Lately I have felt the impulse to sing to God before beginning my nightly prayers. St. Francis says: “He who sings prays twice.” I miss that part of worship in church so I have decided to use it at home. The song that has continued in my heart is How Great Thou Art.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
This was the scripture today from Bible Gateway. It resonates with me. Sometimes we do ask but the things we ask for are not important. Sometimes we ask for important things and don’t get the answer we want.
That makes it easy to think that prayer doesn’t matter. It seems as if no one is listening. However, God is always listening. His love and caring are with us every moment. He hears the prayers and understands our fears and pains.
Prayer matters. Don’t give up because you things it doesn’t matter. Don’t stop because you think it has to be a formal kind of prayer. Just speak your heart. God hears.
Today I cleaned out a file cabinet and found some things I wrote a while ago. This one stood out to me and I kept it out so I could think about it. It was written after re-reading the beatitudes in Matthew 5.
- Turn loose of your pride and know that you are not the most important thing in the world. Forget “I can do anything better than you” and substitute ” together we can do anything.”
- Remember when everything is gone…God is still there.
- Be content with what you have. Remember the most important thing is to have a relationship with God.
- Look for God and he will find you. When you are filled with God nothing else is needed.
- Remember Christ’s commandment. Love the Lord you God with all your heart and all your soul and all you mind and your neighbor as yourself.
- Clean out the closet in yourself. Git rid of the grudges and pain you still carry for no reason. Let God fill those places.
- Be the peacemaker. Don’t take sides. Be part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.
- Be different. Be unusual enough that someone asks “why do you act that way?” And you can answer “because I follow Christ.”
Religion is a way of walking, not a way of talking. Dean William R. Inge
Too often we spend a lot of time talking about our faith. We tend to forget that talking is only the very smallest part of what we are to do as Christians. It’s what we do when we walk out of the door of the church that matters. People know us by our actions.
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere….in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. Mother Teresa in No Greater Love
My husband says he likes to hunt but I don’t remember him ever killing anything. He just likes to sit in the silence in the woods and observe God’s beautry around him. He communes with creation. Most of us just walk by a beauriful flower or miss the glorious sunset. We don’t know how to silence our hearts and see God’s beautiful world.
Prayer: Give us, Lord, the ability to find that silence of the heart. In its center let us learn about the needs of your world and act on those needs. AMEN
God does not stop loving us every time we do something wrong, and neither should we stop loving ourselves and each other for being less than perfect.Harold Kushner in How Good Do We Have to Be?
We can be very angry when someone else makes a mistake. We even get angry at ourselves when we can’t do things the right way. We are hard on ourselves and others. We ostracize people, and turn others against them. We are not very forgiving. We may say “I forgive you” and still hold a grudge. We are not very kind.
If we ask God’s forgiveness he will forgive us. We have to believe that we are forgiven. Sometimes that is hard to accept. Also forgiving others requires work on our part. We have to live out the forgiveness whether it is there or not. Eventually it will come.
Fear is something that we all experience. Whether it is something simple like going to the dentist or something horribly frightening. I don’t know about you but I can keep turning my fears over to God and then immediately pick them back up. Sometimes I just don’t want to think about them and don’t share them in my prayers. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a quote from Franklin Roosevelt and it is so true. Experiencing fear is what causes us distress. Let go of that fear. Turn it over to Jesus in your prayers. He can handle it.
Jesus promises that he will meet us in the experience of fear. He tells us, “remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Tell Jesus about your fear. If you’re afraid even to talk with Jesus about your fear, then start there: why it is that you are afraid to talk to Jesus about your fear? Tell him! Jesus is all ears. Jesus has an open heart. And he is waiting.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
When I think too much of myself, Turn my thoughts toward someone else. Anonymous, twentieth century Japan
I have been using prayers from the book Woman Prayers by Mary Ford-Grabowsky. There are some wonderful prayers in this book. This one jumped out at me today. I have so often been concentrated on myself and my problems and not thought enough about others. It is an easy trap to fall into.
Turning our thoughts to others will add perspective to our own life. Look around you at those whose needs are great. See those whose pain may be hidden. See those who are afraid to ask for help.
See others and take the focus from yourself.
John 13:34-35 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Today I realized that I haven’t written in quite a while and need to get back to posting. I have been thinking about this quote.
To know the guidance of God’s Spirit, you need to be still and silent. In the cadence of your day, create some enclosures of silence where you pause and breathe and are really present to God’s presence.
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist
It is important to take that time to rest in silence with God. Don’t expect for something to always come to you. It doesn’t matter. Just sitting silent and turning toward God is enough. Some people like to use the name “Jesus” over and over to focus their thoughts. Sometimes music helps. The music from the Taize community is particularly helpful. Here is one that could be used. Watch the beautiful scenes or close your eyes and just move into the song.
I have discovered how to make a playlist for my Alexa and have had fun collecting some of my favorite hymns. Yesterday I was thinking about how we can be so intolerant of others. It is so easy to think the worst of those we don’t know. This hymn calls us to see everyone the same.