Tag Archives: understand

Hope, Turn Toward God in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, August 24, 2018

hope - cursive

Hope, Turn Toward God in Prayer

I had the unusual experience of questioning what Father Nouwen said in his book just now. “Only if you pray with hope can you break through the barriers of death.” [1] I did not quite understand what he was saying here. I know I might be believing pie-in-the-sky sort of theology, but I suspect that what Father Nouwen seems to say here goes against what I have always believed. In other words, that if I do NOT have hope, then I am out of luck, in terms of prayer.

That statement, on the surface, goes against everything I have learned of God and of prayer. However, that is only one sentence in this small section on hope and prayer.

Several sentences further down, Nouwen said “When you pray with hope, you turn yourself toward God, trusting fully that God is faithful and makes all promises real.” [2]

Now, THAT I can understand. Praying with hope. Turning toward God. Trusting in God.

When you or I take what we know of God and pray with what hope we have in our hearts (even if it is only a mustard-seed’s-worth of hope), then you—I—we turn towards God. Isn’t that enough? Or, do I need to quantify my hope and my prayers to God?

“As long as there is still hope/There will also be prayer…

And you will be held/in God’s hands.” [3]

This is what I understand. This is what I relate to, and what my heart opens toward. When I open my heart in prayer, when I have even a tiny scrap of hope inside of me, that is enough. God will still hold me in God’s hands of love and caring. For that, I truly thank the Lord.

@chaplaineliza

 

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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 75.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 76.

Phoebe Palmer and Her Study

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 17, 2017

bible studies

Phoebe Palmer and Her Study

I don’t know quite how to say this, but I couldn’t get into Phoebe Palmer. I sort of understand that she is a big deal, and considered an awesome spiritual and religious writer. Except, her writing and I just did not connect in a meaningful way.

Hypothetical question: what happens if you have no idea of what is going on in the short reading you have for homework? That is, other than following the very bare bones outline—sort of. What then? What if you need to write a one-page response about that reading?

Well, one way to handle it is to do kinda what I’m doing: talk about how it’s difficult to talk about an article you did not quite understand.

I agree with Richard Foster. “To us today Phoebe Palmer’s ‘shorter way’ seems terribly convoluted and torturous. We simply do not have the history of searching and struggling to enter ‘the way of holiness’ that characterized the ‘saints’ of Palmer’s day.” [1] Now, I have read some rather obscure Christian writings, and enjoyed them. (Some people wouldn’t read those various types of writing. I was glad to!) I tend to be accepting, even of alternative topics. Not, I suspect, like Ms. Palmer. She seems a bit esoteric and distant to me. (Sorry, Ms. Palmer.)

Gee, out of sixteen writers, only one did not connect with me. I consider that pretty great! Perhaps tomorrow will bring a different kind of writer. Lord willing!

@chaplaineliza

 

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), 105.

Centering on the Holy One

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, September 14, 2015

HOLY ONE of Israel Isaiah 47, Holy

Centering on the Holy One

For today, I chose a Name of God from the Bible that is simple and profound. This is my word of the day for Centering Prayer. My word—Name of God for today is Holy One.

This Name comes from Isaiah 49, and incorporates the Hebrew word for holy, or “kodesh.” Some years ago I had the most difficulty figuring out exactly what “holy” meant. I knew it was a Name of God. I knew it referred to things that were of God. But, I had a radical sense of disconnect between me and a clear idea of that definition.

So, I dug more deeply. I tried to understand.

Now, I think I have come to some sort of wider understanding of the multi-faceted definition at “holy.” Holy can also be “set apart.” In the case of God, God is so far above us humans, I can well imagine how God is set apart.

When I began praying, I thought of the prophet writing those words. What did he mean by them? I kept bringing myself back to the Name “Holy One,” and I kept thinking first one thing, then another.

I am surprised that this well-known image from Isaiah—seeing God high up and in the Temple, with the seraphim flying around, saying “Holy, holy, holy!”—surprised that it did not come to mind. That’s one of my favorite biblical images. Sure, it’s terrifying. Sure, I feel like hiding my face before that idea of God! But that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s how I am supposed to feel. God, I come before You in gratitude for my salvation and also in awe of Your majesty, power and set-apartness. You are so glorious. I can only fall before You in awe. Thank You, God, for this new (to me, that is) verse. A new look, and a fresh expression of Your glory.

@chaplaineliza

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

Cast My Cares on the Lord? Oh, Yes!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 21, 2015

God my child, you worry too much

Cast My Cares on the Lord? Oh, Yes!

I hear about cares and concerns. Oh, yes. Certainly, I do. Familiar from my former position as a hospital chaplain, as well as my current position as a small church pastor, I very much serve as a listening ear to individuals.

Imagine my pleasure at discovering the reading from the liturgical lectionary prayer book for today: 1 Peter 5:1-11. This passage is chock-full of quotable verses, for a number of different reasons. However, my eye fell on verse 5:7. I have committed that verse to memory, and for me t actually try to do that, the verse must mean a whole lot. (I have difficulty memorizing things. I’ve spoken about my problem in several other blog posts. Suffice it to say that I have problems due to some disability from a former health difficulty.) So, I particularly wanted to commit this verse to memory.

“We can surely accept our Lord’s invitation, indeed His command, to cast all our cares upon Him and let Him care for them.” This quote from Simon Tugwell, taken from this lectionary prayer book, helps me to understand more what others think about this verse. God doesn’t want us to be hurt, or sick, or in need. But—it happens. All we need to do is accept our Lord’s invitation. (Well, yes, it is written as a kind of a command. Which I, as a Christian, ought to receive.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, this verse has great advice for me! Now, if only I would listen more carefully. To see You more clearly, love You more dearly, follow You more nearly. Gracious God, help me to care for You, then others, and me last. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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 .