when you don’t know how to pray for someone


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I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a long time.  Looong time.  What do you do when you want to pray for a particular person but you don’t know what to pray?  Has there been a time where you’ve been witness to an impossible situation concerning someone you know?  What about when you love someone deeply and they are hurt and need a touch from our loving God?  Oh, here’s another situation – you see a loved one in a difficult place in their life and you just know you can help but your help isn’t necessarily the best way to go.  And by that I mean you need to butt out.  Ouch, that hurts especially because you know you have all the answers and they should do what you tell them, etc., etc., etc.

What do you do?

To my surprise, I don’t have all the answers.  🙂  However I have come across a prayer that helps me deal with situations like the above mentioned.  It helps me stay focused on God; His will, not mine.  It’s an old Catholic prayer but I didn’t know of it until a few months ago.  It’s called the Morning Offering and it goes like this:

Dear Lord, I do not know what will happen to me today.  I only know that nothing will happen that was not foreseen by you and directed to my greater good from all eternity.  I adore your holy and unfathomable plans and submit to them with all my heart for love of you, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I’d like to share what jumps out at me from the prayer.   Nothing will happen that was not foreseen by You...  In other words, God knows.  He knows what is going on.   He knows what you are going through and He knows how He is going to use it for your own good.  He’s got it covered.    From all eternity…  Big words, aren’t they?  From all eternity, something our little pea brains cannot adequately grasp.  Our minds are finite, therefore unable to quite get it.  But think about this, He,  being the perfect Father that He is, makes sure that what happens to us today will work into something good for us for all eternity.  That’s a long time.  Mind. Blown.    Submit to them with all my heart…  Give in.  Trust.  Believe.  Turn over the reigns.  Hand over control.  Bow down.  Revere.

Now, back to praying for others when you don’t have the words.  Sometimes situations require a different approach.  You want to cover that person with your prayers, but you are drawing a blank.  Maybe you’ve done everything you know how and a problem still exists.  Maybe you’re one step away from, um, shall we say interference?  Face it.  You can’t control everything and there comes a time when you simply have to leave it up to God.  It’s better that way, anyway.  So maybe you can offer a version of this Morning Offering for your pray-ee.  Example:

Loving God, I do not know what will happen to my dad today.  I only know that nothing will happen to him that was not foreseen by you and directed for his greater good from all eternity.  I adore your holy and unfathomable plans for my dad, and submit to them with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I put my heart and soul into it.  And this prayer keeps me from feeling the despair of not knowing what to pray.  It preserves me from the agonizing question of have I done enough.   And then, after I have prayed this, I’m free to offer my opinion to Him, not that it’s needed by any means (!) but more than that, my words of love, concern, and hope.

These days, there is so much to pray for, so many who need our prayers.  Here’s one example – our grandchildren.  I don’t always know what to pray for mine.  They range in age from 16 years to 10 months.  The younger ones are easy to pray for.  It’s the teenagers that stump me!  Times have changed so much since my children were that age.  And with everything those baby grands have facing them these days, it’s no wonder I don’t know what to pray!  It’s mind-boggling.  When I pray my version of the Morning Offering for them, it is like dipping my feet into a warm spa.  I know I’m doing what I need to for them.  Most importantly, I’m not interfering and I’m letting God fill in the blanks.  He knows what they need and I’m comfortable, make that grateful, that He will direct their circumstances for their good from all eternity.

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I hope you are having a productive lent.  Productive lent?  Yes, one that opens your mind to the passion of Christ, one that unites you to His love, one that teaches you the discipline of sacrifice.  Open your hearts, people.  And please pray for peace.  The whole world needs your prayers.  Show God your love and devotion by praying for His people.  I’m offering mine today along with all of your intentions.  Drop me a line if you have a particular prayer request and I will go to my knees for you.

I’d consider it a great favor if you will ‘like’ and maybe share or comment here on this post.

LOVE NOTES AND NEW AQUAINTENCES


Oh My Jesus – You are such a sweetheart!

This was on my mind first thing this morning. I love when I wake up thinking about the Lord! I have to be honest here. It doesn’t happen all that often but when it does, my day is so much better.

