One thing that I am always sure of is that God loves me. God doesn’t have to prove that I am loved. If life and things do not go my way, and I didn’t get what I prayed for, I don’t blame God. I ask God to give me what I need to get through what- ever difficult time that I think that I am experiencing. Psalm 123 says “God is so good, so kind. He loves me like a father loves a child. For all this, I say thank you, God!” Please continue to send me your prayer requests and for allowing me to pray with and for you. Brother Paul, CAH email@example.com
I have a friend, someone to watch my back (and front and sides too!). When you know that there is someone there for you, anything is possible. When I remember this I feel and know that I can handle all that life has in store for me. For me that someone is God. Psalm 139 says something like this: “ God you know me so well. You always know what I am thinking and feeling. You know what I am going to say before I say it! Even in the night, you can see me-you know my secrets, you know my fears. I praise you for making me who I am.” I believe that God says to me: I know and love you-I got your back. Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you, and for continuing to send me your prayer requests. Brother Paul, CAH. firstname.lastname@example.org.
How often do my own thoughts and desires take precedence over what I should be thinking and doing. I can amaze myself that I can make up various mental scenarios and then try to believe that they will become reality. Instead of “taking it one day at a time” I can project my thoughts into the future (possibly a future that is at best a wish), which when viewed in the light of what is real and could not occur. At times like this I know what I have to do—start to pray. Psalm 143 puts it this way “Please God, don’t ignore me when I ask for your help. I know I can count on you! Show me the right road to take. Teach me to obey and do what you want. You are my God!” Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you. Please continue to send me your prayer requests. Br. Paul, CAH (Prayer Chaplain). email@example.com
I am so fortunate! No matter what happens and how circumstances affect me, I am loved. When I make mistakes and hurt myself and others, I know that there is an understanding available to me. Whatever others may say or do, I am sure of one very important thing—“God is so good, so kind, and he always forgives me. He loves me like a father loves his child. For all of this, I say thank you God!”- Psalm 103. And how do I say thank you—by true repentance and earnestly making amends when and where ever possible. Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you. Please continue to send in your prayer requests. Brother Paul, CAH. firstname.lastname@example.org.
One weakness I believe that we all share (especially me!) is a lack of patience and a willingness to be still and listen to God. How often do I say—I want it! I should have it and I deserve it!! I want it now!!! However, what I think I want may not be the right thing for me, worse it could even be harmful to me. At times like this, the words of Paul in Romans 8: 26-28 can make sense: “…the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called to his purpose.” Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you. Please keep sending your prayer requests. Brother Paul, CAH (Prayer Chaplain). email@example.com
In my work as a chaplain, I am often confronted with patients asking “Why did God allow this happen to me? What did I do to cause this distress that I am now experiencing? Is God mad at me? Am I being punished?” My answer is that God loves us, we are special and that God feels and experiences everything that we do! We are not alone. God created and sustains us. We can not presume to know God’s will or to dictate our desires and expect that they will be answered just as we want them. But we can be sure of one thing: God will give us all that we need, if we truly ask and believe that our prayers will be answered in the way that God knows best. Paul in writing to Timothy says “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (1Timothy 1:6 and 7). Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you, and please continue to send me your prayer requests. Br. Paul, CAH (Prayer Chaplain). firstname.lastname@example.org.
are very few things in this world that I can control. Most are completely out of my control. I don’t know of anything that I can control completely. This scares me! It makes me feel smalland helpless. I am forced to asked—What can I do? I feel lost and alone. Who can I turn to? What can I do? Is there anyone who can help me? —Wait! I am not alone or really lost. I know that God is with me and feels and experiences what I feel and am experiencing. At times such as this, I see myself as a little child and know that there is a loving parent (God) who I can trust in, rely upon and who allows me to know that I’m OK. Psalm 116 says “I love God, because He listens when I talk to Him; He hears my prayers. I love God because he comforts me when I am
scared. I thank God for protecting little children like me.” Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you and please keep sending me you prayer requests. Brother Paul, CAH (Prayer Chaplain). email@example.com.
For me, it is always time to pray. Not just because I am a member of a religious community with a “way of life” that requires prayer, but because prayer is my way of life. Whether I pray formally with set prayers or just be there with God, it is my goal to become always aware of God’s presence. In good times and not so good times, I know that God is always with me, sharing in my life, thoughts and feelings. Psalm 113 says “All people everywhere, all who love God, let’s sing to him today, tomorrow and every day! First thing in the morning and just before bed, praise God!” Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for you, and for sending in your prayer requests. Brother Paul, CAH (Prayer Chaplain), firstname.lastname@example.org.
My contacts and interactions with others are some-times pleasant, occasionally
indifferent and once in a while just plain uncomfortable and disturbing. It is
easy to see God in the first instant, often difficult in the second, and
perhaps not possible in the last instance. When I encounter indifference and
hostility I try to remember Jesus’ new commandment- “Love one another as I have
loved you.” (John 13: 34-35). What this means to me is that the Father loves
me, Jesus gave Himself for me and the Holy Spirit gives me the strength to believe and practice
this commandment. I am reminded of Psalm 100-“God made us, and we are his
people. So we should sing songs of happiness! Let’s celebrate God’s goodness,
His love will last forever.” Thank you for allowing me to pray with and for
you. Please continue to send your prayer
requests. God bless- Brother Paul, CAH
(Prayer Chaplain). email@example.com
What’s in a (Church) Name?
Most of the church names I grew up with in the Church of England were fairly common. They were usually a saint’s name, or Holy Trinity, or Christ Church. They might look for all the heavenly help they could get: All Saints. In the cities, newer churches (that is, built after 1800!) had to settle for obscure saints: Saint Cyprian, Saint Agnes, Saint Werburgh’s (she was local). In the mid-20th Century, they started to branch out a bit: Christ the Worker, for example.
Other denominations had their favorites. Roman Catholics might have the Church of the Assumption, or other doctrinal names. They did stop short of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility. Some of the ‘Free Churches’ were named in memory of someone, which always struck a bum note in my mind. What would John Wesley think of a ‘Wesley Memorial Church,’ for example? Are we worshiping and serving the living God here, or building a memorial to someone? The most ridiculous memorial names I know are both in Portland, OR: Savage Memorial Presbyterian Church (it just sounds wrong for a Christian church), and Grace Memorial Episcopal Church (did you know Grace is no more?).
When I moved to the States, I found some of the same names, but a lot of others, too. Some are very unimaginative. How many ‘First Congregational’ or ‘First Presbyterian’ churches do you know? The Lutherans are more likely to name their churches after qualities of God, or Christ. One of my favorites is Prince of Peace Church in Battleground, WA – a wonderful choice. There are still few churches named after the Holy Spirit, though.
The first wave of ‘Emergent’ churches, started 10 years or so back, had names that still related to Christian faith, but in an edgy way: Solomon’s Porch, Mars Hill, Imago Dei. More recently, churches seem to be going for a name designed to grab the attention of Gen X and Millennial folk. Two founded in 2012 were ‘Shift’ (Mendota Heights, MN) and ‘Not Yo Moma’s Church.’ Yes, I’m serious. It’s in Mesa, AZ.
All of which got me thinking.
Does your church live up to its name?
Does its name present the right image for outsiders in a very different age?
For that matter, what does the name ‘Community of Aidan and Hilda’ say about us?
Would you be willing to change the name of your church to reach a new, unchurched population?
What else would you be willing to change? What is permanent, non-negotiable?
What’s in a (Church) name?