Tag Archives: wisdom

Meet Christ in the Word

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bible, drawing

Meet Christ in the Word

How to meditate, and why? Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote several recommendations for the Finkenwalde seminarians on how to meditate.

As I have said before, Bonhoeffer was adept at meditation and prayer. What an instructor to have for spiritual direction. He suggests that people ought to rise up from meditation “in a different state from when we sat down. We want to meet Christ in His Word.” [1]

Bonhoeffer had such a high view of scripture. Scripture was where he came to receive what God would like to give to him. Through reading the Bible on a regular basis, each day he gathered information and understanding from God’s Word.

He suggested meeting the Lord each day in the morning. Truthfully, this is difficult for me. I am not a “morning person.” Perhaps, someone of Bonhoeffer’s insight was excited to meet God as early as possible. One of his recommendations is to “lay upon Him everything that preoccupies you and weighs you down, before new burdens are laid upon you.” [2]

This is similar to one of the recommendations of the Twelve Steps, to reflect upon one’s day at day’s end and to set up a virtual ledger, weighing good deeds and bad, and then leaving things with God. (Or, the Higher Power.) As someone with a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, I have spoken with alcoholics, addicts and their loved ones about the wisdom of making mental accounts. Every day we do at least one thing “right” or pleasing in God’s eyes. That is to be celebrated.

“His fellowship, his help, his guidance for the day through his Word—that is the goal.” [3] What an insight into how to meditate! God willing, I might be able to do the same thing.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 24.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 22, 2017

water-lilies-mindful

Prayer. Meditation. Wisdom.

I still have difficulty praying and meditating on a regular basis. Yes, I have had this blog for many months. I strove to be faithful in prayer and meditation for many years before. (Lord, You know I have.) And still, I struggle.

Yet, when I do pray and meditate—on occasion—I can feel the peace and serenity of God come into my heart and mind. Marvelous feeling! (Even when I do not feel the sense of the presence of God surrounding me, much.)

Plus, every now and then, I gain insight, or wisdom, from the prayer and meditation. Every now and then, I find I have discernment that I did not previously realize was there.

See, when we pray and meditate, sometimes long-held internal ideas of resentment, fear, anger, despair and hatred are quietly transformed. In some cases, relationships with other people and with nature can be transformed, too.

When I become aware of this—this discernment, this wisdom beyond myself, I am filled with wonder. How amazing that negative ideas and qualities can quietly transform. As I continue with the prayer and meditation on a regular basis, positive things begin happening on the inside. As teacher Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us, “As we become freer and happier, we cease to act in ways that make others suffer, and we are able to bring about change in ourselves and help others around us.” [1]

God willing, may I become more and more positive. May my mind become more in line with the way Jesus would view my thinking. Dear 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 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 34.

 

PEACE is Knowing God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 11, 2016

IMG_0199

PEACE is Knowing God

Another definition from the North Shore Assembly of God in Skokie. (While there, I discussed the division and animosity becoming so widespread in the public discourse.) I had the joy of hearing from a dear woman. She glowed with a gentle inner peace. I had the opportunity to ask her about her personal definition of PEACE. She gave me that, plus a whole lot more.

Nalini started off telling me that she was not sure what her definition of peace would be. After a little gentle encouragement and a few prompts, she came up with a wonderful definition, followed by an explanation and testimony. Nalini Marati’s personal definition: “PEACE is knowing God. [I can’t explain (in words) the love of God in me.]”

Nalini is a faithful woman of prayer. Deep prayer. Concerted prayer. She was so humble; these things she related to me could come across as boasting or being puffed up. Not Nalini. She told me in her quiet, gentle way, “I have a devotion time every morning. When I pray to God, I have such peace in my heart.”

On top of that, each Friday is a special time of prayer for Nalini. “On Fridays, I set apart time for my Lord, and to meditate on His Word. I talk to Him just like I’m talking to you.” She fasts on Fridays. She drinks only water in the morning and into the afternoon. She gets done with prayer and meditation about mid-afternoon, when she drinks some fruit juice.

Nalini seems to become energized with a quiet, inner energy when she is talking about her prayer time. Her private, personal time with God. The time when she truly feels the peace of God.

I was floored to talk with such a kind, gentle, loving woman of God. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for providing Nalini and her example to me. Thank You for giving us the wisdom and understanding to worship You. To love You. To find the peace that passes human understanding. Thank You, God.

@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

In Prayer, In Parenthood

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 21, 2016

ABBA abba father papa

In Prayer, In Parenthood

I considered parenthood tonight. Partly because of something I read, and partly because of something I watched on television this evening.

Parenthood is such a multi-faceted thing. I know I’ve been a parent for several decades. (Truly.) I know my shortcomings all too well. I suspect I’ve been a good parent, by and large. My children and I have never had this sort of discussion before. Good parent? Bad parent? Indifferent parent? I don’t think I’ve ever asked.