I love Him. I do. I want to love Him more. And big, I want to love Him big. I want my life to revolve around Him. I wish I could say it does, but sadly, not so much. You see, you have to make a conscious effort to do that and, well, I forget. I forget to say grace every time I eat. I forget to thank Him sometimes. I forget to pray without ceasing. I forget that His plan for me, especially the bad things that have happened, are for my own good. I forget to adore Him. So, I am going to write Him a love letter here and now. I know, I know. He probably doesn’t read blogs, but He knows what is in my heart. Here it is:

Sacred and Eternal Trinity,

How can I thank you for loving me, for this blessed life you have so freely given me? How can I thank you for the grace to live it? Lord, you are the best. I’ve been told that there is nothing I can do that will stop your love for me. It is never ending and I feel that. Why me? I’m not worthy! I find it odd that you think I am, considering all that I have done that is against your very nature. Your forgiveness is the greatest gift I could ever in a million years receive. My heart and soul thanks you.

Today we celebrate your birthday! Happy Birthday my God! You came into the world to bless it and you certainly have! We poor humans have become so complacent, such an instant gratification generation, that we haven’t made time to listen to you. You have a better way. If only everyone could see that! If only we all would seek it out, how much better the world would be!

I love you Lord and I love your way. Please let me learn that way. Please let me love you more. Please quicken my mind so that I won’t forget.

Oh My Jesus, you are such a sweetheart!

With love,  Nancy

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New Friend! Today my friend Diana introduced me to her friend Laura. She is a new addition to my Kindred Spirits club. That’s a club I have formed in my heart that contains many people I have met that I consider Kindred Spirits, meaning we share much the same thoughts on life, the Lord, love. It is a pleasure to welcome her in! She is, like Diana, such a beautiful soul. She is loving, confident, encouraging, sharing, faith filled, beautiful. She, again like Diana, has a heart for the Lord. I want to be like her (once again like Diana!).

Let me tell something that I shared with Laura and Diane today. In fact, you may consider it part of the series I promised to write about sin. (I am so self-righteous!) It is about forgiveness, something every one of us struggles with from time to time. Mostly self forgiveness. And confession, too, something not a lot of people do on a regular basis, myself included. I went to confession (I am Catholic) some time back and I confessed some sins that I committed long years ago. I admitted I had confessed those sins over and over but I had struggled with forgiving myself even though I believed God had forgiven me. My priest actually told me “I am so glad you are here! And that you have made such a good confession!” Then he went on explaining why. I felt lifted up, rejuvenated. He assured me of God’s love for me and desire to see me come into holiness by confessing my sins, all of them. At that point I told him that sometimes I woke up in the night and could feel nothing but sorrow for these sins. What he said then will stay with me the rest of my life. He said “God has already forgiven you. Now forgive yourself. And when you wake up with these sins on your mind, it means that you still haven’t learned everything you need to from the experiences you’ve had. So wake up and ask God what it is He wants you to learn from it now.” I’ve tried to do that ever since but, again, sometimes I forget. So I’m just going to say this:

Oh My Jesus, you are such a Sweetheart!

Please don’t forget to pray for peace – all kinds of peace. Peace for the world, peace in the government, peace in our hearts, peace in relationships, peace in forgiveness. The whole world – all of us – need your prayers.

Merry Christmas from Louisiana!!

 

LESSONS I’M TRYING TO LEARN #1 in a series: IF WE HAVE A HEART FOR GOD


Nothing qualifies me to write this post other than the fact that I am a sinner. I do not have any theological education except for that gleaned from the pages of the bible, and various pulpits.  I realize I don’t know everything and am well aware that I lack understanding many, many things that concern the workings of the heart and soul of modern humanity with relation to God. This particular blog post is the first of a series I plan to write on lessons I’ve learned and is derived strictly from my own experiences and opinions. The subject is subjective.  So, proceed with caution. You may not agree with me. That’s your choice.  It’s ok.

