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When someone dear to me is in need of prayers, typically that need stays on my mind or pops into my mind multiple times a day. Each time I think of you, I consider it a prayer and tell God that I’m grateful for all God is doing to better your situation. These prayers are what my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Drevs, called ‘aspirations.’ She said an aspiration could be as short as “Jesus” or “Savior” or “Oh, God (meant in a good way”.

Those near me hear me say “Well, now I’m in ‘pray without ceasing mode'” in response to a request for prayer or a confidence of something unfortunate in life. Today’s Still Speaking Devotional, Pray Constantly, reminded me of this and so I pray for everyone who reads this.

Absolute Almighty,

You are the Alpha and the Omega, here before the beginning of the universe and likely here long after this universe passes away. You knew us long before our parents’ parents’ parents’ were even longed for. Your energy is love and wants to create more and more. You are the heat that melts ice and spark that ignites fire. You are every motion and every medicine. You are far beyond my comprehension. I worship you. You are amazing!

relentless loveLord of Light,

Today I pray for my dear friends, near and far, known and unknown. I pray that all will come to know you. I pray that your love will spur us to stop the violence. I pray that you will inspire parents to raise children with mindfulness and respect. I pray that your energy will fill us all to overflowing with your uplifting grace and will spill over into all our interactions with others. Help us get past the fear of finite resources and lavish on others what you lavish on us. I pray for health, quickly, for those for whom it is a time to heal; I pray for death, quickly for those for whom it is a time to die. I pray for a world without pain. I pray that we learn from every adversity and that we find ways to turn evil and bad into good.

Humble us, Loving Lord, and help us to accept the things that cannot change and to have the courage to change what we can – for the better. Help us to live gratefully.

relentless-love-in-Gods-handGenerous Giver,

Even the poorest of us gets by. So many of us are rich beyond belief, yet live in an impoverished way.We live richly when walking daily with you. You give us much more than we need, especially your relentless mercy and love. Thank you for the buds of next spring on the trees outside my window and for the family who helped to prune the tree. Thank you for the beauty of this earth shown especially in an infant. Thank you for hope. Thank you for loving me.

Jesus taught me that anything I request in his name will be granted, and so I ask all this in the mighty name of Jesus, embodiment of you,

Amen.

To God be all glory!

Love always,

 Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

I have a friend who keeps a gratitude journal and aims for 100 items each day. As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I start to list the people and things for which I’m thankful. Then I realize the list will be too long, oh Lord! If I were to read everything into a Thanksgiving blessing, the food would be dreadfully cold and my guests would be out of patience by the time I’m done.

Cornucopia

Unimaginable One,

I come to you this morning knowing that I am poor and helpless. Only through you and your loving creating energy can I even breath, much less stand and clean and cook and prepare to welcome my family and friends tomorrow! You called the heavens and the earth into being, so long ago that we can only try to reconstruct how and when it happened. I praise you endlessly. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

I pray today for joy and energy and patience, patience with myself, Steve, Thea, Adrienne, the dogs. I so want this Thanksgiving to be evidence of your love for us all, through me. I pray that you will continue to bless us, as you already have – to such a marvelous extent that the cornucopias of our lives are overflowing. I pray that you will remove me from the bondage of self, so that I may give without reservation.

I pray for those who are traveling, including Kate and Will, Chris and Margaret, Peggy and her family. I pray for those who will be alone by choice, hoping that at the last moment, if they want companionship that you will provide. I pray for those who will be alone not be choice; point them to my house, Lord, and let me lavish them with food and your love. I pray there will be enough chairs and enough room at the tables.

Generous and Glorious Giver,

You have granted us such bounty, of food and belongings and friends and family. I have so much more than I could ever need. Bless it all to your purpose. Thank you for dogs. Thank you for heat. Thank you for the turkey. Thank you for sight and taste and smell and hearing and feeling. Thank you for intuition. Thank you for all the people and things that would make this prayer go on for pages and days. It is all from you, everything I have and everything I am. I am incredibly grateful.

