Monday, March 31, 2003

The Soothing Voice of Prayer

This afternoon I received a newsletter from India, written on behalf of a holy woman known as Amma, "the hugging saint," who spreads a motherly divine love to all she meets. This quote particularly touched me:
    Today, voices in protest against the on-going war are rising all around the world. The voice of prayer should rise along with the voices of protest. May that chorus of voices of prayer soothe the hearts of all. May there be peace and contentment everywhere, in everyone, always.

Amen and amen. :) k

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Endings and Beginnings

Today I'm posting the last prayer from Prayers for Peace. Thank you for allowing me to share these writings with you, and thank you to those of you have sent encouraging and uplifting notes in return. I so appreciate each of you and feel very strongly that our prayers and loving thoughts really make a difference. If you've missed any of the prayers in the last few days or want to revisit one, you'll find them as links on the Practical ~f a i t h~ web page. Please stop by or send the link to others as you feel so moved. I hope you're all doing well and keeping the faith and growing ever closer to our true source of Love. Please continue your prayers for peace and hold firmly to the vision of a peaceful world that God has planted in our hearts. :) Katherine

~ Prayer for Our Hearts ~

    "He has ordained for you the faith which He enjoined on Noah, and which We have revealed to you; which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, saying: 'Observe the Faith and do not divide yourselves into factions.' " --The Koran, 42:9

Father, you see the good, the loving, the kind, the giving in each of us. You alone see us as we are revealed in Spirit and know the true Oneness that we share with each other and with you. Bring us back, O Lord, to an awareness of our sameness. When we are tempted to see ourselves as separate, help us to calm our minds and listen to our hearts until we can hear the knowing voice of Spirit, saying “Do not be afraid.” Each day you draw us closer, and each day you teach us more. Let us remember we travel together on this road back to you. And show us how to remove our agreement—and thus our power—from the belief that we are separated by our faiths and philosophies. We are all your children, now and forever. Amen.

The world we see paints fearful pictures of war and conflict all around us. But, as we have heard so often, we choose the reality we see. And what we pay attention to grows. Is it possible for us to look for the signs of love beneath the violence? Are we able to see that of God in everyone—and focus on their Higher Selves—in spite of what they would show us on the surface? Let’s not let our differences define us, but instead choose to feel and know and understand where we are all the same. The peace that beats in a loving heart, a heart truly free of fear, would be enough to bring light to the entire world.

Friday, March 28, 2003

~ Prayer for Vigilance ~

    "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." --1 Corinthians 15:58

Oh Father, we're faint. Tired and spent, we are exhausted from carrying our own troubles, trying to solve our problems, spending our effort on tasks that seem fruitless. Take our burdens, dear Lord, that we may rest in You. Help us to remember that we alone are not enough for this task of peace, and enable us to turn to you and let you be the work that fuels us. Bring peace to our homes and our lands, dearest Father, and endow them with new life, new hope, and complete healing. Show us moment by moment how we can help you in that effort, dear Lord, but let us not forget that we cannot do this work in our own strength. We are coworkers with you in peace--not more, but never less. And one day we will all realize, in unison, that we are already joined together in peace and love in the center of Your heart. We will then know, truly, that All is Well.

There is so much to be done in the world today--so many people, so many needs, so many hurts. In our efforts to take care of our families, to work in service to others, to help further the thought and cause of peace, it is easy for us to get caught up in the doing and forget the most important thing: simply being in the presence of God. This is what makes a life blossom; this is what brings love where hate used to walk; this is what calms the fears that make people lash out and begin the cycle of violence that only love can heal. Our time alone with God eventually brings us inner peace, which radiates outward to our families, filling our homes, schools, places of worship, businesses, communities, nations, and ultimately, our world.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

~ Prayer for Compassion ~

    "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
    --Colossians 3:12-13

Lord, help us to remember that others don't always see the way we do, hear what we hear, feel what we feel, or understand things the way we've come to understand them. You give each of us gifts that are uniquely ours but so often we fail to value the gift in another, judging other gifts as wrong or somehow less important than our own. Give us the compassion you want us to have, O Father, and teach us to embrace each other with compassionate arms, no matter what our age, color, creed, history, or belief. Help us to remember that you are Life Itself, and that you are using every one of our unique gifts to bring us together with you once again.

