Tag Archives: Prayer
Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.
From “Gates of Repentance.” Chaim Stern
In my home country, the Netherlands, you still see many large wagon wheels, not on wagons, but as decorations at the entrances of farms or on the walls of restaurants. I have always been fascinated by these wagon wheels: with their wide rims, strong wooden spokes, and big hubs. These wheels help me to understand the importance of a life lived from the center. When I move along the rim, I can reach one spoke after the other, but when I stay at the hub, I am in touch with all the spokes at once.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
When I think of the word hub, I think of the binding center of an object or business. A hub is a focal point or center from which other things evolve. We often hear of airline hubs which are places where airlines concentrate passenger traffic and flight operations at a given airport. It means that you can go to a hub airport and literally go anywhere in the world, often nonstop. Nouwen images the wagon wheel hub as a place where you can be in touch with the entire wheel. It goes without saying that our relationship to Jesus as Lord is the hub of our faith. As Christ followers we need a hub of practice.
Let me suggest that the hub of our relationship is communication with God, and that communication is prayer. Without communication there is no understanding or action. We can learn all we can about a famous person, but until we communicate with them, we do not know them. The hub of being a follower of Christ is our commitment to study and service to the world, but these are meaningless without a personal relationship that is established with regular prayer. Prayer is not a luxury or an option, but the “hub center” from which all else in our relationship evolves. How should we pray?
We pray by setting aside time to communicate with God on a regular basis. This could be regularly attending a time of worship. In worship we are taken away from the distractions of the world and committed to a time to be with God. While we are in worship, we have the perfect opportunity to communicate with God. Worship is truly a time of other worldliness. In worship we are inspired by the mere fact that in worship we are not alone and gain strength from the communion of the saints, both past and present. In worship we are given specific times and ways to pray, and we are strengthened by the community that surrounds us. Worship is a time for prayer.
Prayer can also be a time of silence and reflection. This is a time that we can individually set aside to be in communication with God. Try to take just five minutes a day to listen to God and invite his peace into your spirit. You can start this with a simple repetitive prayer, such as the Jesus Prayer. Repeating the words can bring us into focus with God, and he will then he acts within our spirit. This works best when a time and /or a place is set aside. A room, a chair, a tree, anywhere you can be silent and focused..
Prayer can also be highly active. The use of written prayers, prayer beads of some sort or Christian icons can allow you to get in touch with God. Let me urge you to make prayer the hub of your practice as a Christian. The more you communicate, the better you will understand him and the fuller your life will become.
The scripture reminds us that all communication begins with our relationship with Jesus from whom all else comes. (John 14:6)
Lord, I want to communicate with you. May I come to know that prayer is the way that is accomplished. I implore you to help me to learn to pray regularly and effectively. May I see that prayer is the true hub of my relationship with you. Let my prayers be the center of my life and work as one of your followers. This I faithfully and humbly ask of you.
Compassion – The participation in another’s suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy and pity inclining one to show mercy or give aid.
(Oxford Dictionary and Bible)
Monk and mystic Thomas Merton said, “Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” Compassion is the ability to show mercy, forgiveness, make peace and continue to live life amid the confusion that comes in this world. Without the attribute of compassion, sickness and disease would run rampant and war would never cease. As God shows his compassion to us and we share it with others, our lives are forever changed and our world becomes a better place. It would be difficult for me to see our existence without compassion.
Compassion is the life-giving force that God has planted in us. It gives life when we touch the broken hearted with the love of God and man. Compassion allows us to understand in ways that only God could give to us. Compassion is the God force in us that makes us the salt and light of the world. Without compassion the world is a dark and tasteless void.
Compassion is the desire to see others rise up out of despair. God saw us through a lens of compassion. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36) Sheep without are shepherd are confused, lost and in despair. Jesus saw this and had compassion on all of us. He made things right for us, and we can help others by sharing in the heart of compassion that God bestowed upon us.