Jesus promised that if I ask in his name, it will be granted. And so, I call on Jesus’ mighty name.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

Today’s devotional is one of those that helps me. If you haven’t already, I hope you take the time to read it.

Times of trial are definitely times for reflection and determination to change ourselves for the better. I add to Rev. Robinson’s thoughts one more: Try to stop saying “why me?” instead say “of course me, every human – even Jesus – suffer times of trial. Now, what can I do to make something good come from this?”. Focusing on what God would have me do has been the best way for me to again feel God’s power. And when I feel God’s exquisite energy working through me, the importance of the trial melts away.

Still-speaking Sovereign God,
gold ore

You are the creator of all the elements of this earth.

gold oreYou are the fire that allows gold to become closer to pure. You are the ever-present energy that is the force to keep the world spinning. You are my creator. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

This morning I have all my regular requests that I bring to you. I bring my sister, once again, as she struggles to continue her life here. If it please you, heal her completely and remove these recurring cancers. Make the chemo effective to the point that it totally removes the cells that mutate. Please keep Susan healthy and happy. Bring Bill Gunderson, Jill Thompson, and so many back to complete health, please. I pray of you to heal relationships and bring battling people to realize that they are merely your creations and they should, before all else, love.

Generous, Giving God,

Thank you for blood moons, to watch and revel in the glories of your creation. Thank you for Tom, who rescued me from a truly unattractive yard. Thank you for Helen, who went so far as to give of her bone marrow. Thank you for Susan and all friends who lift me up. Thank you for the world. Thank you for my life. Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

 

I’ve had “the weepies” since Saturday.  Today is Friday.  I’m stronger by the day, but I’m still emotionally fragile.  WeepiesAnd then this morning, I found this daily devotional in my email inbox. Maren Tirabassi writes such good stories. And prayers.

I know there are people with worse troubles than mine. I live in suburban US, spring has come; I don’t live in a war-zone or gang-ridden neighborhood, I’m not starving (far from it!) nor freezing. But my spirit is weak and my emotions are fragile.  Will you pray with me, please?

Inscrutable Imagineer,

The layers of your love and your plan go on forever; I can’t know them all, but I sure do love them! You are amazing and I love seeing ‘what happens next’, even when it brings me to tears. Only you can interrupt the mortal actions throughout my day, reminding me to focus on you… on your compassion… your brilliance.

Compassionate Creator,

I bring Thea and Jim and my own self to you.  I pray that your will be done, and if you don’t have a strong preference, I pray that Thea not have to go through chemo again.  She’s only 62 and I’m not ready to lose her.

self care - 12 steps

Hold my brother close, please, and remind him to take care of the marvelous being you have created, the one that we know as Jim.

And me: strengthen me. Grant me intelligent compassion: the ability to care for others and to care for myself just as much and to take care of myself. And help me to come, and to come to, and come to know, and come to know you.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunshine, and cold dew on the grass, and plants to ‘harden off’ as they prepare to go in the garden. Thank you for bleeding heart that came back, after Pat Hummel gave me replacements for the one I lost in the drought. Thank you for the pond and thank you in advance for the waterfall and the goldfish.  Thank you for popups that tell me of a book written by John Shelby Spong. Now I want to read it and Amazon has it for a penny. Thank you for sisters in Christ who pray with/for me. Thank you for my life.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

 

Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional, written by Elissa Johnk, quotes this scripture:

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. […] To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people . . . .” – I Corinthians 9:19-23

So, she wrote this with me in mind (and people like me, all around the world).  I read it, then prayed the prayer, then went into the kitchen where Steve is washing dishes, and read parts of it to Steve.  And I prayed the prayer again, right in front of him. Those of you who know Steve know he hates organized religion and preachiness. I read and prayed anyway, because I want him to know I’ll try to love him better and occasionally take a pass on loving strangers.

arguing-coupleI’ve wondered for a long time how I can be so pleasant to friends and even strangers, and even do lots of stuff for them, but I won’t remember to do that for Steve. I’m not a tent-maker and don’t even want to be (heck, I’m a seminary drop out).  Yet, I believe it IS my Christian duty to show love to all people. It seems to me that if I wear a cross, I need to be a good representative of Jesus.

