Tag Archives: worry

Prayer: An Expression of Hope

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 9, 2018

HOPE scrabble

Prayer: An Expression of Hope

Depression, fear, worry, anxiety. When these things creep into my life, I feel like I am suddenly walking through chest-high water. It can be so difficult to get through a day, even an hour. I have friends and relatives who deal with depression and anxiety, too. Yes, it can be more than a challenge to keep one’s head above water.

When Father Nouwen quoted from Bertold Brecht, I felt the words deep inside. Because—sometimes I feel that way. Not as much as before, but still, sometimes. Here is the quote:

“As it is, it will stay/What we want will never come.” [1]

Life without prayer, life without hope—that is what those words reflected inside of me. Father Nouwen said, “If you believe this way, life stands still. Spiritually, you are dead. There can be life and there can be movement only when you no longer accept things as they are now, and you look ahead toward that which is not yet.” [2]

That is hope. That is what can be, if we believe in prayer. Although, prayer seems to be more about asking than about hoping.

When I have hope somewhere inside of me (no matter how deep it is), I have more ability to go forward. I have dragged myself along when I have been in deep depression, or filled with fear or anxiety. At times, it has been a difficult journey. (Like walking through chest-high water.. But, I repeat myself.)

Thank God I know that God always has ears wide open to my cries, and arms ready to receive me when I stumble and fall into them. Dear Lord, help me to have hope. Hope in prayer, and hope in You and Your faithfulness. Help me to believe, to hope, and to pray more easily.

Thanks, God.

@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, 1972), 39.

[2] Ibid.

Just Sit There—and Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, January 10, 2017

sit-in-pew-praying

Just Sit There—and Pray

“Don’t just sit there—do something!”

These words, above, are not the best of advice. I have found that I do better when I take my time, and consider my actions. Thich Nhat Hanh has much better advice: sit, and do nothing. (At least, initially. And, sometimes, more often that.)

Non-action is already an action. (So, there.) Plus, as the good monk says in the book “How to Sit,” “The quality of the action depends upon the quality of the non-action.” [1]

I sincerely try to avoid anger and worry. If I have even a little of anger and concern inside, I find it gums up the works.

It’s part of my One-Day-At-A-Time way of living. I don’t always succeed in living this way, but ODAAT certainly helps me in being mindful. This way of thinking I have always found to be positive. Just taking my time, being thoughtful, thankful, and mindful.

Thanks, God! Great suggestions.

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 21.

@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

Pray for Freedom from Anxiety

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 8, 2016

worry do not be anxious - Jesus

Pray for Freedom from Anxiety

Freedom from restlessness and anxiety? Oh, yes! That sounds absolutely marvelous. Even though I know—intellectually—that worry, restlessness and anxiety are not positive or beneficial for me, still…

This prayer (233) from The Oxford Book of Prayer is unattributed. (I might assume that it could be written by the same author as the next prayer, but I am not certain. And, the book does not say.) Regardless, this touching prayer asks for “that peace and power which flow from Thee.” [1] I get the impression of a strong, flowing river. Not wild, not rushing out of control, but more than a trickle! And, faster than a meandering backwater, too.

Imagine, God’s peace and power. Not just puny little human attempts at peace. And not just flawed, human weakling efforts at power. God is helping now. God will take care of it. And me. And, you, too.

If I am upheld by God’s strength and secure in the Rock of my salvation (also known as the Rock of God’s faithfulness), is there any way I can be lost? Or, unhappy? Or, anxious? At least, the God I know would not have been distant or oblivious to God’s children who needed help.

Dear Lord, gracious God. Thank You for being there, and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 for showing grace and mercy to me—to all of us. God, I long for Your strength and power to make themselves evident in my life. Thank You for Your upholding here in this world, and even more so for Your freedom in the world to come. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

P.S. Watch this space for Pursuing PEACE. A Project that is also a listening tour. Listen. Share. Pursue PEACE. Coming for Lent!

@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), 80.

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jer 29-11 I know the plans I have for you

Prayer, Relationships, and Finances

Finances are the very devil, sometimes.

Between worry about where finances are coming from, complaints or disagreements about where the money is going, and awkwardness concerning spending, saving, and general consumption of available finances? Yes, I would say money can be the very devil. Sometimes.

