Today is a day of Thanksgiving in my country of origin. I won’t be eating any turkey or pumpkin pie today, but I am spending some time in gratitude. This prayer by William Barclay (1907-1978) reminds me of particular people for whom I am especially thankful, and for things I don’t always think of in a spirit of gratitude.

O God, our Father, we thank you for this day.
We thank you for those who have given us guidance, counsel, advice and good example.
We thank you for those in whose company the sun shone even in the rain, and who brought a smile to our faces even when things were grim.
We thank you for those in whose company the frightening things were not so alarming, and the hard things not so difficult.
We thank you for those whose presence saved us from falling to temptation, and enabled us to do the right.
We thank you for those whom it is joy to be with, and in whose company the hours pass all too quickly.
We thank you for happy times to be to us for ever happy memories.
We thank you for times of failure to keep us humble, and to make us remember how much we need you.
Most of all we thank you for Jesus Christ, who in the daytime is our friend and our companion and who in the night is our pillow and our peace.
Hear this our evening thanksgiving for your love’s sake.

Today He will hear you

This poem reminds me that our God is a welcoming God whom we can find in the present moment. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

God never says 
you should have come yesterday. 
He never says 
you must come again tomorrow. 
But today, 
if you will hear His voice, 
today He will hear you
He brought light out of darkness, 
not out of a lesser light; 
He can bring your Summer out of Winter 
though you have no Spring. 
All occasions invite His mercies
and all times are His season.

—John Donne 

Listening to God

We may not be used to silence, it may not be our natural way of being because we live in the world filled with noise, and yet it is precisely in the moments of stillness that we can hear the voice of God speaking to us gently, as He spoke to Elijah in the cave. In 1 Book of Kings 19:11-13 we read:

The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

God was in the gentle whisper, or as some translations say, ‘in the sound of the sheer silence’. Some level of interior silence lets us hear God. I think sometimes we may be afraid of what God may tell us, ask of us, but we need to keep in mind that our God is a loving, good God, and that His will for us is our wellbeing. Finding moments of stillness also lets us come to God and rest in His presence. In silence we give room for God to speak to us, sometimes beyond words. In silence we know, even for a brief moment, that the God of the universe wishes to speak His words into our lives, into our hearts, and even more profoundly He shares His presence with us. 

When we integrate these moments of stillness in our busy lives we allow ourselves to rest with God, to enjoy His presence and we give Him permission to speak to us, if He so wishes. We can do so in a prayerful setting, finding a sacred space where we come to God in prayer. However, we can also find stillness when we wait for a bus or on a traffic light, and in various moments of the day. We can pause for a short while, direct our awareness towards God, still ourselves interiorly, and listen. And if we don’t hear anything it is good to know that God is there listening to us. We can then just ‘be’ with Him, enjoying His presence throughout our days.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland

Ballyhaise Service of Healing

A Service of Healing takes place in Ballyhaise Church, Co Cavan on 24th November 2013 at 8pm. The preacher will be Bishop Ferran Glenfield. All are warmly welcome.

Author Arlene Ussery: A Novel Path of Healing

Author Arlene Ussery will be speaking in the Christ Church Cathedral Crypt on Friday, 8th November 2013, from 7 to 9pm, on interacting with novels and healing insights. There is no charge for admission, but donations are welcome. For further information, please contact our Ministry Facilitator, Iva Beranek (iva[at]ministryofhealing[dot]ie).