Branching Out Blog

An Advent Prayer

Posted by Sharon Krause on Nov 26, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As I seek a new approach to welcoming Advent this year, Psalm 51, especially verses 10-17, has inspired a personal prayer that I am moved to share.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me, (v. 10)

Lord, I know you are very patient with me. You did not create only in the Garden of Eden. Your power to create, correct, and enhance creation will encourage me as I proceed through the days of Advent. Help me to focus on your Son and what a gift he is to me. Assist me as I endeavor to rid myself of trivial concerns and to pay closer attention to my spiritual priorities. Take away any tendency to give in to discouragement or testy moodiness brought on by fatigue,

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. (vv. 11-12)

The Holy Spirit offers amazing inspiration when I am open and paying attention. Lord, send me that Spirit and help me recognize the Spirit’s promptings. How awesome is the joy of salvation that I enjoy thanks to Jesus’ selfless gift of himself. I can know sweet joy every day of this Advent season: J-esus O-nly Y-ou!

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. (v. 13)

 

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Topics: personal reflection, Advent prayer, prayer life, Sharon Krause

Just for a Day

Posted by Sharon Krause on Nov 22, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I enjoy religious days of reflection and retreat weekends, but due to the pandemic and perhaps to my being overly cautious, I have not indulged in such a program since February 2020. Any of us, however, can choose a day and make it retreat-like. It would have to be a work-free day, maybe on a weekend, on which we could somewhat separate ourselves from family and friends to create a private holy space in which to think, read, and pray.

Starting the retreat day with a Mass is a good idea. Invite the Body of Christ to walk with you. It would not be necessary to lock yourself in your bedroom. Retreat houses have various rooms and comfortable furniture. Many of them also have lovely grounds on which to take meditative, prayerful walks. On this self-retreat day, a walk or two in your own yard or around your neighborhood is a possible activity, weather permitting. Praying with nature often prompts reflection on the beauty and grandeur surrounding us: the vastness and bounty of our Creator. We may have to direct our eyes upward with more attention on small wonders or simple miracles of creation. Look again, and again.

Prayer books or spiritual reading material can provide food for reflection. I have books I keep promising myself I am going to read and never quite get to them. On this proposed “day away,” allowing time to relax with good spiritual reading material can allow the Holy Spirit to teach and inspire you.

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Topics: personal reflection, prayer life, spend time with God, Sharon Krause

Climb It!

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 12, 2021 6:00:00 AM

My retired husband has our television turned on a good part of any day he is not busy with an around-the-house project, so I hear a lot of commentary about the news. Climate change is often in the headlines. That got me thinking about instances in the Bible when someone comes to a high place and decides to climb it.

Bear with me. I have read that Jesus would go to a secluded place, away from the crowds, and pray to his Father. For example, check with Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, and Luke 6:12. Jesus wanted alone time, chose a mountainprobably not really a big oneand decided to climb it. Jesus knew what was important, his communion with God the Father, and rose to an occasion to pray in solitude.

Remember the story of vertically challenged Zacchaeus? He sought out a tree to give him some height and climbed it so he could see Jesus. His assent in the encounter that followed was life-changing and life-saving! (Luke 19:1-10).

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Topics: personal reflection, prayer life, reflection, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

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