That’s why I want to pray for relationships and finances.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for helping us to be good stewards of all You have given to us. Encourage each of us to be honest, open and willing with all that we have and are—in terms of time, talents, and especially treasure. All we have and are comes from You. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart.

Lord, I ask that You provide for all of our needs. You know how desperate some of them are. Especially in times of such uncertainty of many different kinds, give us wisdom and understanding with finances. I praise You for Your loving-kindness, mercy and grace extended towards each of us, especially for those who are crushed with uncertainty, anxiety, debt, illness and unemployment. Dear Lord, give comfort where it is needed, and help to those who are hopeless and sinking. Gracious, loving God, in Your mercy, we earnestly pray. 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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

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!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

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

Praying, Giving My Cares to God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 15, 2015

Praying, Giving My Cares to God

As I finish praying the Evening Prayers tonight, I come to this antiphon (or, conclusion for this part of the service). “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” This antiphon is repeated twice, near the end of the Evening Prayers.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past couple of decades of bible reading and study: if any word, phrase or sentence is repeated, it’s usually important to someone, for something in particular.

Okay. I went to what is quickly becoming my go-to source for finding out more about Evening Prayer (or, Compline): the website for the Church of England (see below, in the footnote). Behold!

“The service concludes with
a calling on God for protection through the coming night
¶ a simple blessing[1]

So, my part in this antiphon is as follows. First, I pray that, when awake, I may watch with Christ. I wouldn’t want to get caught sleeping, like the three disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then, I need to watch with Christ. Watch like a watchman on the city walls or at the gates.

Second, when I sleep (NOT if, but WHEN), I am to rest peacefully. That’s quietly. “Rest in peace.” That is what is commonly said about people, after they die. In all truthfulness, people are often tied in knots of worry, anxiety and despair. But, Jesus says this is not the way to deal with life. Or, rather, to hide from life. Instead, we are to trust God to take away our worry, anxiety and despair. Jesus can handle it

Thanks, Lord, for this deep, heartfelt reminder. Help me to follow You, on a regular basis. And, not just when my tendency is to ignore You. Alleluia, amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

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 .

[1] https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/daily2/night/introstructurenotes.aspx

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penitence - Larry Poncho Brown

Penitence – Larry Poncho Brown

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. I’ve been doing so much already, it seems like a day-and-a-half has been packed into just a few short hours. Yes, most of what I’ve been doing today is quite necessary. But what does God want from me today? I really ought to slow down and check in with God. See what I need to do to help my spiritual self stay right with my Higher Power.

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of preparation before Easter. Today is also Ash Wednesday, a day of holy penitence, confession and absolution. I take the Lenten observance of the cross of ashes on the forehead as a serious, penitential act. But I find I’m not acting like it today. Sure, I’m doing necessary stuff, busy stuff. But I need to slow down. Do some inward reflection on my habitual thoughts, words and deeds. And most importantly, I am advised to do some inward reflection on the state of my soul.

First, before I can even confess my sins of thought, word and deed, and then even ask for God’s forgiveness (much less accept it into my heart and mind), I need to slow down enough to focus on spiritual things. I need to attend to things of God, and not to be distracted by the world. Or even by needful, necessary things that take my eyes off where they need to be. God, help me focus on You, on your forgiveness, grace and mercy.

As I turn to inward reflection, meditation and prayer, I also reflect upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After all, He is the reason that I am here, in prayer. His words to us—to me—to come to Him with our—my heavy burdens. It is Jesus who gives rest to the weary, the sinful, the world-worn. To those burdened with care, with worry, with anger, with unforgiveness, with resentment. God invites me to release all those negative, worrisome mental states and attitudes. God blesses me with the forgiveness of those sinful thoughts, words and deeds of commission (what I’ve done) as well as omission (those I have neglected to do).

Instead of merely writing about confession, forgiveness and pardon, all intellectual-like, let’s actually do it. Let’s pray.

Dear God, We confess to You that we have sinned. Each of us has stubbornly turned to our own way, like those sheep Isaiah talks about. Forgive me, God. Wash me clean, make me white as snow, dear God. Have mercy on me—on us, in Your loving-kindness. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in Your grace and mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza