Tag Archives: www.dailyoffice.org

Be Present, O Merciful God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 25, 2015

mercy and grace crossing

Be Present, O Merciful God

It’s a good thing God has big ears and can hear a whole lot of people praying at one time. It’s a good thing God is merciful. A number of people I know are crying out to God right now. And, it’s a good thing God is present. I mean, really here. (Or, wherever people need God to be.)

As I read through the Evening Prayer on www.dailyoffice.org tonight, I came to an abrupt halt as I read through one of the collects for the evening. Just before the private, free time of intercession. I have it handy. “Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The beginning and ending of this section gives me no problems. I can agree with every word—from the first and last parts of the prayer. But God, the part of the prayer that particularly throws me this evening is “we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness.”

Just out of curiosity, I put the sentence above into the search bar on my computer. Lo and behold, I found this, from the Diocese of Mississippi. A notice for a spiritual formation retreat. ‘Life is full of transitions. Some are chosen while others are thrust upon us. Within each of these moments of change and adjustment there come opportunities to encounter God in unique ways. This retreat will provide an occasion to explore the transitional moments in our lives and discover anew the One who abides with us in “external changelessness.”’ [1]

What a thought. God abides with each of us in external changelessness, even while we are going through transitional moments. Yet, we can encounter God at work, at home, in the hospital, even as we travel from place to place.

Each and every moment is so often a transition from one thing to the next. It just so happens that many people in my acquaintance are going through awful things right now. Or, their loved ones are. So difficult to bear. The weight of the knowledge and sometimes even the despair.

Yet, God’s changelessness is so much greater than the transitions you or I or your neighbors or my friends or the people across town or—you get the idea. God is forever the same. Loving, constant, faithful, caring—praise God, we can encounter this God, for real.

@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] http://www.dioms.org/digital_faith/events/3160983

Wonderful, and Not-So-Wonderful Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 23, 2015

no borders to prayer

Wonderful, and Not-So-Wonderful Prayer

Ever experience a sparkling summer day? Gorgeous weather, low-key happenings, enjoyable experiences. All around, my husband and I had an absolutely sparkling day. Enjoyable in every way.

Except—my effervescence deflated once I got on line this evening and started reading the news. Reading about people becoming seriously ill. (I’m praying for you, Mr. Carter.) People injured and dying all over the country. Wildfires, crashes, a devastating typhoon, internationally.

I turn to God, in horror. I run to God, in dismay. I clutch to my heart this versicle and response (the beginning part of the Evening Prayer): “O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.” God, as countless people have, throughout the centuries, I cry to You.

As I reflect on the words of this prayer from www.dailyoffice.org – I think of re-entry into the world. The folks from that online congregation had their first ever retreat this past weekend, at a retreat center in Indiana. What a greeting the participants will receive as they come back to their daily lives.

As I pray for these serious situations mentioned from around the country and even around the world, so I pray for those who have been nourished and strengthened by joining in a retreat together. I thank God for Vicar Josh and for all who worship using the Daily Office website. God be with us all, regardless of circumstances.

Thank God that God will be with each one of us, no matter who we are, no matter where we are. No matter whether we had an enjoyable summer’s day, or a serious challenge come up in the middle of the day. Or evening. Or middle of the night. Thank You, God, for Your presence, always with each one of us.

@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

Communion-Colored Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 22, 2015

little lamb

Communion-Colored Prayer

I prayed through the Evening Prayer from www.dailyoffice.org on my laptop this evening. I noticed one piece of the service, in particular. In the Collect for Saturday, a portion of this prayer read as follows: “Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

This part of the Saturday prayer always seemed to just “be there.” Never particularly standing out for me. I know I come from a Reformed tradition that doesn’t ordinarily observe Communion (or, the Eucharist) on a weekly basis. The congregation I serve observes Communion on the first Sunday of the month. (I wonder whether that frequency colors the way I view the Collect for Saturday? Interesting thought. I will need to meditate on that for a while.)

However, tonight this part of the prayer—the Paschal mystery part—stood out for me. Front and center, as my dad used to say.

