Prayer for lives shattered by violence

Jesus, we know You are near to the broken hearted, and we know you save those, who are crushed in spirit.

Please send an infinite shower of graces over all the innocent people, whose lives have been shattered by acts of violence and hatred.

Send an outpouring of Your Spirit like a balm of sweetness to console them during their time of grief.

Fill their hearts with the peace that surpasses understanding, and give them the strength to persevere through this painful time of change.

Surround them with a faithful support network, which provides unconditional love and leads them ever closer to You through this time.

Give them the grace of pure forgiveness in their hearts, so they can experience freedom from all anger and bitterness, which would tempt them to despair.

Infuse them with Your strength to persevere through every emotional, physical and financial struggle they must endure.

Heal their broken hearts, and help them to see this struggle as a spiritual opportunity to grow closer to You in a powerful way.

Infuse them with Your wisdom, understanding, knowledge and other spiritual gifts to deepen their connection with You.

Create beauty out of the ashes of their loss, Lord – like only You can. And give them the grace to Glorify You by their faith and courage through this tragedy.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Are you personally dealing with the aftermath of violence? Please share your story in the comments below, and we will lift you and your loved ones in prayer. Thank you and God bless.

Making glory out of grief

Oh gluttonous grief, you don’t scare me.

I know your heaviness is just a wooly blanket

that can’t suffocate the essential part of me.

I’ll sleep through the sadness and prickly heat as long as it takes.

Then at the first True Light opportunity,

I’ll cast you off to rise

and shine brighter than I ever thought possible.

God has always created beauty out of blackness,

and He isn’t about to stop now just because I’m the one that’s enveloped in it.

He allows struggles as potting soil for the bouquet of radiance that grows out of them,

and it’s worth the time it takes.

Even now I can feel my soul germinating under the weight of this gloom,

ever so slowly preparing to burst into a whole new way of being even more loving than before-

If you can’t bear with me through this process,

just give me space …

don’t block the light.

You probably won’t understand until you see me shining like the glorious sun

above it all.

The Empathy Journey

beauty beyond brokenness

I prayed for wisdom and got sorrow instead.
Funny after all these years to finally realize
she was the best gift God could have given me at the time.
She followed me around like a puppy dog,
only she walked too slow and didn’t know how to play.
And believe me, she wasn’t cute or small …
She was nice enough, but I always felt like she was weighing me down with her lumbering gait …
I’m not sure why I didn’t have the heart to shake her off –
something in me felt the need to wait …
and wait and wait and wait, as patiently as I could
for her to catch up.
The thought of leaving her behind felt like an amputation –
I couldn’t abandon her,
but I loathed her at the same time …
I lamented missing all the fun because
by the time we got anywhere, the party was over,
or when we’d finally arrive, she weighed down the room,
and the crowd quickly dispersed …
Again and again, I was left alone with only her burdensome presence by my side.
So I finally surrendered and let her choose our path …
This is when the miracles started to happen –
She led me beside silent waters, sparkling and clean –
to quiet places of beauty I could have never found if I had stayed with the crowd.
She showed me natural wonders that whispered wake-up calls into the depths of my soul …
I started to trust her, and she never stopped amazing me.
I inched behind her up the skinniest, steepest trails I’d ever seen,
risking everything along stone-edged cliffs because it was worth it.
The views were pristine –
Majestic ravines of unspeakable purity energized something at the core of my being …
something essential that had been waiting patiently inside me for a very long time.
She led me into pitch black caverns, where there was nothing to do but pray
and learn to love the silence with her by my side.
In her own somber, winding way, she taught me to slow down and forgive, to let go –
to love more deeply from afar than I ever could up close-
She gave me space to make sense of things that had always troubled my soul,
which were the reasons I’d prayed for wisdom in the first place, all those years ago …

Even now, she calls me further along the treacherous winding road, and
and I will gladly follow her into the abyss of majesty, mercy and wonder,
wherever she leads.

The funny thing is now I’m the slow dog lumbering in sweetsad kindess,
looking up with peace-filled puppy dog eyes,
welcoming others to join me on the journey to the depths of reverence.
My heart smiles playfully,
imagining they probably think I’m just sadness.

