Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

A Praying Spirit: From the General to the Specific

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/

If you are rushed, tired, angry, or in great pain when you pray, you might find that your prayers are more general than specific. For example, “Please, Lord, take away my pain,” or “Please help all those who are suffering.”

It’s good to place all our petitions to God in prayer, but even more effective to move from the general to the specific – when we pray and when we meditate on the feelings and meanings behind those prayers.

If we accept our lives and our physical conditions as our burdens and crosses to bear, what pain do we want the Lord to take away? The emotional pain of physically hurting? The twinges in our hinges?

If we have true compassion for people, especially those less fortunate or more ill than we are, what kind of help do we want the Lord to impart? Greater strength of will and hope? Tangible relief from poverty, hunger, and violence?

Once we better define our prayers, we can gain more insight into our spirits and character, as well as communicate more clearly with Our Lord. Of course, He knows what’s in our hearts before we even speak. But it’s good for us to clarify ourselves anyway – to shape us more firmly into the kind of loving people we are meant to be!



A Day-full of Devotionals?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Franky242/

Image courtesy of Franky242/

It’s been building up over the past few years, but this year, it seems to truly be turning into a swift and powerful waterfall – it’s the number of devotionals available to us, especially those to observe during Lent! And I, for one, am pruning before I even start!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate all of the time and effort (and the very good things) that each individual 40-day observance has to offer. But, there are so many of them! And, if you tried to do even half of the ones that sound marvelous, well, there wouldn’t be any time for deeper personal reflection.

So, I’m paring down my choices to two, and holding onto my own prayer and meditation time very protectively. If a day is too full of doc appointments, symptoms (especially fatigue), and other busy-ness, then I’ll opt for just “me and God” time.

It’s okay to say “no” to a devotional “program” for Lent, especially if you have already committed to one or you know that you’ll be unlikely to do justice to it and your personal time with God (including getting the most out of church services and fellowship with friends). Maybe you can revisit the programs you don’t follow next year. Maybe God will lead you in another direction.

Yes, maybe, it will be through quiet time, listening to God’s soft, loving voice within, that you will find greater wisdom and direction for the days after Lent.

You’ll never know unless you give it a very good, earnest try!



TLC Tuesday: Chronic Illness, Deprivation, and Lent

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLent begins tomorrow, and today, many people will be indulging in overindulgence so that they can “tank up” before depriving themselves (mostly) of whatever they choose to give up for Lent.

(I realize that doesn’t fully describe “Fat Tuesday,” or, “Mardi Gras,” but I choose to be general about it.)

You see, I don’t really observe the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as a 24-hour chocolate binge (or any other binge for that matter). I prefer to add something during Lent, rather than take something away, and if you have a chronic illness that precariously balances on the edge of a routine, with little disruption, then you probably understand why I do this.

When you live with a chronic illness, you essentially live deprivation of many kinds. So, I prefer to try to do something more, something “more good,” during the 40 days of Lent and, hopefully, beyond. And, like every year, I will keep this to myself, not seeking public acknowledgement, but rather, being “anonymous” to anyone but God.

Perhaps you feel you have no joy. Try to cultivate it for Lent. Or, perhaps, you have a hard time being compassionate toward people who are less ill than you, but complain more loudly. Try to turn around your heart. Maybe you really abhor the body that has become yours over the course of your illness. Try to see it through God’s prism: one of love for his unique child, one worthy of respect and love.

Take today to muster determination for tomorrow and all through Lent – to add something positive instead of focusing on the negative!




Food for Thought: Good Input, Excellent Outlook

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThese days, I have often found the following Scripture verse coming to mind:

“Do not conformyourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” ┬áRomans 12: 2

It’s an excellent reading to remember at any time of year, but especially during Lent, when we take extra care to pray, meditate, and disengage our lives from at least some of the distractions swirling about us.

But what I really focus on is the phrase “renewal of your mind,” and dicerning “what is good.” It’s really hard to think of the right path if you’re obsessed with the wrong one. And it’s nearly impossible to hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper if our ears, physical and spiritual, are filled with destructive noise.

As Lent approaches, think of the good that you can bring into your life and heart. Focus on it having an excellent result – and excellent outlook – in the days and months to come. I sure will!



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