How long has it been since we walked in someone else's shoes? Today, we can honor and respect those people we meet who come from different backgrounds, travel on different roads, choose different lifestyles, express themselves differently, or come from other parts of the world. We can look at them with eyes of love and know that our differences show the unique character of our individual gifts, but the life that animates us--the light at the center of our souls--comes from one source, the source we all share.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

~ Prayer for Courage ~

    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
    --Joshua 1:9

How dark the horizon sometimes looks. How clearly we see the fence against the sky. Does it hold our bodies back? Yes. Does it contain our spirits? No, definitely no. Lord, one day, in your timing, all fences will be gone and we will move freely as your children, in peace throughout the earth. In your time, in your way, healing with come, and we will sing freely and rejoice with all those who live and breathe in you. Give us the courage, Father, to stay the course, to keep praying, to keep believing, to focus on the good you are bringing about as you heal our idea of separation with each other and with you.

Have you ever thought about the word "discourage"? To discourage someone is, literally, to take courage away from that person. Today we can recognize others who would, perhaps because of their own discouragement, discourage us in our hopes for peace, our vision of the future, our dedication to love. We can encourage them, and bless our surroundings and all those we encounter with showers of joy and peace. And we can ask for renewed courage, a new sense of heart, to do the small tasks we are given this day in the work for peace.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

~ Prayer for Tenderness ~

    “Dear friends, since God so loved us,
    we also ought to love one another.”
    —1 John 4:11

Father, in each moment is perfect peace. When we look within, we find no war. When we look within, we find no violence. When we breathe in your Spirit and picture a world in which your people are safe and loved, delivered from the fears and struggle we each carry, we are filled with tenderness for each other and for you. Make our hearts tender to the needs of those around us—those in reach of our touch and in reach of our prayers. Blanket your hurting world, Father, this frightened, hurting world that knows not its own goodness—and whisper to each of us the realities of your love.

Finding compassion and forgiveness for those who love us is a fairly simple task—it’s something we do every day in families all over the world. But finding tenderness in our hearts for those who have wronged us, who dislike us, or who are at war with us—that’s a different matter. That type of tenderness comes only from God. Today, we can ask him to fill our hearts with love for those who need it most, not only for those who are able to give it back to us. As A Course in Miracles says, “There is only love and the cry for it.” Today we can feel compassion for those who hurt us, knowing they are driven by their own pain.

Monday, March 24, 2003

~ Prayer for Patience ~

    “Let us not become weary in doing good,
    for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
    if we do not give up.”
    —Galatians 6:9

Our most gracious and attentive Lord, help us to remember that you move in your time, knowing as only you know the perfect time and the perfect way to answer our prayers. The flower begins at seed—a seed we neither see nor understand. And gradually the seed sprouts, still deep within the damp earth, hidden from our vision. We may be tempted to believe it is not growing, and yet if we dig it up to calm our doubts, we will damage it and stunt its full blossom. Help us to be ever mindful, dear Father, that you have planted the seeds of peace for your children. Help us to continue to walk with you and know you more, growing ever stronger in our faith that what you have promised you will do, even when we do not yet have the physical evidence we seek.

How hard it is to wait after we’re prayed a particularly earnest prayer! How long is a minute to God? Sometime today, we can choose to sit quietly for 10 minutes and simply wait on the Lord. We can sit in stillness, available to God, not thinking, praying, or reading. Just waiting on the Lord can be a wonderful, restful, and rejuvenating experience. We may even find that getting what we prayed for becomes less important than spending this quiet time with God.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

~ Prayer for Families ~

    “All your sons will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be your children’s peace.”
    —Isaiah 54:13

How many babies are sleeping in the world right now, O Lord? How many children rest fitfully, awaking to sirens in the streets or the sound of gunfire beneath their windows? How many mothers look sadly at their sons, young and strong and passionate, and feel dread of the future in their hearts? Restore your world, my Lord. Restore your people. We know you are the champion of the widow, a friend to the fatherless. Your children have been in this wilderness so long, Father. Give us the vision and the resolve to look for the day when children sleep peacefully and young men and women plan for productive futures. We celebrate knowing that you are rebuilding and restoring your land, even now when things look so dark to the human eye. We rest on your promise of peace, dear Father, and ask that you help us to do what we can to hasten the day of peace. And if it is our job to wait prayerfully on your timing, we ask you to give us the grace and courage we need to do what you want us to do.

