Tag Archives: the Lord’s Prayer

Simone Weil, Praying the “Our Father”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Our Father Matt 6

Simone Weil, Praying the “Our Father”

Here is another brilliant pray-er. (Educated in philosophy, and experienced as a teacher!) Simone Weil had such a multi-layered relationship with God. As one of the foremost twentieth century mystics, she wrote essays about prayer and her contemplative experience.

In this edited, gathered collection of selected writings, Richard Foster has Ms. Weil discussing the Lord’s Prayer. She runs through each petition, and gives a short commentary about each one. Of course, each extended paragraph—as commentary—has so much packed into it. I am simply amazed at the theological depth of this loved one of God.

That said, one sentence cut me to the heart, even more than the rest of her penetrating comments. In her paragraph discussing “Our Father, which art in heaven,” she says “We do not have to search for Him, we only have to change the direction in which we are looking.” [1]

It is as if the blindfold has been taken off, and I’ve been turned around to look the right way. By changing the direction I look, I change my attitude, and my impressions of life, of others and of my situation. I change focus. Almost imperceptibly, I find myself changing from the inside out.

As Richard Foster mentions afterwards, our Lord Jesus prayed this prayer in a teaching moment. “By responding to their request with the “Our Father” Jesus shows Himself to be the absolute Master of prayer, as He is of all matters of life.” [2]

Truly, the Rabbi Jesus prayed a prayer for the ages, interpreted in dozens of ways. Jesus knew very well about trials and temptations, as well as daily bread and the Kingdom of God. No matter the situation, no matter the location. No matter what. Thank God for the “Our Father.”



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[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 48.

[2] Ibid, 53.

Pray and Praise for Young People

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 29, 2016

PRAY don't worry, through prayer to God Phil 4-6

Pray and Praise for Young People

Today was a wonderful end to the New Wilmington Mission Conference. Between wrapping up a mission perspective on the Lord’s Prayer, saying good-bye all day to people I see once a year, and finishing the evening listening to the Summer Service team, the day was jam-packed.

Fascinating how the Lord’s Prayer is almost always applicable. Even in a mission and outreach sense. Or, should I say, especially in such a sense?

I know many attendees from this conference. We were reminded at evening meeting that many, many people were praying for the Summer Service team as they spent a number of weeks abroad, immersing themselves in a different culture, different language, and different society.

The team spoke separately tonight, telling a bit about their trip, their encounters, and their reactions to what they experienced.

I praise God for these young people.

I pray that they might carry the encounters and experiences of their time away close to their hearts. I ask for clarity as each one makes decisions about the next thing for them to do. Dear God, I pray for those responsible for next year’s mission conference and service. Missionary God, You are not willing that any perish. Draw people to You. Help each person who was in attendance this week to be energized and empowered to tell others about You. About how much You love them, and even to the ends of the earth. Amen.


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

Pierce the Cloud of My Unknowing

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 3, 2015

birds, moonrise, water - credit bellofcompassion.org

Pierce the Cloud of My Unknowing

Such an arresting image. I am still struggling to get my head around that image. God’s love, piercing the cloud of my unknowing.

This piece of the Lord’s Prayer has the word “Affirmation” as its focus. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer deals with “Who art in heaven (Prayer 14, page 56) [1]

Another thing I’m wondering about. “Affirmation?” Am I supposed to affirm You, Lord? Do You even need affirmation? Or, does the affirmation concern me? Who is the end-user of this affirmation, anyway?

George Appleton wrote this particular prayer. I find myself pausing at regular points of this page, and I sit and allow the words to wash over me.

“I cannot grasp You/explain You/describe You.“ Appleton’s not-knowing seems to match mine in all the deep places. Why are You so distant? Yet, I stand in awe by all of the things expressed here.

Dear Lord, I focus on “Who are Thou?” And, I get a very partial answer. But, that’s okay. How on earth am I ever going to get a complete image of You in my mind, anyway. You, Lord, are infinite. I am not. You, Lord, are ready to listen. Help me to be equally ready to hear Your voice, and to heed Your words. 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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 56-57.

Praying the Lord’s Prayer Again

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, August 28, 2015

Our Father who art in heaven - colorful

Praying the Lord’s Prayer Again

I prayed the prayer our Lord taught us, this evening. I suspect you know which one. The prayer that starts, “Our Father, Who art in heaven.” This prayer was one of the oldest I ever learned. I’m not exactly sure, but my grandmother may have taught it to me.

Things get fuzzy when I try to remember back that far. Not that I have lots of negative memories, but they’re just not the clearest.

My grandmother, my mom’s mom, lived with us for a few years when I was small. The thing was, my grandmother had started having the mini-strokes. Transitory Ischemic Attacks. She would periodically have these, and her mind would slowly—slowly get eaten away.

I still have vivid images I can recall. Mental snapshots of my grandmother. I can see her sitting in front of the black-and-white television in the living room, watching the Catholic Mass early on Sunday mornings. She’d have her Rosary clasped in her hands. She loved going to Mass, and received such encouragement and comfort from the prayers.

As can I. (The encouragement and comfort from God, part.)

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for giving us such a marvelous prayer. Thank You for this gift. I kind-of know how difficult it is for many people, but I thank You that You come alongside of each one. I can remember when my Grammy was particularly anxious, and the words of this prayer calmed her right down. And, this is repeated so often, all over the world. You care for each of us deeply. Thanks so much, Lord!


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Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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

God’s Fingerprints on the World

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 3, 2015

bluebird and lilacs

God’s Fingerprints on the World

Today was Wednesday. The day I meet together with a group for bible study. While we were talking in the study, lots of questions came up, including how God made the world. And, I loved each and every question!

I told them I could get all theological and explain different views of different deep thinkers over the centuries to them. Or, I could give them a brief explanation, and we could go back to the topic of the day (the first part of the Lord’s Prayer). The consensus was for the short explanation, then back on topic. As I explained yet again, once we open up the Bible, its various topics are incredibly interconnected!

When I read today’s chapter from Handbook for the Soul, I was reminded so strongly of this explanation. Today’s chapter was written by Rabbi Harold Kirschner on nurturing the soul in the everyday. Yet—what happens when the everyday is normal? Or, so-so? Or, God forbid, less than good? Let’s see what Rabbi Kirschner says:

“We must remember that everything in this world has God’s fingerprints on it—and that alone makes it special. Our inability to see beauty doesn’t suggest in the slightest that beauty is not there. Rather, it suggests that we are not looking carefully enough or with broad enough perspective to see the beauty.” [1]

I need to reflect on the Rabbi’s wise words. God’s fingerprints alone make things special, or of wonderful beauty. Even when God’s creation does not have particular exterior beauty, God still made it. And, that ought to be reason enough for me to marvel in it.

As Rabbi Kirschner said further: “Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted—a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” [2]

I can strive to see the wonder in God’s creation. I can choose to marvel at God’s intricate handiwork. God willing, may I be blessed with the ability to see all the wonder in the everyday.


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 .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 19.

[2] Ibid.