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HIDDEN SIN AND THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

Nothing is more humbling than confession. I mean nothing. It borders on humiliation. I’m no expert but I know this to be true from personal experience. I am, however, an expert sinner. As I look back on my life, there are areas of sin in which I am truly ashamed. I won’t go into gory detail – that’s between God and me – but I’ve done things that would upset any mother if she heard such details about her child. The only redeeming part is that mothers are sinners too. We all are, of course. Unfortunately, escaping the desire to sin requires a strength that we, as mere humans, don’t possess. There is no human willpower greater than sin, only that given by the Divine. The catch is we have to ask for it. God gave us free will. He worked the desire to make choices into our DNA, so to speak. That part probably hurts Him but He has such innate love for us, His desire is to see us become whole in every sense of the word. And that includes our choices. It’s simple, really. One cannot consciously make horrible choices and expect to have a wonderful life. Can you identify? Geeez, I can. It’s a been there, done that, bought the t-shirt kind of thing.

Before I get into what I really want to talk about today, let me ask – why bother feeling bad about our actions? What is sin? And why is it so bad? I mean isn’t it simply normal to do the wrong thing sometimes? Well, yes. Yes it is. But when you weigh the difference between what hurts and what gives joy, it’s easy to understand. Do we want to always have a cloud of despair hanging over us, or do we want to enjoy breathing deeply of peace of mind and heart? If we have a heart for God and all things holy would we want to risk loosing them by following our own agenda for what we think brings happiness?  Could going against the word of God actually bring happiness?  That’s the definition of sin, that which goes against the law and teaching of God.  Sin clogs our proverbial arteries and keeps us from living life to the fullest. It’s like lung disease that keeps us from being able to breathe. Once it takes hold, we are forced to live with it but we can’t without coughing and spewing and gasping. It chokes the life right out of us. And that, my friends, is one reason why we bother worrying about our sins. We seek forgiveness of them because we can’t live a good life with them on board. God’s forgiveness is like a holy lavage washing away the obstructions and leaving behind clean, breathable airways. Holy forgiveness is like spiritually cleansing proverbial arteries and inserting stents to keep the life blood flowing.  Only it isn’t just a patch. It is healing.

Hidden sin. It’s a killer. It’s hard to see, hard to imagine, hard to find, hard to bear. It is just that, hidden. I’ll share a good example of that given to me not long ago. Let’s say a person decided to rob a store. He enlists the help of his good buddy to drive the getaway car. The poor buddy, suddenly excited about the worldly wealth coming his way, blindly follows the directions given him and the caper is pulled off. You know where this is going, right? Both are guilty, both have broken the commandment “Thou shall not steal”. Is one more sinful than the other? What if they both confess their sin and ask for forgiveness? Could there be hidden sin that needs confessing? There is in the fact that the first person enlisted the help of the second. He enticed his good buddy into sin. He essentially gave him a ticket on the train to ruin. Don’t think I don’t know that the second person did, in fact, accept the assignment. He did and that’s something he has to atone for. But what if the first person doesn’t confess the sin of dragging another down with him? The hidden sin becomes a thorn in his soul. It festers there and keeps him from complete healing. The first person needs to see what he has done in terms of leading another into sin. He gave the ‘ticket’ to his good buddy. It’s true the good buddy had it stamped, so to speak, and he is responsible for that, but the ticket (hidden sin) is what got him on the ride.
Now this is an extreme example, not one likely to be commonplace so lets think about something more relative. Let’s look at a scenario that is far too common – Let’s say a married man is attracted to a woman at work. She is vulnerable and desperately wants to be loved by someone, anyone. She says she draws the line at taking another woman’s husband but that doesn’t stop the man from pursuing her and trying to convince her that having an affair is a good idea. He comes onto her so strongly that finally she gives in and they have a full blown affair. They both come to regret it and seek forgiveness by confession. But let’s not forget this: her sin of adultery is strong enough to ruin lives. His sin of infidelity AND leading his co-worker into sin also has grave consequences. They both ‘bought the ticket’ but the hidden sin needs recognition and confession for a complete healing.

How many areas in our lives do we have hidden sin? Wow. Good question. And a good reason to seriously contemplate what we include in our confessions to God. Our desire, no, our need is for complete forgiveness and healing of our heart and soul.

Let me ask you this; have you seen a child learning to walk? Did you love to see him struggle to get to their feet and take their first steps only to fall to the floor and cry with a broken heart? Of course not. Well then, were you delighted when the child managed to get to his feet again and actually take those first steps with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, triumphantly clapping chubby hands and happily giggling? I like to think that this is how God feels when He sees His children get up off the floor and try again in terms of asking for healing and help to live a wonderful life in accordance with His will. The key to doing that is first carefully examining and then baring your soul to Him, hidden sins and all. Yes, I know He is all-knowing and already has seen what you are, much the same as you do with a child. But, oh how He loves when we learn to come to Him!

Think about it.

And by the way, please pray for peace.  Once again, let me say the world is depending on your prayers.  Please pray that mankind will wake up to the atrocities of war, famine, need.  It’s not too much to ask.  God surely has sent people with the skills and ability to do the right thing.  Please pray that people will wake up and finally do the right thing.

In light of current tragedies


tree 005This is a wire Tree of Life shadowbox sculpture I did back in 2012 entitled Bayou Religion.  I did 3 of them.

I believe it is pretty appropo for today.  I hope you see why.  May they rest in peace.

Please please pray for peace, an end to violence and hate, and renewed hearts.

Cautionary Tale


Scary thing happened to me this evening.  I had to stop for gas at a truck stop near where I live and while I was at the pump, a man snuck up behind me and growled at me, which of course made me jump out of my skin.  Luckily I had my hand in my pocket and I blurted out “You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you!”

He just laughed and laughed.

Here is the worst part – his buddy, who was washing the windshield of his truck, said “I’m sorry.  He does that to all the old ladies pumping gas.”

Wait.  What?

This is a true story.  Of course, I realize that the most serious part is that anything could have happened even though the gas pumps were well lit and there were lots of people around.  Perhaps I should be more aware of my surroundings.  I thought I was doing a good job, but no, I guess not.  It was a lesson learned.

Now that that is over with, let me tell you about the elephant in the room.  There is something to be said about what my dear brother refers to as “Oldage”.   I have noticed that I get the senior citizen discount without any one asking.  I have noticed that when I see people I haven’t seen in years, they look older.  Even my husband’s dr. looked at me funny (after pressing me to get a flu vaccine) when I told him that I won’t now, but maybe when I get old.

Damn.  It sure slipped up on me quickly.  But trust me…I will not go gently into that good night!  I might look the part but I don’t feel the part.  I’m loving my life.  And thanking and praising God for all the blessings He gifts me with is the best part.

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Please remember to pray for peace, y’all.  And it might be a good idea to throw some praise and thanksgiving in that prayer for all the good Lord has done for you.  Gratitude never hurts.  Myself, I’m thanking God that my husband’s surgery was a success!  Also, that the nut at the gas station didn’t harm me and I didn’t have to shoot him.

God bless y’all.

 

 

GOD GARDENING ~ a personal experience


Anyone who knows me knows I love gardening.  My garden is Eden to me.  I have planned it to attract birds, bees, squirrels.

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I’m not really accomplished at it, not really a green thumb here as the compost pile can attest to. Lots of failures in terms of trying to grow something and having poor results.  I remember the first time I tried to have a pot plant. I was 17 yrs. old.  My first apartment was over a garage and it was so rickety the dresser mirror slapped the wall when a person walked across the floor. It was downtown Alexandria on Fisk Street, the rent was $40/month, and my landlord was Mr. T.W. Moreau. But it was home for me and I loved it. I wanted to make it my own by having a real live potted plant. I went downstairs and dug up some dirt, put it in a pot, and planted a piece of ivy someone gave me. First of all, Mr. Moreau wasn’t happy about the hole I dug, and secondly, I had no clue about a plant’s basic needs like light and water. Or potting soil. Funny thing now that I look back on it, I didn’t have a clue about a much of anything!