Related scripture
John 16:20: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

Reflection
Do you create space in your life to embrace the fullness of your emotional experiences? Or, do you find yourself doing anything to avoid feeling painful emotions in yourself and others? Can you make more room to open your heart to the fullness of empathy and compassion, in order to create a more authentic spiritual connection to God? It’s worth it, I promise!

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to have the courage to embrace the fullness of their emotions on their journey toward authentic spirituality. Help us to avoid the temptation to skim through life on the surface level, missing the joys found in a deeper relationship with self, God and others.

Action Step
Take some time to read the psalms, and journal about the ways you can relate the feelings expressed in your own journey of faith. Did you know even Jesus read the Psalms in His youth? A life of faith isn’t easy, but it is worth it for the depth of peace Christ brings to the fullness of our human experience.

 

Your broken heart can be your breakthrough

 You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
-John 16:20

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
-Jean de La Bruyère

Who longs for suffering? Only the saints. Rather than welcome sorrow, most of us would do anything to avoid it.

When pain sneaks into our hearts like a Trojan horse anyway, we may start to notice that others would do anything to avoid us because they’re as uncomfortable with our sadness as we would be with theirs.

This can complicate our grief with loneliness. When the deepest parts of our emotional experiences of are treated as untouchable by others, we can feel kind of like a leper must have in biblical times. We may be tempted to hide our pain with a happy face, but even if we manage to accomplish that, the sadness catches up with us in our quiet hours.

Anyone who has experienced grief knows that sorrow demands to be  experienced until it’s fully processed, no matter how unwelcome it is.

But paradoxically, Jesus declared “Blessed are those, who mourn.” So how can we experience the blessings Christ promised to us through our own sorrows, which ache in the very foundations of our being?

How can we begin to think like Saint Peter, who said “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4 12-13)

Here area few ideas:

1-Forgive everyone
Whether we blame God, ourselves, a loved one or a stranger, if we want to experience the blessings of grief, we have to get in touch with any feelings of resentment we’re harboring and let go of them to grow in compassion and mercy.

2-Accept everything about the situation
When we are brave enough to experience the full reality of all of our heartache and allow ourselves to feel the depths of our sorrow, rather than avoid feelings through escapism and denial, we are able to grow stronger through the grief process.

3-Open your heart to others
We can choose to cultivate empathy by developing compassion for those, who are going through similar struggles, rather than focusing entirely on our own pain.

4-Choose gratitude for what you still have
We can  open up to grace by choosing to treasure what we still have or we can become bitter, due to what we’ve lost – it’s our choice.

5-Detach from the superficial
If we allow it to, a gut wrenching loss can help us gain a big picture perspective of what’s truly important in life, rather than sweating the small stuff.

6-Embrace the spiritual side of life
When we lose what’s most important to us on the physical plane, we can grow a deeper sense of spirituality through prayer and meditation, which can never be taken from us.

7-Cultivate resilience
It’s empowering to realize we can survive a loss and faith is really all we need.

8-Embrace humility
In experiencing the powerlessness of a tragedy, we can let go of illusions of control and more fully realize our dependence on God’s grace.

9-Expect more happiness than ever before 
Our faith promises resurrection after death, blessings out of burdens, but we need to have faith to stay open to receiving them.

10-Seek wisdom
If we open up to receiving grace through hard times, even we can begin to see and experience the gifts of suffering like the saints. It may even begin to seem desirable to us for spiritual growth, like it was for them(we are all called to sainthood after all).

These aren’t easy blessings to embrace! But they truly are gifts from God, which can be attained through suffering if we pray are way through it and have the courage to lean into our feelings instead of falling into the temptation to close our hearts.

Christianity isn’t an easy road, but as the Psalmist said “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” My prayer is that you can feel His loving presence, as you work to embrace whatever difficult life lessons you’re going through, so you can more fully experience the joy He has for you.

Are you in a process of grieving? Comment below, and we’ll pray you through this challenging time. 

 

Prayer After Loss of Father

God, please uplift those who are grieving the loss of their father today.

Help them capture favorite memories of him.

Crystalize his most distinctive characteristics in their minds.

Help them to experience the essence of who He is in their hearts, so they realize that He will always be with them in a spiritual way.

Quickly bring healing to any painful memories and bring forgiveness to any mistakes he made in his humanity.

Fill their hearts with confidence they’ll see him in heaven someday.

Through this time of loss, help them gain a deeper realization of Your love, which will always be with them.

