Tag Archives: welcoming

Starting Point for Prayer and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 10, 2017


Starting Point for Prayer and Meditation

When starting to pray and meditate, different people have different ways to focus. Different starting points, or prompts. When Thich Nhat Hanh talks about meditation, he is often speaking of mindful meditation, in the Buddhist tradition. Meditation and prayer cross the borders of many different faith traditions and belief structures. I would very much like to practice my type of prayer and meditation as fully, deeply and thoroughly as this Buddhist teacher.

As Thich Nhat Hanh describes the beginning of his meditation and prayer, he talks of a bell. A simple bell, struck once or twice, can be a marvelous focus for one’s mind. After a person hears the bell sound, then the different parts of the human—intellect, thoughts, feelings, perceptions—can come together. It is then that a person is enabled to think with clarity.

This got me to thinking: what kinds of starting points for prayer and meditation was I used to?

I do not believe there is any other audible start to prayer and meditation except “Let us pray.” Not in my tradition of prayer, anyway.  Except—I have borrowed a cross-cultural way of meditation. I have started meditation with a bell a few times. This has been a pleasant and welcoming experience for me. A welcome starting point.

Gracious God, Thich Nhat Hanh has a lot of good ideas, including such a positive starting point. Thank You for such wonderful examples for me in this life. I ask to be as faithful as Thich Nhat Hanh in my prayer and meditation life, today. 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

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

PEACE: Understanding, Acceptance, Advocacy

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 22, 2016


PEACE: Understanding, Acceptance, Advocacy

I’m embarking on another venue today, another place where I asked people for their personal definitions of PEACE. I appreciate Oakton Community College for allowing me to come in to the space adjacent to the cafeteria and set up a table. And, I am grateful to the Oakton Christian Fellowship for sitting by me and providing a welcome.

I had a number of excellent conversations over lunch time today. The first one was with Allison. Her personal definition of PEACE: understanding, acceptance, and advocacy.

When I asked Allison to tell me more, she was happy to! “Everyone has their own different perspectives on peace. All are valid.” In short, she told me how each person has their own unique understanding, coming from their individual family of origin and their own life experiences. She went on: “True peace can only exist when we are not killing or hurting each other. Peace really is community. When we understand and accept each other.”

Allison used such a welcoming way to describe PEACE. She expressed the understanding that each person can have a different way of describing peace, of interpreting open and welcoming thoughts, words and actions. Yes. All of these are so beneficial when considering PEACE!

Dear God, on such an unpeaceful day, calm hearts. Encourage those who are fearful. Support those who are traumatized. Spread Your love and peace through all hearts that sorely need it. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.


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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

Make the Door of God’s House a Gateway to God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 10, 2015

University of Chicago snowgram, 2-1-15

Make the Door of God’s House a Gateway to God

Doing. “What doing?” Years ago, I remember my toddler daughter asking me, or her Auntie Sue, or her Grandma. That little piping voice, so curious. “What doing?” So interested in everything. I ask myself today: What am I doing? What—more importantly—am I doing for God? And, on God’s behalf?

Today’s prayer is about Doing. The prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 211, pages 73-74) [1] I am going to put the whole prayer here, because it touched my heart in so many places. It moved me in such interesting ways.

“O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife.

“Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power.

“God make the door of this house the gateway to Thine eternal kingdom.”

The editor of the Book of Prayer mentions this prayer being inscribed on the door of St. Stephen’s Church, Walbrook, which is located inside the City of London. Bishop Thomas Ken is listed as author. The prayer is also found in the King’s Chapel Prayer Book (from King’s Chapel, one of the oldest churches in Boston).

So, yes. This prayer has a pedigree. But, this prayer is also inclusive, welcoming, encouraging, and strengthening.

Inclusive, because all humans need love and fellowship. Welcomed, because envy, pride and strife ought to be dis-invited. Encouraged, so that all who stray feel the warmth and love of Christ. Strengthened, since God and God’s power are more than enough to banish the tempter’s power.

Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to focus on the ideas behind this prayer, and not simply mouth the words. Help me follow through with the actions written here, and be filled with Your presence and Your love and mercy for all of these, the least of these. In Your mercy, Lord, hear my prayer.


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), 73-74.

Waiting in silence

A few days ago, one of the passages I meditated on in prayer was the beginning of Psalm 62. I don’t always pray with a specific passage of Scripture in mind, but recently I’ve been using a method of prayer called Benedictine Rumination. (ruminating or chewing repetitively on Scripture—I’ll have to talk more about that, soon)

I was struck by the first part of the first verse of Psalm 62. “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Wow. I’ll say it again. Wow!

Sometimes, when I encourage my mind, body and spirit to enter into prayer, I feel myself sinking into prayer. This particular prayer time was one of those times. Leaving behind the hurry, the hustle and bustle, the noise, everything distracting or worrisome. I felt a welcome from God, and the gentle silence. Open, friendly, peaceful presence.

Sadly, I was not able to stay there during the whole prayer time. However, I had experienced it for part of it. I knew it was there. I was able to tap into that warm presence, that gentle silence, for some of the time. I really needed it! I sure could use it on a regular basis, God!

I understand that silence is something that makes some people uncertain. Even anxious. Not me. (that is, usually) But I have a difficult time getting there. Your warm, gracious welcoming arms are waiting for me, I know. Thanks for being there. And thanks for being warm and welcoming, instead of cold and distant.

Let’s pray. Dear God, sometimes it’s difficult to enter into prayer, much less break into Your gentle silence. Please help me to leave worry, anxiety and hurry behind. Forgive me for focusing on sad things, angry feelings, and hurt places in my life. I know Your presence is waiting. Thanks for making Your warm, gracious silence available, any time I need it. Any time I want it. Thanks, God. Amen.