Compassion is a life-giving force that we possess. When God touched us and gave us the gift of His Spirit, we were forever changed. We now have understanding and insight that eluded us in past times. We have knowledge that can only comes to those who trust in God. This life-giving force gives us the responsibility and the ability to show compassion to those around us. Compassion is the visceral participation in and the alleviation of the suffering of another. It is a life-giving part of God that he has shared with us through grace.
Let us use this, our time, to seek out and be compassionate to one another. If we live such a life, we will be blessed internally and externally. Let us appropriate compassion in our home, work and world that God has entrusted to us as caretakers.
~~ Steve Maraboli
Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
There is a nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.
Compassion is about giving all the love that you’ve got.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Until you have real compassion, you can not recognize love.
Look for a way to lift someone up. And if that’s all you do, that’s enough.
Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
~~ Dalai Lama
Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.
~~~ Amish Proverb
Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.
~~ Thomas Merton
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
~~~1 Peter 3:8
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
~~~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
“I will strengthen Judah
and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them
because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though
I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God
and I will answer them.
~~~ Zechariah 10:6
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
~~~ 1 John 3:17
Lord, One of the most needed things in our world today is compassion. We all need to receive it and know how to give it. We know that you are a God of great compassion and mercy and ask that you will instill in us the qualities that you possess. A very small amount of compassion can make great things happen. Please bestow upon me this gift of being able to show compassion to all who are in need.
“A man who receives something from another because of his poverty or his need has therein his reward, and because he is ashamed, when he repays it he does so in secret. But it is the opposite for the Lord God; he receives in secret, but he repays in the presence of the angels, the archangels and the righteous.”
——Sayings of the Desert
Perhaps the monk is thinking of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private and will reward you.” The wonderful thing about God is that he does not expect us to be showy in our worship of him, he just wants us to be real. Most of us, whether we admit it or not, like to be recognized for our successes and want our failures to be hidden and forgotten. Taking alms because of our personal poverty is not something most people would brag about. The way God asks for our devotion is completely counter cultural. Our culture expects praise and in response continued favors are given, but God operates differently. He gives quietly and diligently to those who call upon Him.
Perhaps all of us can pledge from this day forward to be aware of our tendency to be showy and strive to follow the teachings of Jesus. Our Redeemer teaches us to be humble and thankful for all that we have been given. He further asks us to share, with an open heart, all that he has bestowed upon us. Further we are to do without expectation of praise or reward. That is a tough challenge for those of us who carry the sin of Adam.
If we pledge to be people of prayer, we can strive to attain the mindset necessary to be such a person. We are given help to get there through the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, that dwells in us.
And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
Lord, Grant me the courage and wisdom to seek the guidance of your Spirit that you have planted in me. As I come to rely upon the Spirit, I will have the ability to do in secret the works and prayer that are a part of my journey. Then, I will have the faith to know that the rewards you have given in secret are by far the greatest of all. Come, Holy Spirit.
Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4:19
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Corinthians 4:17
And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
For this reason Jesus had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Lord, This day I desire to live with a knowledge that faithfulness brings fullness of life.Let me be faithful to you, so that I may be a faithful servant to all that is entrusted to me. I ask you to allow me to be a model of faithfulness to all our encounter. May I achieve this through your grace.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
—–Psalm 138: 1-2&7
Question– Am I calling on God today?
Prayer – LORD, I call upon you on this day as I dwell in the midst of trouble. There is no adversity that you cannot over come. There is no trouble you cannot remedy. Please be with me this day as I seek the path you have set for my deliverance. Amen.
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
Question- What changes are you making in your life?
Prayer- LORD, you can change any situation. Help me to see the things in my life that need to be transformed, and make me ready for the totality of transformation that comes when you are truly involved. Amen
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
for the Lord, your God?
Question- What are some ways my heart must change to return to the Lord?
Prayer – LORD, I do not want to be separated from you but find that there are times that you seem so far away. Teach me this day a sincerity of heart that will enable me to approach you in those far away times. Convict my heart so that I may see my need to change. I offer this prayer today. Amen