Draw them closer to You, and surprise them with experiences of Your fatherly love here on earth.

Support them powerfully through friends and family members as they grieve.

Strengthen their relationships through this difficult time.

Inspire them to make the most of their own precious lives.

Bless their father on His journey to heaven.

In Jesus name, we pray.

Are you grieving the loss of your father today? Please share your story, and we’ll lift you all up in prayers too. 

The gift of noticing God in our daily lives

How can we experience heaven on earth

Earth’s crammed with heaven…
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.
― Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
Aurora Leigh

When’s the last time you reflected on the very best moments of your life?

For my Theology of Spirituality graduate studies, I’m reading a memoir called “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken.

I know. It sounds like a delight, right?

It actually really is, on a very deep level.

During the grieving process of losing his young wife, Sheldon realized to a profound degree the significance of the best, most love-filled moments throughout the life he’d shared with her.

In spite of their constant battle with the busyness of mundane responsibilities, some memories had a spiritual significance that transcended time and space. He said “I realized that without conscious awareness of it I had had – we all have had — other glimpses of the eternal.”

This realization helped him connect with the timeless essence of his wife in heaven and grow in deeper awareness of God’s presence in his life.

I hope he’s right that we ALL are given glimpses of heaven through experiences on earth. I know I have been. 

I have divine childhood memories of being totally lost and free in the bliss of my imagination playing with my brother.

Running through the fall leaves as a cross country runner, while laughing with friends gave me a transcendent feeling of freedom and connection with what I now know is grace.

Through falling for the love of my life and marrying him, I have experienced countless moments of divine perfection. The joy we share, along with the security of unwavering love and support can only come from God.

Many moments with our children are heavenly as well. Rocking my babies and letting loose to giggle and play with my growing boys stand out as particularly divine, along with a growing sense of connection of our family as a whole.

All the very best experiences of my life include a sense of connection with others, pure love and freedom in being able to relax and be myself, with my spirit, senses and emotions all fully engaged. 

At times I have made the mistake of giving credit to the person, place or thing that seemed to make so happy.

Through my own sorrows and life experiences, I have learned to let go of that illusion.

Now, like Vanauken, I give credit to God for creating that sense of transcendent joy through relationships and experiences.

I increasingly realize that everything is vulnerable to change on the physical plane, except His eternal love which is with us always.

We just need to have eyes to see Him in the people, places and experiences of our lives.

The more we focus on the timeless bliss of His love for us through prayer and meditation, the more of His spiritual freedom we begin to experience and the more gracefully we’ll pass through the disappointments of life.

He is truly available to us all through faith, in every circumstance.

When have you glimpsed the eternal in your life on earth? I pray you can clearly see God’s presence in your life!  

for anyone who is grieving the loss of an infant

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”Psalm 34:18

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
― William Shakespeare

God, You know the hearts that are breaking right now.

We can only imagine the shock of going from a state of love and positive expectation of life to experiencing the sudden loss of a beloved child.

What can we do to help the family with this cavernous grief they must be going through?

Because we feel powerless, we ask for Your Divine Consolation on their behalf.

Please give them the grace to turn to You through their sorrow, no matter how dark it becomes.

Fill them with Your Light, that they may mysteriously experience Your Peace, even as they walk through this pain.

Copy of -The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God.- - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Surround them with Your Love through the efforts of caring people during this time.

Inspire their support network to provide the practical help and empathy they need, at the moments they need it most.

Provide them with enough time and space, so they can grieve in a natural way, without feeling pressured to move on until they are ready.

Open their hearts to process this loss with wisdom, growing closer to each other and You through the process.

Help them transcend the temptation to get bogged down in the heaviness of blame and resentment.

Give them eyes to see how fortunate this child was, to be so deeply loved before he was even born.

Fill them with memories of the joy he brought into their lives, even as they wish they’d had more time.

Pour a glimmer of Your perspective into their hearts through this, Lord, that they may have hope in Your Majestic Plan for good.

Help them experience Your Love in powerful ways, so they can know and trust You more than they ever have.

And please Heavenly Father, allow them to experience a spiritual sense of how their child is still present with their family in a very real way, even as You comfort them to realize he is safely in Your arms for eternity.

Who are you praying for today? Share your intentions below, and we’ll lift them up right along with you!