But here’s the thing. I need to remember to be good to Steve or else HE gets a bad representation of Jesus. Do you think Jesus went home to Mary and wouldn’t help mend the broken things that a carpenter could do?  (Mind you, one Gospel has him calling his mother “Woman” at the wedding feast of Cana, and being pretty nasty to her when she asks him to do something about the lack o’wine.) I hope he could curtail his expectations of his mother and treat her with love and respect.

LoveWordCloudDid Jesus have siblings? Popular opinion states that he did. I hope Mary & Joseph taught him respect for all family members. I spent years trying to show my parents just how wonderful I was. Much of this was at the expense of my poor sister and younger brothers. I try now to treat them well, even when they royally annoy me (as they so often do and I so often annoy them!). (I can’t explain why James, his brother, is such an authoritarian. He was raised by the same people as Jesus.)

Was Jesus married? Do I even need to care? If so, I hope his wife embraced his mission and travelled with him. I hope he treated her like a queen. I hope, in his perfect-Jesusness, his son-of-Godness, that he treated his wife and children well.

So here’s my prayer, and if you are like I am, and continue to strive to embody love, compassion, kindness; I invite you to pray with me.

God of Graciousness,

You make the goodness in the world. You still speak and since the beginning, your words are you. Your word is light, shutting out darkness. You are not evil. You are not the god who plays chess with the incarnate evil and sends bad things to happen to good people. You are goodness. You are kindness. You are love. You are amazing!

Lord of Light and Love,

I pray that today you will replace all selfishness with love. Help me to take enough time to replenish my resources, so that I remember to think before I speak or act. Write the words love and loving-kindness on the inside of my eyelids. Grant me patience. Grant me grace. Grant me compassion. Take me back to where I was in the honeymoon of my love for Steve. Give me new eyes to see all the good he does. Remind me that I don’t need to cure every ill of the world. Remind me to cure the ills at home.

And I bring to you those with ills of mind and body. I bring those who aren’t handling life as well as they should and those who don’t have the resources to manage things well. I bring those who cannot bring themselves as well as those who don’t realize that they can bring themselves to you. I pray for a better and just economy. I pray for wisdom for the world’s leaders. I pray that your kingdom come on earth and turn upside down the belief that all resources are finite and insufficient.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunlight and lamps that bring the full spectrum of light indoors. Thank you for a husband who washes dishes and cleans the patio after the winter. Thank you for the promise of spring in the bulbs that stick their heads out. Thank you for colors, especially the green of growth. Thank you for my life.  I love you so much.

I pray claiming the promise of Jesus. That if we ask in his name, our joy will be made full.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

© Melissa Pazen, 2015
LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

Have you read the stillspeaking devotional for today? If not, click here. It’s a God-moment, when we turn everything upside down; just like Jesus told us to do.

“Blessed are those who appreciate it when they get head lice, for theirs is the kingdom of good parenting and good relationships.”

~ the gospel according to Melissa (the heretic)

(clearly NEVER to be included in the formal church tradition)

 

I’ve had head lice. Kate was then Katie. She was in first grade and had longer hair and brought them home. Louse - adult male that lives on h;umansChris never got them. Katie and I shampooed with a nasty potion every three days and tried to comb out the nits. We washed combs, brushes and anything that touched hair. Mostly we wanted to stop itching!

But God! God helps us to reframe our thoughts about these little parasites, even while we strive to eliminate them.  Lice show us that love and affection have taken place and love is always a good thing.  Will you pray with me, please?

Lord of Lice and Love,

You created everything, even lice. Each has a purpose and a place in your world. Monkeys eat lice. I guess it’s part of their balancing of their diets.  

You are bigger than just the creator of humans, monkeys and headlice. You called the universe into being. You were there before it existed. You will be here long after all of us have turned to dust. You are amazing!

