Tag Archives: unique

PEACE: Freedom and Equality

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 29, 2016

peace throughout the world - Jane Goodall

PEACE: Freedom and Equality

This is the next in a series of posts from Gemini Jr. High School in Niles. (Again, a big thank you to Mr. Rich Groeling, Gemini’s principal!)

Among the students who participated, I had two young people make their personal definitions of peace. However—neither of them left their names on the backs of their sheets of paper. I am sad about this! Still, I am presenting them here, knowing that they were and are meaningful to many, not only to these two young people.

The first definition: “Peace is freedom and equality.”

Whoa. Succinct, yet this definition says a mouthful. Yes, peace often is accompanied by freedom and equality. In the Hebrew scriptures, we can see how Moses spoke to the nation about the freedom that God grants. The spiritual redemption provided is invaluable, as is deliverance. Equality is an additional layer, layered on top. No one is more equal than any other. Each of us—each human being is unique, valuable, and different from each other person in the whole world. And, each one’s gifts are valued as much as the other. Color, creed, culture, ethnicity. Everyone matters. Unique, valuable, special.

The second definition can be challenging, and politically charged. I want to present it as the student wrote it. Simply, and in a heartfelt way.

The second definition: “Peace is freeing Palestine.”

Simply put, this definition shows a longing for freedom, just as much as the first definition did. And, not freedom in some abstract sense, but instead freedom to come and go, to work and to live their lives without fear. Without unequal distribution of power and control.

I can think of many other countries occupied by other regimes: the powerful states of Egypt, Greece, Rome. The Holy Roman Empire, the Muslim Caliphate, the British  Empire, various other controlling states.  Dear God, have mercy upon all those who suffer and have died with little or no aid or assistance. Wonderful opportunity to #PursuePEACE.

@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

How to Be Aware of Soul?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 11, 2015

SOUL gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul Prov 16-23

How to Be Aware of Soul?

I love going to yoga. Calming my mind, being (more) at peace with myself, and within myself.

Somehow, my yoga practice came to mind tonight as I read this chapter that Ram Dass wrote. The chapter is appropriately called “The Pilgrimage of Awareness,” and Ram Dass talks about the gradual approaching of awareness, of the sense of “me-ness” that I have. Not that yoga was mentioned anywhere in these pages today, but for some reason, I thought of it.

The practice of yoga is gradual, as well. Yet, it is not a sense of “me-ness” as much as becoming engaged with the sense of uniqueness. Yes, my name is Elizabeth, and there have been/are/will be many Elizabeths. However, I am unique. I have “me-ness” that is unlike any other’s.

Although Ram Dass has a more Eastern viewpoint, I can see parallels in his discussion with King David’s writings, and the Jewish understanding of certain Psalms. David mentioned his uniqueness in Psalm 139, and of how precious life itself is, even while still in the mother’s uterus. Ram Dass does something similar, in talking about how separate and unique each human is. Except—being separate is not quite positive, in the Eastern understanding.

I guess I must have been raised with the American mindset of rugged individuality, since I relish this idea of separate, unique personhood. This chapter proposes, instead, that each of us separate individuals needs to be folded back into pure awareness. [1]

Some people follow the Eastern (Buddhist-oriented) path, while others turn to the mindset of American uniqueness and individualism. For me, I honor and try to learn from those who are espousing a way of thinking and being that is different from mine.

God willing, I’ll be able to learn a great deal from peace, calm, serenity—and yoga.

@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 .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 69.

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way (Focus Friday!)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 8, 2015

there's only one you Psa 139

Ways to Pray—the Individual Way

Prayer. Communication. Talking. Praise. Conversation. Contemplation. Confession. Being with. Walking alongside. Adoration. Petition. Silence. Ecstatic utterance. Practicing the presence.

All these ways are ways of prayer, of coming before God. But—which way is the best way? The preferred way? The sure and true way to come into God’s presence?

