“Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing” ( Psalm 5:1 NRSV).
When someone listens, really listens to you, they “give ear” to you. They “give heed” to you.
Isn’t it remarkable that God will listen to us in that way?
Sometimes my prayers are made of words. Sometimes my prayers are made of sighs. Sometimes my prayers are made of a word here, a sigh there.
Isn’t it remarkable that God will listen, really listen to us whether our prayers are made of words, sighs, or both?
Thank you, loving Father, for giving ear. Thank you for giving heed. How many times have you listened to my words? How many times have you listened to my sighs? Thank you.
One of my goals on a recent spiritual retreat was to laugh. While at first glance that might not sound like much of a spiritual goal for a spiritual retreat, I want to assure you it was.
As an enneagram eight, I need to play, I need to laugh, I need to enjoy. As an enneagram eight, that play, laughter, and enjoyment don’t always happen spontaneously. The toy box warns, “Some assembly required.” The eight should come with a similar warning pertaining to play, “Some cultivation required.”
So I left for my retreat ready to cultivate some play time, some laughter. My laughter cultivation had one simple tool: Netflix.
My retreat was a complete success in that I laughed until my sides hurt. I watched one episode of a show I had never before seen, the episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee that featured Jim Carrey.
Laughter is good medicine. It’s about time for me to pull out the Netflix machine and watch another episode.
“But even after they heard the news, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him.” –Mark 16:11 CEB
I am trying to imagine how frustrating this must have been for Mary.
She has seen Jesus.
And when she announces the news, they don’t believe it, they don’t believe her.
Can you imagine how she felt?
A few days ago I participated in a reflective prayer exercise. One part of the exercise involved reflecting on Colossians 1:9-12.
Many phrases and words in this passage caught my eye and fueled prayer.
But there were three words in particular that just stopped me momentarily before they redirected my prayer in another direction.
Those three words: “giving joyful thanks.”
Reading a psalm is a part of my morning prayer liturgy. Some days the reading is refreshing. Other days it is soothing. And then there are those rare days when the reading is upsetting, troubling, or even downright disturbing.
Yesterday was one of those days. I wrestled with the reading all day long. I was upset, troubled, and disturbed. The last thing I did last night before falling asleep was to share with God my thoughts about the reading.
Though I have read that particular psalm repeatedly, I do not recall ever being so disturbed by it. Perhaps my being surrounded by so much death and disease recently was the reason for my reaction.
Bottom line, I am thankful to have had this day-long conversation with God even though I can’t say it was a pleasant experience. And I’m thankful for a God who is so patient with me as to listen to my heart and my words.
One of the great joys of the ministry life is having a front row seat to watch God in action, changing the hearts and lives of people.
I recently enjoyed a second pastoral conversation with a woman, a couple of months after the first. Clearly God had been at work, bringing peace and clarity to her heart and life.
Thanks be to God.
By including the following prayer of confession (from The Book of Common Prayer) in my morning prayer liturgy, I am reminded of my sins and God’s grace and forgiveness.
Remembering my sins and God’s grace affects how I treat people throughout the day. How can I judge others when I sin, too? When I have had God’s grace generously poured out on me, how can I not share that grace with others?
I cannot imagine beginning the day without praying this prayer.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.