Category Archives: Prayer

Where Do I Find Fuel for My Journey?

I find fuel for my life each day when I sit in my favourite chair, pen, journal, Bible, and book of reflections on my knee. This is my time with God.  I read, reflect and write in solitude. My day is always better when I give this time for prayer.  I’ve been practising a time of morning meditation for approximately forty years.  It’s special sacred time that enables me to remember that I am God’s beloved child, abundantly blessed.

Most days this week, God’s brilliant sunshine has created a halo around a vase of wild-flowers proudly gracing my Tibetan trunk.  Their regal beauty reminded me daily of two very important blessings in my life. First, they remind me to keep my eyes open all day to the beauty of God’s world that surrounds me. Second and even more important they speak of the love and care our grandson, Tim, age twenty-two, has for us. He picked them, brought them, arranged them and left them as a surprise greeting “just because”. They remind me to keep my heart open to God’s love that is offered every moment of every day, “just because”.

This week, God and Tim have worked together to touch my heart and fuel my soul. I am truly grateful. Without my daily discipline of prayer and meditation, I might have walked by those flowers and missed out on receiving the fuel I need for living.

My suggestion for each one of you is that you take a few moments every day to meet up with God in prayer. Why spend a day without acknowledging God’s presence, God’s power within you. God’s strength and power are there, available to you, whether or not you receive them, invite them into your life. There is no need to run on an empty tank.


Trust – ‘Cause God Don’t Make No Junk!!

Image result for god makes no junkYears ago, I had a form of this poster in my office. I wanted people to know, that regardless of society’s judgement, or yours or mine,  that all human beings are valuable because God made us. No one is junk to be thrown away in the trash.

Today, as 2018 slips away, and I pray for family members who are walking the home stretch of their journey with cancer, these words carry an additional meaning. They bring the assurance of a new life beyond death. Faith in a loving God tells us that death is not the end, not the relegation of our beings to the trash heap.

My faith tells me that death is a transition into something new. Some faith traditions speak of reincarnation – an opportunity to return to this life as someone else – animal or human depending on how we have lived this time.

My christian tradition speaks of death bringing a new form of life with God where there are no more tears, sickness, hunger, thirst.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

Although none of knows exactly what is ahead, today this poster reminds me that we will never become trash. There will be a new life. I think about this next life as a new adventure filled with forgiveness, understanding, and joy. We are God’s precious children, conceived in God’s love, carrying a spark of God’s love within us. The future, like the new year brings mystery, for sure. We can step out in trust, knowing God is with us, creating us and God doesn’t make junk!

” For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13 NIV)

Try a New Habit.

Give Thanks in All Circumstances?

In the Bible St. Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.” (1Thessalonians 5:18 )  “Give thanks in all circumstances?” Impossible! Wrong! I can’t give thanks when I lose my job, my loved one dies. How then do we follow St. Paul’s words?

Check the prepositions. St. Paul says, “Give thanks IN all circumstances,” not “FOR all circumstances.” Search for the goodness of God, IN the midst of grief, fear, disappointment. There will be goodness.

When my daughter was badly injured, I wasn’t grateful for the accident. At first, I could only be grateful she wasn’t paralysed, and for the ER doctor who consulted the specialist in Kingston as soon as he saw the X-rays. As the days passed, I gave thanks for the young Mom who brought her two-week-old twins to my daughter’s hospital bedside. As Mom laid her baby on my daughter’s chest, I saw her first real smile, and knew healing would come. My gratitude list from that accident is long. When I opened my heart to the blessings, they were there.

In tough times, the search for blessings is easier if we have already developed a “gratitude habit” – a habit of seeking out and giving thanks for the blessings in our lives every single day. Internet research reveals the following two principles concerning developing a habit.

  1. New habits require over two months of repetitions and still they are fragile, easily discarded. Therefore, forget about the time required and do the repetitions.
  2. Make the commitment. Then failures won’t matter because you will just resume doing it. Neither your financial resources, your health, nor your age, nothing can steal your ability to give thanks once you’ve made the commitment.

Seeking out and recognizing our blessings is worth the effort and practice. This Thanksgiving, I suggest you develop a gratitude habit. It may not mean more money, or things, or success, but it will mean more joy in your life. The gratitude habit will shift your focus from not enough to counting your blessings.

Three ways to strengthen your Canada Day celebrations.


Our family has a fabulous Canada Day tradition. We gather at my son’s to celebrate our oldest grandchild’s birthday. A Canada Day baby she has been our angel since her birth. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our amazing country, than to gather with family to laugh, and play, eat and share, and enjoy the fireworks. When Vanessa was little I’m sure she thought those sparkling lights in the sky were just for her.


Canadians are not particularly openly patriotic, although some of us do fly a Canadian flag in our yard. When we travel to another country we purchase flag lapel pins to give away, or bring along our T-shirt with a moose wearing a tiny Canadian flag. We’re proud to be Canadian but we see no reason to flaunt the fact.

Safe to have fun.
Safe to have fun.

Canada isn’t perfect for sure. Still we know we are blessed to be Canadian citizens. Every time I travel beyond our borders, my love for Canada is reinforced. In my travel’s have seen beautiful countries. I have enjoyed wonderful people. And when I step off the plane onto Canadian soil, I feel the urge to pat the ground, even give it a kiss. I am always glad to return home.

This year do more than enjoy the fireworks. Use your Canada Day celebrations to:

  1. List the wonderful things that make our country special. Set aside your complaints and criticisms. Forget about being humble. Write them down and soak them in.
  2. Make appreciating Canada a family project. Make a collage with pictures and words to illustrate the beauty of Canada and our citizens. Get everyone’s input – children, parents, grandparents, friends. Hang your collage on the fridge or frame it for your wall.
  3. Give God thanks for our nation. Ask God to give our leaders wisdom and strength. Tell God you want to be a blessing for Canada and her peoples.

This year, make a commitment to be the best Canadian citizen you can be.

A Tip for Celebrating Father’s Day.

Pray for Fathers and their children.
Pray for Fathers and their children.

At least once every week, Tom’s daughter Bonnie calls with “Dad, have you time to Skype with me and the children?” Bonnie obviously loves her Dad and wants her children to develop a strong relationship with us. Three weeks ago, Tom received his father’s day card from Bonnie. Tom is truly cherished.

Fathers are important in their children’s lives. Most often, Fathers are like Tom, aware, appreciative and thrilled with that relationship. Today, with so many blended families similar to ours, that father-child relationship has become very fragile. When the children are small, fathers have to work hard to maintain the connection. When your children live with their mother and you see them every other weekend, it takes tremendous intentionality for father’s to keep up with all the sports and school events and all the other important things in their children’s lives. As the children mature, they can (like Bonnie) take some responsibility for maintaining the relationship.

God created us to live in relationship. Through Jesus, God taught us how to love one another.  And God is wise. God does not force us to nurture our family relationships. We have the freedom to choose. When we choose to work at those relationships, we open ourselves to the wonder and joy that is given and received.

This year as we celebrate Father’s day, and every day, I suggest we open our eyes to see and appreciate the beautiful father–child relationships around us. Give God thanks for creating these wonderful opportunities for joy. Hold each Dad and each child in your prayers. Prayer is powerful. All fathers need God’s strength to live their relationships well.

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6

Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Does God have a sense of humour? The Bible tells the story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. ( Exodus 16). They ran out of food. They asked God for a miracle. God sent manna. Manna was not what the Israelites had in mind to solve their hunger crisis. It didn’t look like food, although it did taste sort of sweet. You couldn’t use it for trade or for wealth. Why? It had a short expiration date. It went rancid on the second day and couldn’t be eaten.

Manna was a powerful illustration of God’s wonderful sense of humor. I can imagine God saying, “Here’s the miracle you asked for. Now learn the lesson in co-operation and sharing that comes with it.” God does answer prayers, but seldom in the way we expect.

Twelve years after my divorce, I asked God for a companion to grow old with me. In a book I was reading, one of the characters prayed, “God, I need a parade of men, so I can choose a mate wisely.” I laughed at the idea. At fifty plus, I knew there would never be a parade of men for me. Not long after I finished that book, a friend suggested, “Try one of the date matching sites on line.”

My first reaction, “Oh no, not safe. Bad idea.”

“Give it a try,” my friend suggested, “Just be careful.”

I went on line and, to my delight, I discovered God was offering me a parade of men. At the time, I called it “window shopping.” I applied all the cautions everyone suggested and sampled a few. The end result, of course, is my Tom, the love of my life. In June, we’ll have been married thirteen wonderful years. As usual, God answered my prayer, not as I expected and not without some effort from me. Yes, God answered my prayer with, I’m sure, a twinkle in God’s eye.


The Election Is Over, Now What

I'm what you have. Pray for me.
I’m what you have. Pray for me.

Our federal election is over. As a nation we have chosen a new leader. We have more choices ahead of us. We can join the crowd across our country who are waiting for Justin’s first mistake so we can descend like vultures and say, “I knew it. That’s why I didn’t vote for him.” What will that accomplish except to fill our hearts with negative thoughts and send negative vibes to Ottawa.

Today, I challenge you to choose a more positive path, to let go of adversarial thinking and focus on goodness for our country and the world. After all, we do want the best possible government for our country. For the next four years, these are the leaders that can bring that hope to fruition.

There will be times when we disagree with decisions our government makes. At those times we can choose to do the research on the issues and write letters or be part of delegations bringing alternative suggestions for what we believe is a better way.

As Christians we believe in the power of prayer. In his book, “The Only Necessary Thing,” modern day theologian reminds us that too often we wait and turn to prayer as a last resort. He challenges us to begin with prayer because prayer makes a difference.

