How Should I Pray Lord?

Recently, I was feeling rather concerned and overwhelmed about all the various issues facing our world. I was confused about how I should pray regarding them. How could I cover the bases, yet do a fair job of prayer? The following is the result of this discernment process:

NOVENA ON WORLD WOES

From terrorism, deliver us Lord.

From political chaos, deliver us Lord.

From moral chaos, deliver us Lord.

From transgenderism, deliver us Lord.

From abortion, deliver us Lord.

From sex- and human trafficking, deliver us Lord.

From senseless killings, deliver us Lord.

From funding of abortion, deliver us Lord.

From bullying of any kind, deliver us Lord.

From infringement of religious freedom, deliver us Lord.

From infringement of free speech, deliver us Lord.

For an end to sexual abuse, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to domestic violence, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to emotional abuse, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to financial deception, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to political correctness, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to Satanism, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to killing of Christians, Lord hear our prayer.

Regarding gay rights, enlighten them Lord.

Regarding gay marriage, enlighten them Lord.

Lord, open their eyes and hearts to Your will.

For those who don’t know God or who have turned their backs on Him, help them Lord.

Help our leaders to work together for what is right and to put aside politics. Grant them wisdom and right moral judgement.

Give us the strength and determination to pray, to hope, and to never give up regarding Your kingdom.

I hope this prayer helps you in your prayer life. Feel free to adapt it as you wish. You can pray it for 9 days straight, like a Novena. You can add an Our Father and/or a Hail Mary to the end of each phrase or however the Spirit moves you. Enjoy, and God bless!

That’s What Love Looks Like

A woman patiently helps her husband guide his walker down the aisle… That’s what love looks like.

 A caregiver is attentively feeding someone with a severe disability… That’s what love looks like.

 A receptionist waves good morning to a lonely old man going to work next door… That’s what love looks like.

 A friend patiently listens to some distress at work and offers to pray… That’s what love looks like.

 A husband with other plans stays home with a sick wife to help and support her… That’s what love looks like.

 A clergyman cries with a parishioner in their emotional pain… That’s what love looks like.

 A male classmate closes a window when someone feels a draft (even though he doesn’t understand why)… That’s what love looks like.

 Someone challenges her friend when she puts herself down… That’s what love looks like.

 Friends support one another when one of them is having a bad day, helping them talk through their difficulty and offering emotional support… That’s what love looks like.

Parents laugh and play with their firstborn child, a daughter with Down Syndrome… That’s what love looks like.

 A fellow immigrant offers to attend a series of classes she doesn’t have to attend to translate for her community… That’s what love looks like.

Co-workers find out one of their own walks a long distance to/from work. They and their managers get that worker his own transportation… That’s what love looks like.

These may not be the most dramatic examples of what love looks like, but there IS one:

 An innocent man is crucified between two thieves. He is Jesus Christ on the cross, and He died in our place for our sins… That’s what love looks like!

 Blog copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

 

Are You Really Fasting?

Is it really Lent already? Yep! Ash Wednesday has come and gone. Gone also is our ashy forehead smudge. Ashes remind us that we are sinners and have a need to repent. During Lent, we hear messages about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I will focus on fasting.

What do we think fasting is? Sure, it’s eating less or nothing at all, but shouldn’t we do more than that? Let’s not forget that fasting can include more than eating; it can have a spiritual dimension as well. Giving up material things like food can be a good thing, but our spirits need something more. Why not fast from the things that trip us up spiritually: impatience, anxiety, mistrust, judging others, gossiping, spending more time at work than we need to, bad driving, being inconsiderate? I think you get the idea. We might pray more, spend more time reading spiritual books, doing works of charity, you name it. Those are all good things, but are we making progress on our sins? I encourage you to think of your soul as the inside of a tree. The rings show how fast or slow a tree grew. The rings are sometimes close together, other times further apart. When Jesus examines your soul at the end of time, how will He see your growth? Will there be fast growth or slow growth? Will you have made progress towards becoming more like Him, the Tree of Life?

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

Questions for Jesus

My reflection that follows comes after singing “Mary Did You Know?” from our Christmas program. In this song, the songwriter asks Mary how much she knew about what Jesus would do in His life. I recently heard someone pose the question: “If you sat next to Jesus on a bus, what would you ask Him? What would you talk about?” These are some of the questions I’d ask:

How much and when did Mary tell you about the circumstances of your birth? The shepherds? The magi? Did she mention the gifts they brought and what those gifts represent? I know the story of the little drummer boy might be a legend, but what would you think about him playing for you at your birth?

Did you think it odd living in Egypt? Or were you too little to remember that time in your life? Did Mary and Joseph tell you why you lived there? How did you feel about that? What was it like to move back to the land of your birth? How did people react to you coming back? Were you treated differently from other boys? If so, how? When did you realize you were different from other children?

What was it like to learn carpentry from Joseph? Did you ever accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer? As a carpenter, what was the most difficult or challenging item you ever made? When and how did Joseph die? How did this affect you and Mary?

Besides your baptism, did you have much contact with John the Baptist?

Oh, the many questions we could ask Jesus. If you were on a bus with Jesus, what would you want to ask Him? Would it be about some practical aspect of His hidden life as mentioned above, or would it be something different? What are you curious about?

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Deliver Us Lord

Deliver us from violence and rioting.

Grant us peace.

Deliver us from hatred.

Grant us love.

Deliver us from those who would kill us, whether here or from abroad.

Grant us life.

Deliver us from corruption.

Grant us honesty.

Deliver us from prejudice.

Grant us understanding.

Deliver us from jealousy.

Grant us tranquility.

Lord, our country is in disarray. No matter which side of the political fence we’re on, some don’t feel ‘heard.’ People feel afraid, unsafe, and angry. Help us to love one another, to be honest, understanding and peaceful. Aid us to see one another as your children. Assist us to be more selfless and less selfish. Let us consider the consequences of our actions and the needs of others. Let us remember the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Peace.

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams 

The Art of Listening

Listening. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Most of us have decent physical hearing while those of us who don’t, wear a hearing aid. Yet, do we really listen? Do we quiet our inner thoughts, or do we think of what we’re going to say next? Are we able to truly listen with our hearts without prejudice? Do we respect another enough to not interrupt (unless there’s a fire or something), or do we finish others’ thoughts or correct them before they finish speaking? We say ‘I hear you,’ but do we really?

I think these questions surface in me as one of our youth needed to truly be listened to last weekend. Also, I understand firsthand what it’s like to not feel listened to, to not feel understood, and to not feel respected for my point of view. Webster’s defines ‘dialogue’ as ‘interchange and discussion of ideas, especially when open and frank, as in seeking mutual understanding or harmony.’ I daresay a lot of us don’t listen well. We have barriers to listening: our own agenda, mental or physical or emotional distractions, our own preconceived thoughts or ideas; the list goes on. Do I listen well? Likely not. I find myself wanting to interject my story, my viewpoint, and my thoughts, even if those are not wanted or needed. How are you doing with respect to your listening?

Lord Jesus, please help us to listen to those with whom we speak, in the manner we need to at the time, and in a way that is pleasing to You. Help us to understand not only the words but the intent behind them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Mischievous Chris

Several years ago, a gentleman named Chris came to work at our company as an intern over the summer. He was so disabled from cerebral palsy that a caregiver came in daily. Chris was in a motorized wheelchair and wore a leather strap around his head called a ‘halo’ so he could type on the keyboard. It was pretty sad. I was uncomfortable around Chris for quite a while. I simply had no experience with someone with cerebral palsy, their slurred speech, involuntary movements, etc. I discovered that Chris had a cheerful spirit and a good outlook on life in spite of his disability. I never heard him complain.

I simply must tell you about an incident where Chris was very mischievous. Another co-worker, Mike, was a serious individual who had a bad car accident a few months prior that left his back compromised. One day when Mike stepped away from his desk, Chris noticed, turned to me with a huge grin on his face, and laughed mischievously. Oh, man. What was he going to do? I was afraid if Chris pulled a prank on Mike, that Mike would get mad, because he could be pretty intense. Chris went up to the back of Mike’s chair and pulled it towards his desk with his feet, motioning for me to be quiet. I played along with Chris’ prank, and when Mike returned to his desk, I pretended nothing was wrong. Finally, Mike found out what Chris had done. Now what? How would Mike react? Mike seemed surprised and even amused at Chris’ prank. He wasn’t upset or anything. He got his chair back, and all was well.

I was relieved Mike took the prank so well, and the incident seemed to strengthen the friendship Chris and I had started to develop. In the short time he was with us, Chris won me over with his cheerful, upbeat nature. He was a delight to be around, and it challenged me to not take myself, or life, so seriously. With Chris’ help, I was finally able to look past his disabilities and my discomfort. I still think of Chris from time to time, and I hope he’s doing well. I wish I could say I have been cured of being too serious, for that is not the case. But, I am learning slowly, and I guess that’s really what matters.

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams