Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

The Eucharist Diet: The Law of Displacement

posted by Mark Herringshaw

February 8, 2010

Day 39

Weight: 199 lbs

Weight lost: -7 lbs

I’m static, parked now for more than a week at this level. I’m still taking communion daily. I’m still finding myself conscience of what I eat. But I’m not dropping pounds. Okay, what’s up?

It’s time for an exercise in displacement.


Displacement is happening in my life. We’re considering listing and selling our home and my wife Jill has been on a purging binge, emptying closets and drawers. She’s insisting that I join in and weed out my old, unused stuff.  There’s something very powerful about the process, not only practically, but, I think, spiritually too. Dumping old shirts and books I don’t need, simplifies my life and makes room for other better things. Two like-size things can’t occupy the same space. One displaces the other.  

I think I can use this principle in my spiritual life. While God has boundless capacity, we do not. He can love without limit, but we can not be loved without limit. We have portions of time, emotional energy, intellectual focus, and physical presence. When we are committed in one thing, we are limited in another. Therefore, if we want God to speak to us we have to eliminate clutter that currently pre-occupies our soul.  We have to clear the static that distracts our awareness and focus in on the one broadcast frequency God is using.  Put another way, we need to make room! 


I think there’s a food consumption principle here as well, When I fill my stomach with Doritos and cheese dip and chocolate cake and other Super Bowl cuisine, I have no room and no desire for an apple or a salad. But when I have fruit or salad, I supplant space for chocolate cake.

Today I supplant. I will eat my fill of good things, beginning with a bowl of granola and ending tonight with communion.


A Blizzard Prayer for Washington Snow

posted by Mark Herringshaw

A second major winter storm is hitting Washington and Eastern seaboard. Snow, wind and slush are hounding commuters again today as blizzard warnings from Baltimore to New York City herald the arrival of another historic storm – more than 10 inches of new snow on top of the 30 inches that fell just a few days earlier.

Let’s pray for the safety and health of all those affected. Driving is treacherous and dangerous. And shoveling snow can be a major cause of injury and even heart attacks and death.

“God, we pray for the protection and health of the millions of people impacted by these major winter storms on the east coast of the United States. Give everyone wisdom in how they travel and work to deal with this major disruption. Guard the health of those driving and those working to dig out. Give peace and wisdom and rest where it most needs to be… In Jesus…”


A Prayer Against Fear in “Shakin’ Chicago”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 hit rumbled through the suburbs of Chicago, the windy city, this morning. Damage was minimal; fear was not.

While there are many more ominous disasters of note in the world today, the fear and even panic sparked by even a small earthquake is a very real thing. And fear, whether from a warranted danger or not exacts a price on us. Pause with me and pray for the millions of people who felt a spike of fear as this earthquake hit Midwest.

“God, we pray for all those who experienced fear and panic this morning as a result of the Chicago earthquake. We thank you that it was not worse than it was. But we also ask that you comfort those who felt a spike of panic as a result. Recover their emotions. Guard them now against further fear. Bring peace where there was trauma. In Jesus…”


Interview ii with Alex Ness on “The Karma of Jesus”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Alex Ness is a writer, poet, and social critic. Recently Alex interviewed me (Mark Herringshaw) about my book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Here is another excerpt:

AN: People use the word “Karma” in many ways. What does it actually mean, in your frame of reference?

MH: Karma is an ancient Hindu word; the complete concept is very complex. Most religions, including Judaism and Christianity include some tenet similar to the concept of Karma. When we experience trouble, we imagine there must be some cause. A shattered relationship, financial struggles, health problems, family strife – Why? What’s the reason? We also want to know if there is a way out? It’s almost instinctive to explain our troubles by saying, “We reap what we sow,” or “The piper has to be paid,” or “The chickens always come home to roost.” We seem to understand that if we act well, blessings come back to us; if we act badly, problems come back to us. This, in its simplest form is “Karma.” Again, I know it’s much more nuanced than this for those who spend a lifetime exploring the depths. But in a popular sense, this is what I mean when I use the word.


AN: Why is our culture so fascinated with Karma?

MH: The word “karma” is chic. It seems to explain everything, I suppose. And more, it promises me some control over my own destiny. Karma gives me a kind of roadmap for mastery. It may take me a eons, but at least it gives me direction. We like this. Google “karma” and you could get 106 million results. Not bad for an arcane word coined 4,000 years ago to describe a concept almost impossible for westerners to fully grasp. Now alongside belief in a God who communicates, cares, makes choices and prefers one thing over another, many have added faith in “Karma” – a belief in the sovereignty of cause and effect. In order to communicate the gospel in this environment, we have to take into account the belief in Karma and go from there. Again, I’m starting here and using this as a bridge to talk about – and hopefully better understand – Jesus. That’s the essence behind my book “The Karma of Jesus,” and the website  


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