Sometimes it is easy for us to confuse love and worry. As parents, we are never far in thought—or in our hearts—from our children. We carry our concerns with us, worrying about their health, their education, their safety, and their happiness. But a life in faith reminds us that God has no grandchildren; our children are not “ours” but God’s children, along with us. We are all perfectly loved by Love Himself.

We can trust that God has us all—mother, father, children, grandchildren, and all the children of the world—in his hand. He cares for each of us tenderly and completely—not one hair on any of our heads is harmed without him knowing. Life in faith allows us to release our worry for our children and replace it with trust in an all-loving Lord. Today we can try to remember that none of us—adult or children—is ever beyond God’s reach. There will not be a single moment today when we are outside the love of God.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

~ Prayer for Healing ~

    “Why are you downcast, O my soul?
    Why so disturbed within me?
    Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
    —Psalm 42:11

Precious Lord, we know that help is on the way. We know that you are even now answering our cry to you, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.” Look for those places within us that need your healing touch, dear Lord, and give us the courage and resolve to let you work within us for our own healing. Only then can we be used as instruments in the healing of those around us—in our homes, our schools, our places of worship, our businesses, our cities, our nations, and our world. We ask, believing you hear and answer all prayer. Thank you, Father. Amen.

Do we notice the healing God does daily in our lives? We often miss the most obvious and simple things—thanking God for colds that go away, for fevers that break, for cuts that heal. We overlook opportunities to thank God when tempers are calmed, when families reunite, when governments talk peace. Sometimes our fears get in the way and keep us from believing in and receiving the gift of healing. Science may bring us tools to help facilitate healing, but life itself—and the healing of that life—comes from God. Today, we can fully accept our own healing and give the thanks to him.

Friday, March 21, 2003

~ Prayer of Praise ~

    “Clap your hands, all you nations;
    shout to God with cries of joy.
    How awesome is the Lord Most High,
    the great King over all the earth!”
    —Psalm 47:1-4

Oh our most wonderful, omnipotent Lord, how often we forget that we are all in your hand! How thankful we are to be here! How grateful we are that you love us and see us not as bad sheep gone astray but as your beloved children who are returning home to you. We feel the great love working to bring us all together again with you in safety and peace. Thank you, O God, for keeping our hearts in your care. Thank You, O God, for keeping your hand on all world leaders. Thank You, O God, for being with us, in all life, in all love, in all peace and joy, goodness and growth.

Praise is the most amazing thing--it doesn’t just shine a light in the darkness, it turns the darkness into light! No matter what the outer world looks like, we always have something to praise--God’s love, God’s presence, the very fact that we live! If we have eyes to see it, we can know there is love all around us, given to us moment by moment, day by day. The psalmist says we should praise the Lord “seven times a day.” How many times do we stop to really say thank you during the day? We can pay attention to our hearts today and find out whether they are singing a grateful or a gloomy song.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

~ Prayer for Guidance ~

    “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”
    —Psalm 32:8

Sometimes, Lord, it’s so hard to see. We squint and struggle to make sense of what you’re showing us. Help us know when you are guiding us, Lord, and when we are clutching at the wrong answers. Help us know, as this peace process unfolds, how to best follow your voice, how to love each other with your perfect love, and how to continue to turn to you and, when it’s your will, to wait until the time you choose to answer our prayers. Thank you for teaching us how to live in your care and respond to your voice.

Just for today, let’s not be too quick with our human judgments. When we’re deciding whether to go to the store or stay home, we can ask God what he wants us to do. When we’re trying to decide which clothes to wear in the morning, we can ask God what he thinks, and then listen. The more we turn to the Lord for the small issues in life, the more clearly we will hear him in the midst of big issues.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Prayers for Peace

Last summer I wrote a short book of prayers for the healing of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and this morning I felt led to revisit those prayers and found they were helpful for our current painful situation of almost desperate uncertainty. I am trying to keep my mind stayed on God, focusing on the Power and not the problem. God can heal even this situation--He can calm hearts and open opportunities and settle spirits. For the next 10 days, I'm going to publish in this space one prayer and meditation from the booklet. I hope you enjoy the prayers and find they bring you a little peace in your day. Please pass them along to anyone you feel might be blessed by them, or click the link in the left panel of the Practical ~f a i t h~ site to view the entire booklet in PDF format. Remember...God hears us, God loves us, God is with us all. Love, Katherine

~ Prayer for Peace ~

    “I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints—but let them not return to folly.”
    —Psalm 85:8

What is peace, my Lord, but your presence in our midst? What is peace, my God, but our thoughts stopping for a moment, resting on your love, breathing in your comfort? When is peace but now? Help us, we pray, to reach out our weary arms to receive the peace you long to give us. Come, Father, and abide with us, bringing your still and perfect peace to our loud and threatening world.

We can reflect today on where we need to make peace in our lives. Do we hold a grudge against a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor? Is there an unforgiven hurt within us? Are we at war with our circumstances? Let’s agree to let God heal our conflicts and bring us peace—in our hearts and in every heart throughout the world—through His grace.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

For a Growing Faith

I ran across Tennyson's In Memoriam a little while ago...and these verses from the first poem touched my heart:

    Our little systems have their day;
    They have their day and cease to be:
    They are but broken lights of thee,
    And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

    We have but faith: we cannot know;
    For knowledge is of things we see;
    And yet we trust it comes from thee,
    A beam in darkness: let it grow.

If you feel so led, you can find the entire poem online at I hope you're having a wonderful Sunday! :) k

Friday, March 14, 2003


This morning, after rain and rain and more rain, the sun rose into a perfect blue and pink sky. About half-way through our drive to school, the sun made it over the horizon, huge and orange. As we continued driving east, the sun rose to meet us, filling in all the spaces in frosted the Indiana cornfields and spreading to buildings, through trees, over hills. I noticed, driving on the country road that leads to my son's high school (the same road where his brother and I had a series accident two months ago), that the people in the westbound lane had illumined faces. One by one, as each passed me, driving away from the sun, I saw their entire faces--brightly lit and framed by the morning light. For a moment, I wondered how that could be possible. And then I knew: reflections. The sun was reflecting off my car, reflecting off their rear view mirrors, reflecting off any surface it found available. The sun, like God, radiates everywhere and touches everything. Others are "lit up" by our presence, our passing, our smiles, our thoughts. Even in a dark car headed the wrong direction, light finds a way to do what it does. Even a life seemingly hurt and battered and bruised and lost is never outside God's reach. Don't give up on anyone, ever. God might be using you to light their faces.

Many blessings to you this weekend! :) k

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Storms: Before and After

This morning at 5:00am I awoke to the sound of a strong spring storm. The room flashed full of light and then the thunder rolled in...the wind pushed at the windows and the downpour roared against the roof. It was wonderful, cleansing, powerful, releasing. Before storms arrive--the external weather-related kind or the internal, emotional kind--there's always a build-up in the atmosphere: things unsaid, emotions unclaimed, energy cells stagnating. The force of the storm pushes away the stalled or stuffed energy, moving through as a living force and releasing what's real, what's new, what needed to come out. Now we can have spring. Thank God. :) k

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

War Fries

This morning an almost unbelievable story came to my attention. The U.S. House of Representatives have renamed "french toast" and "french fries" in the House cafeteria because they are mad at France. Here's the link: CNN Fries Article

Can any reasonable adult think this will take us toward peace? Is it possible that humans--so eager to be caught up in the passion of collective, self-proclaimed righteousness--can completely miss the fact that they are acting like third graders and fanning the fires of hatred? Do they not realize that they are modeling behaviors that show an entire country how to act? This completely baffles me. How I wish peace were our nation's priority! No, I wish God was truly first in every heart and mind on Capital Hill. Then the passionate rhetoric would stop and peoples inflamed egos would dissipate and we'd begin talking rationally about what we can do to heal the world. That's my prayer today. Peace to you all. -k

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

The Lights Go On

It's been an amazingly snow-heavy winter here in Indiana. As soon as one layer of snow begins to melt, another falls. Last Saturday night my son Cameron and I sat in the dark for 4 1/2 hours (with candles and a battery operated radio) because a heavy snowstorm knocked out our power. We talked, we read by candlelight; I crocheted a blanket I started three years ago. What do we do without busy-ness? Without noise and electronics and Playstation 2? We talked, we thought, we listened, we waited. And then the lights went on, as mysteriously and as suddenly as they went out. Beyond our control, simply requiring our acceptance. That's the way I'm learning from God these days--accepting what is, being grateful for it, and learning to meet Him in the quiet moments underneath the rush and clatter of our modern life. :) k