Light of Love,

I humbly approach you this morning. I bring all of my brokenness and I pray for healing. I pray for forgiveness, for me and all who have wronged me OR YOU. Part of getting over things for me is to understand. Yet even when I can’t understand, help me to forgive. Help me to allow people to be less than perfect. Help me to enjoy the journey with them, help me to ask your forgiveness for my sin and to forgive those who have wronged me, deliberately or inadvertently. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus is said to have taught disciples to pray:
Abba, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation. (Luke 11:2-4)
 Jesus turns the world upside down
Tall order! And I pray you will help me to forgive those who I feel should be indebted to me in any way; for those who have trespassed or sinned against me.  I find my judgment runs rampant like: 

“Losing” (Tenth Avenue North)

I can’t believe what she said
I can’t believe what he did
Oh, don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Don’t they know it’s wrong, yeah?
Maybe there’s something I missed
But how could they treat me like this?
It’s wearing out my heart
The way they disregard
This is love, this is hate…
We all have a choice to make
Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Well it’s only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that’s mine
Seventy times seven times
‘Cause Lord it doesn’t feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it’s not that much
When I think of what You’ve done.
This is love, this is hate…
We’ve got a choice to make
Oh, Father won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Oh, no!
Why do we think that hate’s gonna change their heart?
We’re up in arms over wars that don’t need to be fought
But pride won’t let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it’ll stop
But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down
Oh, Father won’t you forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
Yeah, I feel like I’ve been losing
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’
I feel like I’ve been losin’
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’

Lord, I pray for your grace. Heal me from sin, especially the sin of judgment when I’m hurt. Marianne Williamson wrote:

At a certain point, we forgive because we decide to forgive. Healing occurs in the present, not the past. We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present.

Lord, help me to love.  And Lord, help me to love. And Lord, when I forget, help me to love.

Generous Giver,

You’ve given me all that I have, especially the ability to forgive.  I am truly grateful.  Thank you for full spectrum lights to use even in the darkest winter.  Thank you for green tea.  Thank you for technology and the ability to write my prayer to you and the memory to remember to pray. Thank you for my life. Thank you for the lives of those around me, and the lessons I learn from my community. Lord, I love you so much!

Jesus taught me that when I ask in his name, I shall receive, that my joy be made full.  I pray for that joy and your peace as I pray

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2015

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Astonishing Architect,

bright mountains winterOnly you can bring a morning of exquisite sunshine to a bleak mid-wintery kind of day.  You are the energy and creative force of the universe. You are the word, and the word is love. I fall to my figurative knees in front of you, as I type these words to you. You are more than I could ever imagine.

Loving Light,

dawn of creationI bring my brother, Jim, to you this morning. I thank you for his new job. I pray you will remind him in the darkest of times to lean on your perfect strength and let you guide him. Help him to know that you control all things and that the job for us poor mortals is to appreciate the beauty of how you make all things fit together. Help Jim to relax and look for good, look for the love in Helen’s eye and the good intention in Angela’s movements. Let Jim know that a hug goes a long way for all of us.  Remind him to be loving and kind… even to try it, just for today. And, Lord, let Jim know that we love him.  We simply do.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for a Christmas that was indeed ‘dayenu’, it would have been enough just to have my children with me. It would have been enough just to have Steve’s loving attempts at presents to please me. It would have been enough to make them happy with gifts you inspired me to bestow on them. And yet, You – Lord of all land and below and above – You saw to it that we enjoyed one another’s company and that I got to have my children, now numbering three, tucked in their beds here on Christmas Eve. Thank you for helping me, over the years, to let go of my expectations for great times and find the beauty in the good times, because they become great when viewed in the proper way through the proper lens with the proper focus. Thank you and thank you again. Lord, I love you so much.

Jesus told us that if we would ask in his name, we would receive, that our joy be made full.  And so I ask in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

We need to strengthen such inner values as contentment, patience and tolerance, as well as compassion for others. Keeping in mind that it is expressions of affection rather than money and power that attract real friends, compassion is the key to ensuring our own well-being.

