Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Thursday, March 12, 2015

For years, I have led prayer, coordinated prayer, and taught prayer. In several churches, and a number of settings, classes, and groups. This post shows me, yet again, that it is all meaningful. Just coming alongside of a hurting person, letting them know that I am there, I care, and will remember them in prayer? Makes it all worthwhile.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 11, 2014

prayer stone and bible

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

I certainly have done quite a number of things in the past three decades. In the church, I mean. Anywhere from teaching Sunday school to driving the church bus. Leading junior church, or substituting as organist, to being a Stephen minister. Or sitting on the missionary committee, to serving as director of Vacation Bible School. And those are just a few of the positions or ministries I did before I started seminary. During and since graduation I moved into a whole different level of service.

God has gifted me with quite a number of gifts and graces. I certainly acknowledge that I have always enjoyed whatever I have done in the church. God has tapped me on the shoulder quite a number of times, too. I’ve risen to the occasion, pretty much wherever or whenever I am (or was) needed. I have come to think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades, since that is what I’ve been. A generalist, not a specialist. (Although I do have a couple of areas of specialty now, true enough. But this post isn’t about them. Maybe a later post will be.)

But let’s get to the point of this post. Enough with the background, you’re thinking.

I am a great partner in ministry! I’ve been doing service for a long enough time to realize that I work well in cooperation or in partnership with other people. Take the prayer ministry I am coordinating at the church where I’m a member. Sure, I coordinate the emails, and keep track of the prayer requests and praises. I readily admit that without the faithful praying people who receive the prayer emails and pray through them each week, the prayer ministry would fizzle and dry up.

I know that God is honored through the prayer ministry. I have also had people come up to me (out of the blue!) and bring me requests. Sometimes urgent requests, as well. I know I’ve mentioned them in at least one recent post, too. Of course my chaplain skills come to the fore, at a time like this. Also my Stephen training. And I can think of the material I studied in several seminary classes which is quite applicable, too.

Yes, it is a joy as well as a responsibility to need to step up to the plate, especially when I don’t even know it’s coming. When something sneaks up out of left field and hits a person, in other words. I am so glad I am there to help them get through the difficult time, or the surgery and rehab, or the expected-but-still-terribly-sad death, or whatever else might be some burden the other person is carrying. This evening, I had the privilege to pray for a frightened person after a confirmation of a disease from the doctor. This dear person is afraid and anxious. So, of course I will add this name to the prayer email!

Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy with which You hear all of our earnest prayers. We especially pray for this dear one I just found out about tonight. Dear Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation:

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pray Pray Pray 1 Thess

Be Kind? Improvise! I Mean, Innovate!

I certainly have done quite a number of things in the past three decades. In the church, I mean. Anywhere from teaching Sunday school to driving the church bus. Leading junior church, or substituting as organist,  to being a Stephen minister. Or sitting on the missionary committee to serving as director of Vacation Bible School. And those are just a few of the positions or ministries I did before I started seminary. During and since graduation I moved into a whole different level of service.

God has gifted me with quite a number of gifts and graces. I certainly acknowledge that I have always enjoyed whatever I have done in the church. God has tapped me on the shoulder quite a number of times, too. I’ve risen to the occasion, pretty much wherever or whenever I am (or was) needed. I have come to think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades, since that is what I’ve been. A generalist, not a specialist. (Although I do have a couple of areas of specialty now, true enough. But this post isn’t about them. Maybe a later post will be.)

But let’s get to the point of this post. Enough with the background, you’re thinking.

I am a great partner in ministry! I’ve been doing service for a long enough time to realize that I work well in cooperation or in partnership with other people. Take the prayer ministry I am coordinating at the church where I’m a member. Sure, I coordinate the emails, and keep track of the prayer requests and praises. I readily admit that without the faithful praying people who receive the prayer emails and pray through them each week, the prayer ministry would fizzle and dry up.

I know that God is honored through the prayer ministry. I have also had people come up to me (out of the blue!) and bring me requests. Sometimes urgent requests, as well. I know I’ve mentioned them in at least one recent post, too. Of course my chaplain skills come to the fore, at a time like this. Also my Stephen training. And I can think of the material I studied in several seminary classes which would be applicable, too.

Yes, it is a joy and a responsibility to need to step up to the plate, especially when I don’t even know it’s coming. When something sneaks up and hits a person out of left field, in other words. I am so glad I am there to help them get through the difficult time, or the surgery and rehab, or the expected death, or whatever else might be some burden the other person is carrying. This evening, I had the privilege to pray for a frightened person after a confirmation of a disease from the doctor. This dear person is afraid and anxious. So, of course I will add this name to the prayer email!

Dear God, thank You for the grace and mercy with which You hear all of our earnest prayers. We especially pray for this dear one I just found out about tonight. Dear Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplainelizagrace

Be Kind, Serve Others, Forgive Myself

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, March 5, 2014

forgive-bible-quotes

Be Kind, Serve Others, Forgive Myself

Another day, another opportunity for service. I did do several acts of service today. There are a few I could ordinarily write a decent post about. And,  I promise to write a blog post soon about my evolving thoughts on acts of service. But—today also happened to be Ash Wednesday. I was so busy in the morning and afternoon that I hardly had time to turn around, much less take time to pray.

I got a lot done today, admittedly. I did some laundry for a senior acquaintance of mine—among other things. I ran some necessary errands. I made a few important telephone calls. So, yes. I did do several acts of service for others. However, that is not what is on my mind today. Instead, my mind is focusing on prayer. Or, lack of prayer today. I did not have time to pray this morning, as is my usual habit lately.  Today of all days, I did not pray.

I did a good deal of busy work today. Some of it happened to be very necessary, and a lot of it much appreciated. But I did not take time for me until the church service this evening. It was then that I had the leisure to slow down, take a deep breath, and pray.

Going back in my memory to Ash Wednesdays past, I was not always so connected, so penitential. Sometimes I intellectualized the observance. It depended on where I was, in my thoughts and my experience. I was always respectful. I always honored and respected those who wished to receive the imposition of ashes, or sink to their knees in penitence, or lift their hands in prayer.  But that observant person was not always me. I wasn’t that guy. At least, not often.

But today was different. I felt especially penitent for this observance of Ash Wednesday. And, I truly missed the fact that I was unable to pray this morning. I don’t think it was because I had especially huge sins to confess since the last Lenten observance. No, I suspect it was because I had grown closer to God. For some reason. I am not saying that my acts of service and my Year of Being Kind have anything to do with my relative closeness to God this Ash Wednesday. (But, there may really be a precaution, or a praise. Whatever.)

I did have a close connection to God this evening. I did feel a special openness to God while I sat there in church. I was able to pray with several minutes of absolutely clarity. And, I did confess my sins to God. I felt the forgiveness, mercy and love of God return to me, too.  I prayed, asked forgiveness, and God took care of my sins being right away. Talk about fast! And I didn’t even have to rewind, retweet, or  replay. Thanks, God. Thanks for Your forgiveness, grace and mercy towards me, and towards all who ask Your forgiveness with a penitent heart

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.