Tag Archives: pray

Sitting in comfort…

I prayed in a small, quiet chapel this morning.  As I sat there I prayed with my head bowed, asking for this, asking for that, apologizing for this, apologizing for that and then just as I was leaving I looked up and saw Christ hanging on the cross.

I was embarrassed to be sitting there so comfortably and so focused on myself without once regarding Him, without once humbly kneeling down to Him as He still hangs there taking on our sins as we continue to pile them on.

What are we doing my friends?  He should be a part of every thought, every intention, every action of our lives.

He still hangs there and we still wound Him… it is so sad.

Making it count…

I am not sure why, but from a young age I was blessed with the understanding that I should make my time spent doing things count.  In school I was never one to goof around while studying.  I never understood this attitude and I always figured that if I was sitting here looking at the book I might as well actually learn the material.  Whenever I went to an exercise class or practiced a sport I had the same thought and I gave it my all during practice without complaint.

I don’t think I have lost this blessing.  I still want to make my time spent doing things count, but now as an adult I am starting to see that I need to worry more about where I am spending my time that counts.

The more I read about Our Blessed Mother, the more I am starting to see my reading as a self indulgence and an excuse to learn more about her rather than really getting to know her.

I am starting to see that I must exchange my reading for prayer and I am feeling a sense of urgency.  I am not sure why this sense of urgency has come over me, but it is here and I must jump in.

My friends, please pray for me as I begin to pray.  I pray that this is not an empty resolution or a good intention that I will not keep.  Instead I pray to make my time in prayer count as I have done in so many other activities throughout my life.  Please join me in prayer and remember me in your prayers.

Let them be holy

I started praying a new prayer for my girls a few months ago.

Dear Lord, please let them be holy.  Protect them from my sins, vices and falls and guide them home with Your Holy Light keeping them pure and white and making them holy.

Guess what, since beginning this prayer He is changing me again! I have fallen in love with Our Blessed Mother, Saint Mary.  I was drawn to a book about her and now I long to pray to her, I look to her as a guide, a mentor and as the perfect example of mothering.

I didn’t tie these two events together at first, but as I think more about it I believe they are connected.  How could I, a person loaded down with baggage filled with selfishness, greed, unkindness, and sin ever hope to raise children who are holy?!?!  Alone in my greed, selfishness, and ever growing pile of wrong doings, it would not be possible, but with God leading the way anything is possible.

Thank You My Love for opening my eyes once more to one of Your Own Beloved, Your Queen, who so desperately wants to show us the Way, Your Way, Yahweh.

Our new prayer

I am sure you have heard this prayer, and have maybe said it yourself or with your children at night.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
And wake me with the morning light

I grew up saying it with my sisters and started saying it with my children awhile ago, but recently we changed the words and I LOVE IT.  Now it more closely embodies my prayer for my girls.

I pray that their way home is straight and always lit with a light from above.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Please cleanse my eyes all through the night
So I may follow Your angel’s light

Cleansing

Sometimes when I am working out I like to pray to be a straw that is full of holes so that anything good poured into me from above will not be held within me, but instead will flow through all of my holes surrounding everyone I encounter or see with His Grace.

As you know I have been going to the gym pretty regularly for the last 5 months trying to get back in shape. Over the last few weeks I have started really focusing on trying to improve  my diet and have started reading about body cleansing. I read an interesting article a few weeks ago that discussed the benefits of sitting in a sauna after a workout and how this can help cleanse many toxins from your body. After reading this I started sitting in the sauna of my gym for a few min at least once a week.

Today while I was sitting in the sauna following my workout, it hit me! As I watched the sweat drip down my arms, I realized I am already full of holes… my body is covered in tiny pores.  I am a straw full of holes… we all are!

I think now I need to focus on cleaning out my own physical and spiritual gunk so that someday the clogs will be cleared and everything that pours forth will be clean and full of His Glory.

I am cleaning out my friends… please pray for me!

The Lord is God

My husband and I went to Ethiopia about 10 years ago with Habitat for Humanity.  We were there for three weeks and we helped begin 8 houses in Jimma.  By the end of our stay the foundations had been dug and laid, and the walls of each home were about waist high.

We went because we wanted to help, but was the primary objective really for us to come and help carry bricks or did I miss a deeper lesson?

