A Grateful Heart: My Prayer

Gratitude is on my mind today. I’ve been wondering why we find it so hard to just be thankful. When did gratitude go out of style, become so uncool? Every day we are so “ate up” with what we think is wrong in our lives, with what we think is insulting or offensive, that we can’t see past the negatives to the abundance of positives.

We obscure our lives with so much wanting, confusing desire with need, that sometimes, it seems, we forget this uncomplicated truth: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” We live in a time that is unprecedented in all of recorded history. We literally have almost anything we desire at our fingertips, at any given moment, and while there seems to be great disparity between those who “have” and those who “have not,” even the poorest among us still enjoy a standard of living greater than all but a handful of other countries.

We are blessed, more than any other people at any other time, and the simple act of counting your blessings makes all the difference in the world to your attitude about life, turning your attention away from the “don’t” haves and toward the “do” haves. Even on our worst days, when we we’ve gotten a rotten diagnosis, or we don’t know how we’re ever going make it another day, we still have more than we came with. We can still “count it all joy, when we meet trials of various kinds, for we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness,  letting steadfastness have its full effect, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  And, we can still “give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us.”

So, here’s a prayer for a grateful heart:

Instill in me a grateful heart that I may know Your ways and live by them. That I may be thankful for all Your gifts, even when those gifts appear to me as trials, for it is through adversity that You draw me nearest to You, that You teach me of Your faithfulness and love, that You show me the meaning of perseverance, of trust, of faith.

Instill in me a grateful heart that I may see humanity through Your eyes. That I may be thankful for Your love, Your compassion, even when that love feels miles away and I cannot see it, knowing that each person I see faces the same fears, insecurities, and battles as I, for it is Your love which connects us all, which teaches us of hope, of tolerance, of compassion.

Instill in me and grateful heart that I may walk with you in love and joy. That I may be thankful for the tranquility of Your presence, even when I’m surrounded by chaos, and strife is the theme of the day, trusting that Your yoke is easy, that Your guidance will see me through, that I may find solace with a prayer on my lips and peace in my heart.

Amen

~ SLM

1 Timothy 6:7, James 1:2-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Funny how we can surround ourselves with beauty in an environment of quietude with the right Feng Shui and all, and yet have no real peace, our minds racing at 100 miles per hour or more, our thoughts spinning out of control, weighing on us with the gravity of a black hole. Our inner selves are incongruent with the carefully created façade of peace. Many times, we claim that all we want is peace, but then we go about creating turmoil and discord by our selfish actions or careless attitude of entitlement.

It’s hard to find peace, when we sit in judgement of others, yet for some reason, we seem to try our damnedest to achieve personal peace in this manner. We think if we can point out to ourselves just how awful others are in comparison to us, we will find peace of mind. “At least I’m not like ________, and I don’t _______,” we say to ourselves to ease our discomfort, settle our minds, continually filling in the blanks, but, in reality, this type of worrisome anxiety only exacerbates the problem, it gives us everything but peace.

Peace does not come through this kind of thinking, nor does it come to us through spending time in a “peaceful” room or setting. It comes through faith, though trust in the power of providence, the power of God who works all things to the benefit of those who love him. After his death, when Christ first appeared to his disciples, he knew their minds were troubled by the trauma of what they had witnessed, by the thought of carrying on without him, by the astonishing news of the empty tomb and their unwillingness to believe. He offered them peace.

Peace is a spiritual concept, it comes from trusting in God’s sprit to take care of us, to fill us, it’s about finding that place in our inner being, where no matter how the storms of life rage about us, we are calm, assured, serene, knowing that we can just let go and be held in His embrace, in His love and care. A peacemaker is one who understands that it is God’s Holy Spirit which is the cause of true peace, and he who demonstrates this profound understanding of God’s love for us and fosters the same in his fellow man.

So, who exactly are the “peacemakers” and how do we identify them? What are peacemakers made of that they should be called God’s children? They are not always the “middle” children, the ones who can see the qualities we all share, that we all have in common, traits like love and acceptance, belonging and understanding, as psychologists would have us believe. They are not always the diplomats, the ones who encourage ceasefires and so-called peace treaties, as politicians would have us believe.  But, peacemakers are those who foster compassion, trust and understanding, the ones who show others, helping them achieve peace of mind.

Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 GNB

~SLM

A Prayer for All Saints Day

Heavenly Father,
How desperately we need your guidance in our lives, a rebirth in our thinking, a renewal of our minds. In our way of thinking, overcoming a life a threatening situation means staying alive, but in Your way of thinking, it sometimes means surrendering this life to the next. Your will be done, dear Lord, not ours! Give us the strength and dignity to endure, filling us with peace and serenity so we may bring glory and honor to Your holy name. Amen
~SLM

A Prayer for Renewal

Heavenly Father, my refuge and my rock, fill my soul with your divine grace; let me know how much I am loved and cherished. Show me Your will; let me remember who I am, and what I am sent here to undertake. Help me to find what was stolen from me, and restore it to my sight. Fill my heart with Your love and Your peace; let me see the potential of my life. Give me a single-minded resolve to walk joyfully into my purpose, and the courage to walk away from those who would not see life’s wonders.   Amen

~SLM

Proberbs 6 A Prayer for Wisdom

Lord, in your wisdom, you call your people to purity; you know my heart, what influences me, forgive the times when sin, not your grace and spirit, have motivated me. Take my hands, my feet, and my words; use them for your good purposes. Give me the wisdom to walk away from temptation, to weigh the consequences and count the costs of my actions, to overcome it.  Help me to know the peace that comes with the wisdom which is rooted in your word.  Amen.

~SLM

Proverbs 3:13-26 Obtaining Peace

True understanding and its application to our daily lives is a commodity more valuable than silver or gold and more precious than rare jewels. Nothing we can accumulate can serve us better than wisdom. She forces us to turn inward, to be introspective and to understand the difference between those things which we can and cannot change. When we accept the unchangeable, the unknowable, and rely on trust, on the omnipotence of God’s plan for all things, and have faith in his ability to provide, then we can walk securely, we can sleep soundly, we can have no fear of wickedness when it visits, and we will sit in the seat of sound discretion with confidence.

When we find wisdom and have true understanding, exercising it daily with all whom we meet and in all that we do, our lives become a blessed expression of the holy spirit of God, a sacred song of compassion and love. For it is wisdom which guides us through the obstacle course of life and through her we find peace.
~SLM