However, I can pray that I will continue to be a good mom, and pray for my children. I pray for several friends, too. I ask for them to be kind, considerate, and warm. In fact, there is no time like the present.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your excellent work at being a Parent. A loving, engaged, caring Parent. I pray for all those who are reading this, who have had less than loving parents. God, help those of us with children still under our care to be patient, loving, and encouraging in the care of those children. Pour out an extra helping of mercy, wisdom and Godly judgment on each one who is a parent, or acting as one. Lord, help explain each mistake. Lord, provide for our shortcomings, and bring others into our lives who will make up for whatever we need assistance with. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear us. Amen.

@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

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 8, 2015

don't let yesterday use up today

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Ah, how difficult it is to face my mistakes! But, what if I sweep my mistakes under the rug, or minimize them, or even pretend they didn’t even happen? That is the sure way to unhappiness. A definite way to unmanageability, too.

If, as the daily meditation (from Keep It Simple) for today reads, I run from my mistakes and try my darnedest to avoid them, they will follow me. [1] However, if I am able to face my personal mistakes, all to the good! (That includes my fear for an awkward or downright unpleasant mistake at work, or with my family, or an acquaintance. Just to mention a few situations, of course.)

The reading today points out that “Native American culture teaches us that all mistakes in life are gifts. The gift is that we are all given a chance to learn.” [2] Yes, I can find lessons in practically every mistake I ever made. Isn’t hindsight called twenty/twenty?

Yes, I can ask my Higher Power for help. I can pray to God as I understand God for the knowledge and wisdom to acknowledge my mistakes, not to cover them up. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my humble 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 my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 8 reading.

[2] Ibid.

God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 16, 2015

serenity prayer small

God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity

The Serenity Prayer?

Today’s prayer is about Acceptance. This prayer is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). It comes under the section “As It Is in Heaven” (Prayer 301, page 96) from The Oxford Book of Prayer. [1] Pastor Niebuhr finally claimed this prayer a few years after it was first written and distributed. He included it in a wartime prayer book, and also in a sermon in 1943.

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

This is but a part of the entire, longer form of the prayer now known as the Serenity Prayer. This brief petition and prayer asking for acceptance and wisdom serves countless people today, and has since its first distribution. Bill W., one of the founders of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, brought the Serenity Prayer (slightly adapted) to the attention of those in the early 12 Step program. It caught on quickly, and soon became an integral part of the program of Recovery.

O Lord, give me grace. Give me acceptance. Give me serenity. I could ask You to give them all to me right now! But, that would be both impatient and childish of me. (I’m thinking of Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)

God, I want to have courage. No, I don’t want it quite as badly as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, but I still feel the need of it. Courage would help me in changing the things that need changing.

And, what about wisdom? I feel like Winnie the Pooh most of the time. (A Bear of Very Little Brain.) However, I know as I continue to walk with God and do the next right thing, the next loving thing, wisdom will come. My contact with God’s wisdom will grow.

Thy will, not mine, be done, O Lord.

@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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 96.

What Thou Wouldst Have Us Do

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 15, 2015

clock - old vintage watch

What Thou Wouldst Have Us Do

I write this post on a computer laptop, in my post-World War II apartment in the Chicago suburbs, sprinkled with a few late-20th and -21st century contrivances. (Moreover, I am certain there are people living in my area who pride themselves on being up to the minute, in terms of the latest technological devices.) The Oxford Book of Prayer? So many of my contemporaries in the Chicago area are so not on this particular wavelength. Some would wonder why on earth I was reading such an esoteric, paper-bound book.

Yet—the words of the prayer I chose for today seem to me to be timeless, whether we are talking about the 1st century, or the 21st. This prayer by William Bright (1824-1901) in Ancient Collects concerns “As It Is In Heaven.” (Prayer 286, page 93) [1] Today’s prayer is about Guidance.

O God! You are so willing to guide us, to dispense Your light on any who ask of You! Yet, my way seems so dark, so often. Gracious God, I ought to remember Your generous offer much more frequently than I actually experience it.

Now, here is the real request and action-word of this collect. (Not to mention, my doubts and uncertainties … dear Lord, that’s my low self-esteem rearing its ugly head once again.) Grant us—grant me!!—grace to ask You what it is that You would have me to do! I remind myself not to go haring off on some wild goose chase, or to summarily ask You to rubber-stamp something I’ve cooked up on my own.

Ah, the Spirit of Wisdom. I am not as familiar with that as I ought to be, Lord. Yes, Wisdom is mentioned in some detail in Proverbs, and I pored over those chapters some years ago. But—that was some years ago. My first inclination is to say, “Forgive me for not staying current.” But then, I remember You understand me better than I do myself.

God, this collect asks that You “save us from all false choices.” (!!!) That phrase, alone, is a worthy prayer! That phrase, alone, is something for me to take, chew upon, ruminate over, and thoroughly pray to You. And, lastly, perhaps my favorite phrase of this whole prayer: that “in Thy straight path [we] may not stumble.” Ah, especially in my circuitous paths and mental meanderings, I so need the reminder of Your straight path.

I fall at Your feet, in a humble tumble, gracious God. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we earnestly pray.

@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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 93.