I was so curious I went to the Episcopal Church’s website and looked up Paschal Mystery. Here’s some of what I found. “Paschal means pertaining to Easter (the Pascha) and to its antecedent the Hebrew Passover. The Passover has the promise of redemption and the gift of freedom at the Red Sea. In the NT, the Paschal concept includes Jesus’ death and resurrection, the ascension and gift of the Holy Spirit, baptism, the calling of a new people from every nation and language, and participation in the mystery through eating and drinking with our Risen Lord.” [1]

Wow! That’s most of what I preached in my sermon tonight!

I filled the pulpit for a pastor friend who’s away on vacation this week. I preached on John 6, the bread of life come down from heaven. This statement on the Paschal Mystery from the Episcopal Church hit most of the highlights. Also, I had the opportunity to celebrate communion tonight with the congregation I visited.

I think the combination of the sermon I preached, the Scripture passage I read, and the opportunity to observe communion all contributed to my particular notice of this Collect for Saturday. All three of these factors helped me to reach more deeply in my prayers tonight. To come before God in a different way this evening.

Thanks, God, for a new appreciation of the Paschal Mystery. Truly, I had never really reflected on that particular phrase, until tonight. Dear Lord, help me to bring that appreciation and joy into my worship of You tomorrow morning. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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] http://archive.episcopalchurch.org/109399_14976_ENG_HTM.htm

Poetic Expressions in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, August 21, 2015

PRAY talk to God about it

Poetic Expressions in Prayer

I find myself struck, often times, by the beauty of the poetry found in these nightly prayers. Throughout the millennia, individuals have been moved to set down their impressions of God and God’s mighty works. Or God’s abundant promises, fulfilled. Or, God’s forgiveness and blessing. I see this poetry in the Psalms, as well as in songs, canticles and other passages in the Scripture.

I also find beautiful poetry addressed to God, written by sensitive persons throughout the centuries. This comes from books and writings from diverse places like North Africa, the Fertile Crescent and Mesopotamia, as well as crisscrossing Europe.

I’m particularly moved by these two phrases: “Keep us, Lord, as the apple of Your eye; Hide us under the shadow of Your wings.” This (unattributed) verse comes from Psalm 17:8.

O Lord, the apple of Your eye. That’s pretty much the same as the pupil of the eye. The center part. And, hidden under the shadow of Your wings? One of the commentators I read made mention of this image being one of the more favored biblical images, written about the mother bird caring for her young. Just as Your people have written. These and similar metaphors and similies, for centuries.

How touching to include this well beloved verse each night in the Evening Prayer. Dear Lord, thank You for the website www.dailyoffice.org. I pray for each one who uses this website, as well as the friends of the Daily Office, on retreat near Indianapolis. 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.

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

Prayer for Those Who Are Exhausted

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, August 20, 2015

praying hands 2

Prayer for Those Who Are Exhausted

I thank God for my job. Really, I do. I am doing what I love, working for people I care for, dearly. I know many people in the United States do not like their jobs, and I feel badly for them. I know. I was in that situation, and I spent several years in that purgatory. Now, thank God, it’s over, and I have the joy of doing something I really, truly enjoy.

I thought of that because of the Scripture passage included in Evening Prayer, tonight. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) All those who labor, and are heavy-laden? I learned that, when trying to understand a verse of Scripture more deeply, verbs are important. Verbs tell me a huge amount.

In the case of the first verb, “labor,” we are looking at an active verb. My goodness, just reading this verse I get exhausted. “Are heavy-laden?” This is a passive participle. One of the commentaries I looked at said “weighed down as with a heavy burden.” [1] Again, as I read this verse, I begin to feel the weight of the labor, the heaviness of the toil and busyness.

Some people I know, some people I’m acquainted with are among those who just work a job for a paycheck. Then there are some people I know who find a great deal of encouragement and support from their jobs. And yet, each of us has that God-shaped hole deep inside.

Jesus says He is going to give us rest. Again, Meyer’s Commentary says “to secure the true peace of your souls.” I want that true peace. I no longer want to function as semi-Christian, semi-pacifist. Semi-anything.