For now, I challenge us all to use this new beginning for our country as the moment we begin to wrap our nation and its leaders in prayer. Let’s ask God to give them gifts of wisdom and compassion. Let’s send positive thoughts to surround our newly elected MP’s as they make decisions for our people, the environment, the world. Let’s use the power of prayer to make Canada a strong and loving nation.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)


Don’t Leave Home Without It!


Tom and I were square dancing in Marlbank. During a rest break, we told Pearl about our encounter with a deer on the way home the week before. After hearing a detailed description of the accident and giving thanks that we weren’t hurt, Pearl said, “Driving can be dangerous. My husband and I say a prayer each time before we get in the car.” Then she laughed and said, “Never leave home without a prayer. Never leave home without it.”

We both chuckled, and the conversation moved on in another direction. On the way home, we joined the holiday traffic parade on the 401 instead of the more remote Highway Seven. I thought, that’s good advice, Pearl, not just for travelling, but for going to work, to the doctor’s, to school, anywhere. Always take your awareness of God’s presence with you. God is our companion. We can do more than stop for prayer before we go out the door. We can keep the conversation going, giving thanks, asking for guidance and strength. Our approach to life changes when we acknowledge God’s presence right beside us, God’s hand on our elbow, patting our back, holding us.

There is a plaque that says, “God is a guest at our every meal.” For me, God is more than a guest at meal times. There is a wonderful old hymn that talks about Jesus as our companion. The chorus says, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own.” Whether you walk or drive or fly, don’t leave home without reminding yourself of God’s presence in your life. Say a prayer, and not just for safety. Give God thanks for your blessings, and ask God to help you be God’s blessing for someone else. Give it a try. Don’t leave home without it. Prayer will make a difference in your life.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)

Is Prayer An Adventure or a Crutch?

Some treat prayer as

Join the Adventure
Join the Adventure

a crutch. “When you can’t stand on your own two feet, lean on God.” Others see prayer as a last resort. “Well I guess there’s nothing else we can do but pray.” For me, prayer is also a means of celebration. “Thank you, God. Praise God! To God be the glory, great things God has done.”

Henri Nouwen, a modern theologian, calls prayer an adventure with God. “This new relationship (with God) is greater than we are and defies all our calculations and predictions. The movement from illusion to prayer is hard to make since it leads us from false certainties to true uncertainties, from an easy imagined support system to a risky surrender.” (p. 34, The Only necessary Thing)

We may think we know the best way to fix the problem. We may think we are talking with God about the only possible paths ahead. Bottom line – When we truly pray, our shopping list of demands, requests, pleadings are put aside. We surrender. We wait upon the Lord.

The problem with this kind of prayer is that God’s response can be perplexing, beyond comprehension, lead us down a totally new path, make even greater demands, and even give us cause for an explosion of celebration. True prayer, true submission to God, is an adventure. Isaiah said, “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

We don’t have to live as if we’re hanging onto a rope over a deep ravine, praying for rescue in a particular way. We can join life’s adventure with God. We can give up putting limitations on God and let go of control. God is as limitless as outer space with its endless galaxies. We can live prepared for God’s surprises. We don’t have to be careful what we pray for, because we can trust in God’s endless love.

Do You Pray Too Much?

Talking With God
Talking With God

After my daughter read the first draft of my novel, Fireweed, she commented, “Great story. Wonderful tips to help with grief.” Then she added, “The main characters, Steve and Renee pray a lot. Just an observation.” I reread the book and agreed. In the story, Steve and Renee do pray a lot, and so do I. I just never thought about it.

I have a formal prayer and study time every day when I first get up, but even before that I often open my eyes and mumble, “I had a good night’s sleep. Thank you.” Tom and I pray together at all our meals. If my back hurts, I ask for help to endure it. If it’s not hurting and I think about it, I say,  “Thank you, God.” I send off a prayer every time those I’m worried about pass through my mind. When something good happens, I automatically whisper thank you. Yes, I pray a lot.

I have a running conversation with God throughout the day. It’s a habit. In fact, I pray a whole lot more than Steve and Renee in my story. My hunch is that I’m not unusual. Most people of faith pray a lot without thinking about it. Prayers don’t have to be words. In fact, every time we do a kind deed, speak a kind word, do our best, God knows.

God genuinely is a part of our life, all the time, whether or not we think about God. I suggest we be more conscious of God. Let’s think of God intentionally. Let’s truly live a life of prayer. When we make our children’s lunches, ask God that they have a good day, full of laughter and confidence. When we start our cars, give God thanks that they started; ask God for a safe journey for ourselves and the other drivers on the road. When we pass a school, ask for God’s care for the teachers and the children inside. When we look out a window, give thanks for whatever we see. Pray for our neighbours.

We don’t have to stop our busy lives to pray. Just incorporate prayer into our living. Know that one of the brightest colours in our life’s tapestry is prayer.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:5-7)