~ The Dalai Lama, Spiritual Leader of the Tibetan People

Tibetan monasteryThis morning I read this quote.  Gratitude has been primary in my values and my emotions lately.   Love equals Compassion; Compassion equals Love.  Just for today, try on the value of compassion/love. And let me know how it feels.  Loving is no emotion for wimps or those afraid to be vulnerable, who don’t know the benefits of being wide open to others.

 

Will you pray with me, please?

God of our Fathers/Mothers/Ancestors,

Only you could give us compassion. It is the expression of empathy and love.

Lover of Light,
Fill me, please, with compassion. Let me see where I’m needed and act. Let me lean on your perfect strength in order to do so.   Remind me, God, over and over that my purpose is to please you and to serve others.  Let this beam from me, please.  Let me be a blessing to others.

Generous Giver,
All is from you. ALL is from you. All is from YOU. I take what you offer and I am thankful.

In Jesus’Name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– II Corinthians 12: 9-10

That phrase, “there but for the grace of God, go I…” has been used for years. Mama said it often.  It speaks to our vulnerability.  Similar to “that’s not happened to me”, but…  empathetic.  Anyway, I was hospitalized after going to the Doctor’s office with a ridiculously high blood pressure.  And lying there feeling vulnerable, I knew that “there go I”.

Will you pray with me, please?

 

Incredible Imagineer,

The universe reflects the beauty you envision.  Your creations sing your praise.  I worship you.  I pray on figurative bended knee while my fingers shout of your glory.

Loving Lord,

I pray today to give you the glory and to thank you for all you have done for me.  For I was ill and you healed me.  Your perfect power restored balance and stability to my life.

empty bed

I am grateful.  I thank you, too for resolving Amy’s troubles.  That’s simply amazing!  And I am filled with gratitude for the friends you have provided who care for me.  The cards, the soup, the emails and calls; all demonstrate your love being spread through your followers.

And, Lord, thank you for relieving my mother-in-law’s pain.  Thank you for antibiotics that clear infection.  Thank you for physical therapy techniques that regenerate muscle mass and strength.  Thank you for returning clarity of thought.

circle

Path Straightening God,

With every step, we are closer to your kingdom.  Speed it’s coming, Lord, so we may witness all you have done and all you can do.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

This morning, I read an article on The Bonobo And The Atheist, a book written by primatologist and atheist, Frans de Waal. I added it to my Amazon Wish List because it looks to be right up my alley. In it, de Waal argues that ethical behavior, known in humans as morality, is an evolutionary phenomenon. The reviewer (theist and anthropologist Barbara J. King, whose book Evolving God also went on my Wish List) mentions that chimpanzees, macaques, and bonobos all are empathetic. De Waal also notes “there is little evidence that other animals judge the appropriateness of actions that do not directly affect themselves.”

Amazing Almighty,
You are. That alone leads me to praise you, merely for who you are. I rise in the morning and see evidence of you everywhere. You are. Amazing!

Lord of Light,
A non-judgmental being seems far worthier of your love than I am. I want to be non-judgemental. What happened in our evolution that took us away from the level of primates who have empathy and kindness. Do we need to be judgemental in order to be sentient? Perhaps these are two sides of the same coin; perhaps to be able to think and make decisions we must be able to judge. But, somehow, Lord, I’d rather not have the brain chemistry to judge others unless I can fully understand them. And I don’t think I can ever fully understand another. I think that’s your realm – not mine. For you are the Creator and I am but the creature.

146293843-bonobos-congo-sanctuary

So today, Lord, perhaps you can help me to be more like the primates. I like being able to think and I love having free will, but it would be wonderful not to have the hateful sin of judging others. As Paul said “all have sinned and fall short.”

Source of all Seen,
I thank you for my health and my sister Thea’s recovery. I thank you for the promise of spring.  (And, btw, Source of Humor and Whimsy, I will always be grateful for opposable thumbs!  Great idea!)

primateWorld

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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