I’m grateful for the website www.dailyoffice.org tonight, too. The prayers for Morning and Evening faithfully appear each day. I’d like to lift up Vicar Josh and his friends who have gone to a retreat center in Indiana, as of this afternoon. Josh and a number of other friends will be on retreat for the weekend. God’s blessings and refreshment to all!

Dear Lord, gracious God, I pray for all those who indeed are heavy laden. Lighten their burdens. Assist them as they labor—work. Lord, please give me peace. Give all of us Your serenity. Let us rest in You. In Jesus’ powerful, mighty, and loving name I pray. 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] Meyer’s New Testament Commentary, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/11-28.htm

Prayer, and Preparing for Bed

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

can't sleep--talk to God

Prayer, and Preparing for Bed

Evening Prayer is a comforting way to prepare for bed. Tonight, I had some situations on my mind. Some people who I am praying for. Just in case anyone is new here, I am a small church pastor. And, I love to lead others in prayer. I pray on prayer teams, too, as well as pray for myself. All of the above.

I love the fact that Evening Prayer (as well as Morning Prayer, too!) has some specific space in which to remember our friends and loved ones in prayer. Thanks, Vicar Josh, for providing us with such excellent prayers each day at www.dailyoffice.org !

The sentence in the Prayer that reached out to me today is: “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night.” This part of the prayer comes near the close of the brief Compline service.

Yes, I could remember when I often worked through the night. As a chaplain in the hospital, the pager kept on paging. People kept dying. Traumas kept happening. Ambulances kept coming in to the Emergency Department. But, just because I was often awake through the night, I thought of all those who also work an overnight shift. Not only police, firefighters, and EMT’s, but just think of all of those in a hospital. Doctors, nurses, CNA’s, therapists. All of the support personnel, no matter where they work. (Including chaplains.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, bless all of those I just mentioned. Not only at the hospitals where I worked, but also at care centers throughout Chicago. In all fifty states. Gracious God, guide their hands, guard their hearts, protect them, their loved ones and families. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. 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

Prayer for Friends, Part Two

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 18, 2015

praying hands stained glass

Prayer for Friends, Part Two

It helps when friends pray for each other. I know. I’ve felt the prayers when I really needed them.

I’ve been praying for a dear friend who is in the middle of a yucky situation. Lo and behold, the Psalm chosen for Tuesday night on the www.dailyoffice.org website is Psalm 91. And, the first two verses of the Psalm are as follows:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, * abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my stronghold, * my God in whom I put my trust.””

These two verses are enough to give me courage, and encouragement. “Dwells in the shelter?” That means putting down roots. Not just camping for a night or two. “Most High:” God = the Highest thing, spatially speaking.[1] “Abides.” Again, staying for awhile! “Under the shadow of the Almighty:” I can’t help but think of the rough terrain of much of the Holy Land. Shade would certainly be desired, especially in the heat of the day. Thus, the Almighty would be able to provide a tremendous amount of shade.

I hope God is listening. (Are You, God?)

Dear Lord, thank You for these wonderful promises written by the Psalmist in Psalm 91. I pray that all of them may quickly come true for my dear friend, and my friend’s family! While I’m at it, I pray these wonderful promises for me and my family, too. Lord, You are a mighty God. You are our Refuge and Stronghold. (The Psalm says so!) And, You are totally trustworthy. Thank You for hearkening to all of our prayers. Amen, and 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] http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/god-names-of.html

Prayer, When Friends Really Need It

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, August 17, 2015

PRAY hug friends with prayers

Prayer, When Friends Really Need It

Turns out, I have a friend who really, really needs prayer. My friend lives out of state, so I can’t just dash out to have a cup of coffee with this friend whenever I feel like it. No, I need to plan a visit. Take the time and intentionally decide to go see my friend.

Which is no problem! Believe me, I enjoy this friend’s company so much. I enjoy the whole family! But, it makes me sad that I can’t just run across town any time I get a spare moment and have a cuppa or a bite to eat with my dear friend.

As I read these lines at the beginning of the Evening Prayer tonight on the website www.dailyoffice.org – I immediately thought of my friend’s situation. “O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.“

Lord, why won’t You help my friend? Save, make speed, make haste. Why won’t You do any of that? It certainly doesn’t seem like it makes any difference at all. AT ALL.

(Sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted.) But, I feel upset! I feel angry. I feel discouraged. And, I am not even in the middle of that yucky situation.

Let’s pray for my dear friend. And for the yucky, continuing situation.

Dear Lord, gracious God, You know my dear friend. You know the whole situation. You can bring positive things out of all the nonsense that is happening. You can work wonders. I’m asking for that, right now. I am not sure quite what it is that You will do, but I am asking. As Psalm 31 tells me, “deliver me in your righteousness. Incline your ear to me; *
make haste to deliver me. Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe.”

Dear God, I pray all of that for my friend, and even more!

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. Especially my friend’s prayers.

@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 for Safety and Sleep

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 16, 2015

God calms storms in your life Psalm 110

Praying for Safety and Sleep

As I read and prayed through the Evening Prayers from http://www.dailyoffice.org this evening, a verse from the Psalm made me come to a complete stop. I sat and stared at this verse from Psalm 4, wishing with all my heart that it could be true for me. True for me tonight, and most nights, for that matter.

“I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; *for only you, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

I haven’t been getting very much sleep lately. At the risk of Too Much Information, my husband and I don’t have any air conditioning in our apartment. Yes, I grew up in Chicago. Yes, I know that the Chicago area gets uncomfortably hot on frequent occasions in the summer. And lastly, I know this fitful sleep at night is due—in great part—to the heat and humidity.

But, I can still wish, can’t I?

The second thought that came to me is that of a week-long seminar I attended in July, where I had the joy of learning from a pre-eminent biblical scholar, Dr. Ken Bailey. Ken taught on the Shepherd passages from both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. This verse reminds me so strongly of Psalm 23, and what King David had to say about the sheep under his care.

Psalm 4 is also a Psalm of David. And, it also deals with challenging circumstances. David knew what he was talking about, that was sure! I don’t think God would leave David high and dry. I don’t mean for anyone to think the less of themselves, just in case God seems like God is leaving you high and dry! (God forbid.)

However, I know the feeling, let me say. I have felt that God has left me alone, all by myself, with no one to help me. It was real. And, I felt that way a number of times, over the years. Thank God I don’t feel like that right now. Instead, I feel a strong connection with God now. And, I can affirm, amen!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for watching out for King David. Thank You for caring for him and his friends, all during that wandering in the wilderness, running from King Saul for years. Thank You for caring for me, all during the times of uncertain employment and unemployment, no health insurance, and the extended health problems of my loved ones. And, I pray that You might give encouragement and support to anyone reading this post today. Touch each person. Help them know that You love each one! And, You will never leave them, never forsake them. Never, ever. Thank You, 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 a Lament to God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, August 14, 2015

prayer candles on blue cloth

Praying a Lament to God

The rhythm of the nights fall into place. It has been two weeks now that I’ve read the Evening Prayer (or Compline) from the website www.dailyoffice.org – and much of the nightly readings are the same. Yet, some of each reading is different, too.

Although much of the daily prayers are the same, each night has a different psalm portion. And, each night has a different scripture passage, too. Short, almost pithy, in comparison to the lengthier scripture readings from the Morning Prayers.

I was intrigued by the short, two-verse snippet from Jeremiah tonight. So intrigued, that I went to an online commentary to find out more about it. Turns out that instead of a prophetic word from the Lord, Jeremiah chapter 14 was more of a lament.

Rev. Bryan Findlayson writes in the Lectionary Bible Studies, “The people of Israel are His; they belong to Him. Yet, the Lord is aloof, distant from his people. So Jeremiah asks, why is the all-forgiving-one estranged from His people? Jeremiah cries out on behalf of the people, “do not forsake us!””

Dear God, so often, Your ways are clouded in mystery. At least, I have often found them so. I have cried, along with Jeremiah, “Do not forsake me!” I’m sorry. I know I ought to put my trust and faith in You. But, I just can’t, sometimes. Dear God, please give me faith and trust enough. Thanks for listening! And, thanks for answering.

@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 .