s Watchers, Sober and Watchful

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 4, 2015

1 Peter 5-8 be sober, be vigilant pen and ink lion

God’s Watchers, Sober and Watchful

Week One, Day Four. As I opened the dailyoffice.org website to Tuesday’s Evening Prayer, I was moved by the psalm for the day. And then, I thought about it. It is so similar to the psalm for last night, too! No wonder several verses were so familiar to me. Because, many of the same ideas and similar imagery are used in both Psalm 31 and Psalm 91. That’s why.

I noted that in the back of my head, and pushed on. Read further. When—I came across a short passage from 1 Peter, verse 5:8. “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Wow. And again I say, wow!

Not the second part of the verse, but the first part was the part that made me come to a full stop. Peter is advising his readers to be sober and be watchful.

I was so intrigued that I went to the Amplified Bible and checked out the same verse. Here’s what I found: “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” Gee, all of those things are good qualities for me to emulate. First—well balanced, temperate, and sober of mind. That is certainly not someone who acts off kilter, rashly or in a hot-headed manner.

Second—vigilant and cautious. (I’ll consider the second word first.) Caution is the mark of someone who takes their time. Plans things out. Does not fly by the seat of their pants. And, lastly, vigilant! I appreciate the first translation, from the Revised Standard Version. “Be watchful.” I take that to mean that I shouldn’t go to sleep on the job! I know how difficult that can be. Lord, help me to stay alert. Peter really knew what he was talking about. The danger is very real. Indeed, the devil is right around the corner.

Yet, we know that through Christ, we have overcome the world! And, we have overcome the devil (and all his helper-devils). It’s true that we ought to be aware of the devil and all of his schemes and wiles. But, again. Jesus Christ has triumphed over the devil, sin and death. It is finished! Amen and amen.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your work on our behalf. Thank You for conquering the devil, sin and death. We pray that You might help us to come to love You more dearly and follow You more nearly. One day at a time. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!


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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more!

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

To Feel, or Not To Feel? In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 26, 2015

secret is simple--prayer

To Feel, or Not To Feel? In Prayer.

It’s just Jesus and me, on the mountaintop! Together, praying and meditating, walking, and sitting in silence together. I feel so close to the Lord, it’s just amazing!

Well . . . not always. Even, not often. But, yes, sometimes.

It’s true, I don’t feel the awesome, mighty, yet intimate presence of God quite all the time. I would be lying if I said that I did. It’s only been recently—and I mean less than two hundred years—that feelings in prayer have been trusted. In selected writings of the Pietists and in the First and Second Great Awakenings of the Church (in certain parts of the world), scattered people reported deep feelings in prayer and in the relationship with God. But not many.

As Rev. Howell tells his readers, Martin Luther warned that deep feeling in prayer might well be a trap, that the devil might be seducing us into something not of God. [1] This was a common statement or concern, for many centuries. On my part, I am heartily glad that feelings are not suspected to be temptations or traps any longer!

Looking at the whole subject of feelings from the other side, however, I can understand how being too dependent on feelings and intuition can get me into trouble. Too much emphasis on feelings can cloud logic and common sense. And, when feelings go too far into states of mind that are negative or harmful in any way (like chronic depression, severe anxiety, and the like), that’s when other believers in God can be helpful.

Isolation, deprivation or fasting, except for brief and measured periods of time, is not positive. What comes to mind is an acronym used in the addiction, substance abuse, and recovery fields: H-A-L-T. Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. Any one of these states can be a concern. And two at once? An even bigger concern. These states can also trigger or heighten negative emotion, exacerbating a bad feeling (or situation) into something much worse. Suggestion: if and when you feel this way? Seek out mature believers, ministers, or others you can trust, and open up to them. And, if this negative feeling continues? Please, seek out professional help, even call 911.

So, yes, having deep feeling in prayer and in our relationship with God can be great! But, as Rev. Howell so perceptively said, “Jesus did not come so we could feel different, Jesus came so we could be different.” [2] Amen! Help me—help us—to stick close to You, God, no matter how we feel. No matter what our situation is. Amen, and 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.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, (Nashville, TN, Abingdon Press: 2003), 82.

[2] Ibid, 83.