Prayer can be as natural and effortless as a child nestling in her Heavenly Parent’s lap. Certainly! And, God wants to be accessible at all times. But what about those who are puzzled, who don’t know where to start with this thing called prayer?

Each one of us is unique, and God communicates with each of us in an equally unique way. According to a book called Prayer and Temperament, which uses the personality preferences of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, if individuals deal with the outside world and their inner selves in a certain, specific way, different types of prayer might appeal to them.

This all came from something that Rev. Howell suggested in his trusty prayer guide, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, chapter 9. After some people get into the swing of prayer, we need to strive for more. Strive for maturity. I suggest going with what is challenging, even difficult. Not just with what is easy. Not just with what comes naturally. Even though that is great, too! But stretching, going into what is less familiar, more strange and different. In prayer.

I will use my own experience as an example. Some years ago, I was very hesitant to practice contemplative, or wordless, prayer. I am very word-centered. (I love words, and language, and the spoken word! I relish all sorts of prayer where I make use of the Bible and the written word.) However, I shy away from wordless prayer. Contemplation. Even when I can use one, single word, it is still a challenge for me. However—I realize that God may wish to stretch me, to cause me to grow beyond my comfort zone.

So, from time to time, I do practice contemplative prayer. And—I promise I will use this means of prayer for one month in 2015. But—later. Not yet.

Getting back to differing ways of praying, there are as many ways of praying as there are different types of people. As the authors of Prayer and Temperament say in their Introduction, “if [these suggestions] work for you and help deepen your prayer life and your relationship with God, then make use of them. . . . Think of them as ‘tools’ that are meant to assist your efforts to make contact with God, to maintain this relationship, and to deepen it through your prayer.”[1]

God willing, help us as we pray.

@chaplaineliza

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] Chester P. Michael, Marie C. Norrisey, Prayer and Temperament; The Open Door (Charlottesville VA), 1991.

How Ought I Pray?

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God create in me a clean heart

How Ought I Pray?

Prayer is amazing. Truly! But, not for everyone. That is, not in everyone’s experience.

There are as many different kinds/manners/methods of prayer as there are people involved praying. Each of us is an individual, and each of us has a unique way of coming before God.

A woman I very much admire uses centering prayer regularly. She chooses one single word, and then goes deep. Meditates and prays using that word, for twenty minutes, a half hour at a time. She has kids, who are getting bigger and older now, but that she is able to use centering prayer on a regular basis—with kids around!—is even more astounding to me!)

I have done centering prayer on occasion, too. (My word is often “Emmanuel,” since I am repeatedly amazed at how Jesus comes alongside of us—of me. Emmanuel, God with us.) Although, I have sometimes used other words, like “peace” or “grace,” or “Jesus.” Whatever you choose, it can be a remarkable, quiet, reflective way to pray.

Personally, I really gravitate towards using Scripture to assist me in my prayer time. But that’s me. I enjoy lectio divina and Benedictine rumination. I even use a Bible concordance on occasion, and research the Greek and Hebrew roots, or verbs, or meanings of these various words used in Scripture. And then, I can pray through those words or understandings.

But, on occasion—I find I do not even have words. I cannot frame my yearnings, the deepest wishes or cries of my heart, in intelligible language. It is then that I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit, for coming alongside of me. As a Paraclete, an Advocate. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit is there to intercede for us, right beside us. The blessed Holy Spirit even groans for us, and with us, and is our interpreter. The Spirit brings those requests and cries, too deep for words, before the heavenly Throne Room.

Thank God there is someone who can help me communicate. I have difficulty even communicating, much less with specific situations, events, opportunities and people!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, sweet Holy Spirit, thank You for helping us with our prayers. Sometimes my words come out all crooked, or misshapen. Or, they can be mean and evil towards people I am called to love. Forgive me for my shortcomings. Help me—help us to draw closer to You In prayer, and in every other way. In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net