A lot has changed since then. I can call myself a gardener about as well as I can call myself a writer and an artist. I use too many quotation marks, commas, and colons. I start over with a painting as much as I have finished results.  Ha!  The painting I’m working on now, I had to wipe out 4 times before I got what I wanted and that was just the undercoat!  That’s just what I do. That doesn’t mean I have reached the pinnacle of what the world deems success, it just means that I have done what my heart desired. I have learned to nurture.  I’ve learned to garden.

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There are shortcuts to gardening and maybe everything else. I have found over the years that the rules of gardening correlate to the rules in life. For example, the species of humans must have community, friends if you will. Gardening is like that. All your friends want to give you a piece of theirs. You accept seeds or a plant from one friend, then another, then one more.  And before you know it – a little piece of all your friend’s gardens now live at your house. You water when it’s dry, throw a little Miracle Grow around when you think about it, pull a couple of weeds every time you go outside – then voila, people think you have a green thumb. It’s simply not true. You just have very good friends. My garden has my mother’s and Aunt Kat’s hostas. Faye, Sylivia, Deborah have shared a multitude of flora and fauna with me. Sue gives me a start of a Night Blooming Cereus every year. Every year, yeah, because somehow I manage to…. Well, I don’t even want to say it. I have daylilies galore. They keep multiplying, kind of like friends. A shortcut, but one with staggering success if you put your heart into it. My heart is into it because of my grandmother. She had a real greenhouse. I can remember the smell and her constant attention to it. It represented something akin to love and security to me.

Over the years I found that gardening is like loving God. Yes, it is. He who made all things. He who loves. He who nurtures. You wouldn’t believe how thankful I am for that! Gardening has revealed Him to me. He provides just the right amount of whatever is needed by His creation. Don’t you just love that? Please let me show you how He works this into our very own lives:

We’ve kind of had a struggle the past three years. There has been major illnesses for both my husband and myself. I have kicked it in the butt but my husband is seriously ill at the moment. We are two (barely) old folks who love each other very much, fight like cats and dogs (it’s in our DNA) and share every aspect of our lives. When I hurt, he hurts. When he hurts, I do too. Sometimes we have worldly needs that might take some creative financing. You know, the limited (barely) old folks budget thing because of medical bills, etc. Here is something I have learned; it is not necessary to worry about these things. Period.

A couple of months ago, I was commissioned to paint a picture for a Christian organization called the ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat community. To my surprise, I found it easy to come up with a composition reflecting the theme to match the future retreat for women as requested. Must have been the art angel sprinkling grace dust upon me. I don’t know. Anyway, I painted two pictures and over the weeks it took, I made it clear that this art was a donation to the community because my own spirituality had grown due to them. I love the ACTS organization. They are amazingly talented in revealing the love of the Lord to one and all. Finally the day arrived when two reps from the community, Charlotte Wasmer and Father Derek Ducote, came to assess my simple paintings and make a choice as to which one they would choose.  Fr. Derek asked Charlotte which one she wanted. She quietly said “I want both of them”. I couldn’t believe it and was so happy and humbled. We had a great visit for a couple of hours before they left taking both paintings with them. It was wonderful.  They gave me a beautiful card of sweet gratitude signed by several ACTS personal.  Before long, I got a text from Charlotte saying she left a love offering and I would know it when I saw it.   What!?   I found the envelope. I got chills when I opened it. I took it to the living room where my husband was lying down. I told him “you have to look at this”. He said he didn’t need to. I told him more firmly, “you have to look at this. I told you God would provide.” He took the envelope and his mouth dropped open.

Two weeks or so before, I threw a fleece before the Lord. If you don’t know the term, it means asking the Lord to provide for a specific need. I needed new tires on my car. I asked for that. And I trusted.

The envelope contained $400. The tires cost $398.

If that’s not GOD GARDENING, I don’t know what is!

Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Your prayers are very much needed.  Let us all turn to God.

 

FAITH


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I’m sitting here on my back porch, relatively early in the morning for me at least.  You’ve heard the phrase “drinking in the loveliness of the morning”?  Well, that’s me at this moment.  It’s almost cool for the first of September, a little overcast, breezy.  I look at my flower beds, the pergola the hubs built for me, the wisteria that has decided after 17 years that it wants to relocate.  Hanging baskets on the porch.  Rocking chairs waiting for someone to put them in motion.  Wind chimes whispering, not full throated as they were designed, but quietly as if somehow they don’t want to disturb the peace of the morning.   You may think I’m nuts but I feel the presence of the Lord.  Yes I do.  Body, soul and spirit.  The love.  He is love.  It’s almost like heaven.

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I need this right now, this beauty, this peace, this love.  Isn’t He wonderful?

This morning I want to talk about faith.  I’ve been exercising mine a lot lately.  I’ve had to draw on it pretty regularly and I’ve come to think of it in a different way than I have before.  It was a remark made by a very compassionate priest to my husband while he was in the hospital this past week.  I wasn’t in the room but the hubs told me later.  Apparently, my man said something to him about me.  Father Bill told him that I have a great faith.  Who, me?  Hmm.  He doesn’t know how I really am, does he?  I don’t know the man well enough for him to see me in the throes of a tap-dancing fit, or having an all-holier -than-thou attitude.  Father Bill doesn’t know I am frustrated, fearful, angry, selfish, self-centered, my moral compass askew at times.  Trying to be strong and missing the mark.  How strange.  This man of God thinks I have great faith and my husband agrees.  Lord, I’ve got a lot to work on.  How do I live up to that?

I will say this:  I do love the Lord.  He has shown me His love by saving me from many perils; health issues, calamities, and indeed, from my own foolishness.  And you know what?  He doesn’t have to prove His love to me.  For heaven’s sake, He is God.  But He does, He wants to.  He envelopes me with His love.  He is always there when I need Him.  I talk to Him and I try to listen to Him.  He speaks to me through many different avenues – His Word, people he puts in my path, the beauty of sitting on my back porch.  Many different avenues.  I, the one who rarely trusts anyone, feel the pull to completely trust Him.  He has an uncanny way of revealing Himself to those who are open to Him.  I like to think I am.  I get in my own way sometimes and am not as alert to Him as I should be, but I try.

Is this faith?  Maybe.  But you know what?  I don’t want to have faith.  I want to be faith.  I want to have the fortitude not to ever doubt that my various situations in life are part of His will for me.  I want to trust without question, not constantly have to learn to trust.  I want to be faith enough to not have that knee-jerk reaction of fear every time my world cracks a bit and threatens to fall apart.  I want to be faith enough to be kind and loving, to help others find peace, to not think of myself first.  I am not skilled in any of those attributes but I’m trying.  It’s going to take a lifetime for me to reach that pinnacle, if I ever do.

Have you ever thought about these things or am I just weird?  Do you ever long to be as good as the saints and angels?  Here’s a news flash.  Those saints – most of them weren’t angels.  We just celebrated the feast of St. Augustine, that one was a real booger if you ask his mom St. Monica.  But he came around.  And he was one of the finest examples of faith a person can find.  (He learned it from his mom!) Amazing, isn’t it?  He didn’t just have faith, he was faith on earth.  The work he did for our Lord is incomparable.  Praise God!

Being faith as opposed to having faith is much harder.  But there is help.  You know Who.  Him, the kind Teacher, the compassionate Lover of all, the One Who is love.  The Object of our faith.  His offering to us didn’t stop on the cross, although that is the ultimate sacrifice and most important selfless act of all time.  He continues to offer us Himself.  He loves with abandon and teaches us how as well.  He never gives up on us no matter how wayward we become.  He offers us the gift of hope when we aren’t sure the sun will come up in the morning.  He has a plan for each of us individually, personally.  We just have to open our eyes, our hearts, our will to him.  We have to strive, not only to have faith, but to be faith.  One of the most marvelous things about God is that if you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, ask Him.  He will show you how.  He’s good like that.

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If you are a praying person, I have a few requests for your prayer list:

Please pray for the Catholic Church.  It appears that the enemy has wormed his way in, in an effort to destroy all God has built.  The Church as a whole will never give in to this.  Pray for the strength to oust this evil, to rebuild and to continue to proclaim the true Word of God to mankind.

Secondly, please pray for my beloved husband.  He is very ill right now.

Third, please pray for peace.  The world needs your prayers right now, this very minute.