Looking back I am a little sad to see how much I failed to really see during our visit, but I am thankful for my memory which isn’t always the best, but usually holds onto the things that don’t seem important at the time, but later prove to be quite relevant and important.

The other day one of our Ethiopian Habitat leaders came to mind, Elias.  I haven’t thought about him in a long time, but I was so happy to remember him. Thinking of him made me smile!

He was with us throughout our entire stay in Ethiopia.  He met our group in Addis Ababa, traveled with us to Jimma, worked along side our group everyday and then saw us all the way back to the international airport in Addis Ababa at the end of our visit.

He was a quiet and thoughtful man.  He was born and raised in Ethiopia and had the opportunity to study engineering abroad.  After his studies he returned home.  I remember he told us how he loved Harrison Ford movies and I remember him eating traditional Ethiopian food at every meal, even at breakfast.  I am not sure why this surprised me at the time considering that we were in Ethiopia, but for some reason it did and every morning I was shocked once again to see him eating injera with wat for breakfast.

Most of all though, I remember watching him bow his head and pray before every meal.  I noticed it and I registered it enough to remember, but the beauty of his gratitude didn’t truly touch me at the time.  I can’t even recall if I had the consideration to bow my head and give him a moment of silence at each meal… I hope that I did, but I can’t say for cetain.

The name Elias means The Lord is God.  I think my friend’s name was well chosen and for the short time I spent with him, he truly lived it’s meaning every day.

I pray for a heart full of gratitude like my friend Elias, and I am so thankful that 10 years later, his message of thanksgiving and love for our Lord, God, is finally getting through to me.

Eat, drink and… be Mary!

This is the time of year when we are celebrating, we are throwing parties, we are attending parties and we are being “MERRY”!

A few years ago we threw a Christmas party and our invitation read, “Come, eat, drink and be merry!”  I was thinking about this today because we wanted to throw a party this year, but I didn’t get around to planning it.  When I thought about the invitation we sent a few years ago, I paused on the phrase “be merry”, in my head I changed it to, “be Mary”.

Did “be merry” originate from “be Mary”?

Rather than research the actual origins of this phrase, tonight I would rather come up with my own story!

Maybe years ago when friends were toasting and celebrating together during the Christmas season, they really did use the phrase, “Eat, drink and be Mary!”, with the intention and the prayer that they themselves as well as their friends would live as Mary did, full of faith in God and consumed with love for Jesus!

I pray during this Christmas season and the year to come, that we will all “be Mary”, living like Mary full of faith in God and consumed with love for Jesus!

Be Mary, my friends, be Mary!

Thank You

Almost every time I pray I ask for my family and friends to be blessed and kept safe, but what does keeping them safe really entail?  What does blessing them really entail?

Do I mean for them to be healthy and kept out of accidents?
Do I mean for them to be comfortable and happy?

Will keeping them safe and blessing them bring them closer to God?  I don’t know.

In Jeremiah 14:11-12
The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Was the Lord asking Jeremiah to refrain from praying for the welfare of these people because He knew that safety, comfort and blessings are not what would bring these people closer to Him?  Is He saying that that they will only cry out to Him, present offerings from their hearts, and truly come closer to Him in times of war, famine and pestilence?

I am not sure, but reading this made me take a step back and wonder.

1.  How often do I cry out to God in true joy and thanksgiving when I am safe, comfortable and blessed?  Do these blessings help bring me closer to Him?

2.  How often do I cry out to God in times of sorrow or conflict?  Do these difficulties and challenges bring me closer to Him?

God wants us to cry out to Him regardless of whether it is in joy or misery.   He wants to be there for us, He wants to be close to us and maybe sometimes we won’t let Him in until the difficult times arise.

God please help us to pray with humility knowing that we don’t know what is best, and help us to have faith that You do know what is best for all of us and will do everything in Your power to help us cry out to You.

Maybe my new prayer should be, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Expand, expand, expand…

Circles are everywhere.  Our lives are filled with both figurative and physical circles.  We see them in nature, we see them in actions and re-actions and we experience them physically around tables, in meetings, and during circle time as children.

We include people when we are willing to expand our circles, but we can just as easily exclude others by refusing to expand our circle for new arrivals.

My sister wrote a blog that I loved last year, Is it a pie or a triangle?.  The conversation we had regarding this blog stands out clearly in my mind as a moment in my life when I finally started to scratch the surface in my personal understanding of Jesus and what He did for me.

Ever since this conversation, I have thought of God as a large circle that we are all held within.  I then picture all of us as small circles within the God’s large circle.  Some of our circles are bigger and some of our circles are smaller and some of them overlap.  The bigger ones represent those who have accepted or included more people, and the smaller ones have accepted or included fewer people.

I don’t think heaven or paradise is possible without everyone and unfortunately we are the ones imposing limitations and building walls within God’s beautiful, all-inclusive circle by excluding others.

Pray for everyone, try to empathize with everyone…
Empathy will lead to forgiveness, and forgiveness will lead to love.

OUR best life doesn’t work unless everyone is included!

I pray and dream for OUR best life for everyone, everyday!  I hope you do too… together we can expand our circles!

Our Best Life

Since I was young, I have understood the power of believing in something and repeating it to make it happen.  I even remember when I first discovered this.  I was 10 years old, and I thought a friend of mine at school had pretty legs.  For a week I thought to myself everyday how nice it would be to have legs that looked like J’s, and a week later I woke up, looked in the mirror and was shocked to see that my legs looked like J’s legs.  I was also shocked to see how terrible they looked on me!  I quickly started wishing for my own legs back and within 4 days they were back.

Luckily with my realization that I could positively control my life with my thoughts I also had a lesson built in that I should be careful what I wish for since I might not like the end result.   This very naturally became a part of my life that I never really thought about, but just always did and assumed that everyone else did the same thing.

Whenever I felt ugly or overweight I would just start reminding myself every morning and night how beautiful, confident and perfect I was just the way I was and a few days later, I would be feeling beautiful, confident and perfect just the way I was.

By high school I had quit wishing for specific things like great legs, and had started wishing for “Things to work out for the best” which eventually transformed into wishing for “My Best Life”.    Any time I was nervous, scared, or had bad thoughts cross my mind, I would immediately chastise myself for these concerns and repeat, “This is my best life”.   Anytime I was surrounded by love, beauty, kindness I would confirm to myself by again repeating, “This is my best life”.   It always worked and I have always felt very blessed in my life.   I even had a friend who would always jokingly comment on my sunny and 85 degree life.

I finally ran into a problem about 5 years ago.

My cousin was killed in a car accident at the young age of 20.  On top of mourning the loss of my young cousin I was plagued with the question of how “My Best Life” could possibly include the premature death of my cousin.  I thought about this for quite some time following her death and considered many different explanations none of which seemed to really answer my question.   It might seem obvious to you, but it took quite a few books, documentaries and discussions before it finally hit me.  I realized that wishing only for “My Best Life” was actually very selfish.   By wishing for “My Best Life” I did not take into consideration the lives of my loved ones or anyone else.  I never considered that in order to achieve “My Best Life” I might be blocking the paths of others as they strive for their best lives.

This really concerned me and I came up with two possible solutions

  1. I could continue repeating and believing in “My Best Life” and always include an additional thought that I do not want to block another path in order to achieve “My Best Life”.
  2. I could extend my original approach and pray for “Our Best Life”.  By changing one small word in my prayer, I could stop worrying about blocking other paths because this now opened the door for everyone to join together on the one path of  “Our Best Life”.

I now fully believe that if we all pray for “Our Best Life” then it will be.  It requires a leap of faith to move the focus from my own life or from your own life to the lives of everyone else, but if we could all take this leap just imagine how much more amazing all of our lives and our entire world would be!

If I pray for me

Then it is 1 small prayer

If I instead pray for the other 6.8 billion people on earth and they in turn each pray for the other 6.8 billion people on earth

Then it BEGINS

AMAZING, WONDERFUL, AWESOME DREAMS that we cannot even imagine for ALL OF US!

When I think of my new prayer for “Our Best Life” it always reminds me of this parable, and helps me realize that I have been sitting at the wrong table for a long time.  I want to change that and I think changing one word is the first step.

A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.” The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.  The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell”.

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, “I don’t understand.” “It is simple,” said the Lord, “it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”

Now that you have the background I am asking you to join in and begin saying out loud “It is OUR BEST LIFE” when you first wake up in the morning and again before going to bed at night.

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

It is “Our Best Life”, let’s say it, believe it, live it and wish for it everyday for EVERYONE!