In all things be t hanful to the Lord.
GRACIOUS LORD, you sang all that exists into being: give me a voice to sing your praise in all that I do, a heart to seek harmony with all your creation, and a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving to tune my heart to the keynote of my life, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
– Paul Wesley Chilcote
SOME SPIRITUAL WRITERS remind us that whispers of kindness and compassion are extended to us throughout each day—the courtesy of a stranger holding a door for our passing, the smile of a friend from across the room, the hand that holds ours when our spirits are down, the loved one who cares how our day has unfolded. Often, these register but for a moment and then flow right on past us. Practices like the Ignatian daily awareness examen or the Buddhist meditation on receiving love help us notice and savor these whispers of compassion. These practices recognize that the soil of our soul grows all the more fertile as these showers of kindness soak deeply within and collect into the pools of our interior reserves.
– Frank Rogers
FAIR” IN JESUS’ TERMS is difficult, because we have a tendency to believe we deserve what we have, that we earn our possessions. We extend this argument to those who have less: they did not earn more and so do not deserve it. The problem with this logic is that we did not start out equal. All people are not born with the same opportunities, the same resources, or the same gifts. We are all different.
As disciples of Jesus we can live responsibly in such a world by being grateful for what we have and sharing with those who have need. Love calls us to determine what we’ve been given and how to use it in service to others.
– Christopher Maricle
I’M LEARNING THE IMPORTANCE OF REST. If always on the go, I’m exhausted. I need some quiet time. My physical health depends upon it. My emotional health depends on slowing down. To deal with the stress of life, I need a time of calm. My spiritual life depends on it. I can’t make it on my own but depend on my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
– J. David Muyskens
WE MEET GOD not just as we sit alone in quiet corners but in and through the people with whom we live, work, and interact as we go through our daily routine.
Relationships present us with both a remarkable privilege and an awesome responsibility. … As other people’s lives touch ours, they help to form our faith and make us who we are. As we touch others, we reflect God’s love to them.
Relationships with other believers have extraordinary power in our lives because Christ is present in them. Jesus knew how important people are in conveying God’s grace and presence. “Where two or three people are gathered in my name,” he said, “I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).
Within our churches, small groups, families, and friendships, we learn from one another. We find encouragement. We challenge one another to follow God more faithfully. Other Christians enable us to walk as we should when we might otherwise have strayed or wandered. God uses relationships to form us, and relationships form us so that God can use us.
THE TERM creatures of habit isn’t just a catchy phrase. Its truth is gaining credence in the world of science as well as in our everyday world of observation. As noted, each time we engage a thought, a particular neural pattern deepens. The more frequently a behavior or feeling is repeated, the more likely it is to be repeated again. No wonder Christians through the centuries have employed chant, prayer beads, and other forms of repetitive prayer.
Mark 11:24 underscores the need for this kind of prayer: “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
State your prayers as affirmations:
- God is my Light and my Salvation (rather than “Be my light …”).
- The Lord of life walks with me (rather than “Please walk with me”).
- Healing Presence, you bring me strength (rather than “Please bring me strength”).
- I am a channel of God’s loving-kindness (rather than “Help me be a channel …”).
We are the gatekeepers of our own minds, monitoring what enters and what exits. Though much enters our minds whether we want it or not, we still have a choice about how to deal with that “content.” Even in the case of traumatic events, once we give proper attention to feelings and wounds, participating in the healing work of God, we can choose to move on. To oversimplify, … our minds are like blank chalkboards, and we hold both the chalk and the eraser.
– Linda Douty
ONE OF THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES I have come to love is the practice of Examen, or a prayerful examination of the day. The practice comes from Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a sixteenth-century mystic and the founder of the Jesuit order of priests. He believed this form of prayer to be one of the most important, and he saw it as a gift of God to be practiced regularly. …
In this prayer practice, you focus and reflect on the awareness of God’s presence throughout the day. You ask questions such as, Where did I see God today?, At what points in the day did I feel far from God?, How did I experience joy today?, and What made me sad today?
– Jenny Youngman