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Prayer and Compassion

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER LEADS to a loving union with the Holy One but not for private enjoyment. Prayer draws us into unity with Christ, into communion and community. Compassionate action results, growing out of the love of God. We receive the love of God and return that love in grateful devotion. We pray, not to get what we want from God but to consent to what God wants. Prayer expresses relationship, sometimes with words, sometimes deeper than words can express.

– J. David Muyskens
Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer

From page 58 of Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer by J. David Muyskens. Copyright © 2006 by J. David Muyskens. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you experienced compassion growing out of prayer? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Luke 9:57-58, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Create in Us Pure Hearts

Today’s Reflection

GOD OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND JUST, grant us courage to walk the path of faith with integrity and wisdom to rely on you to guide our feet toward the level ground of vital Christian community. Test us where we think we are strong, and strengthen us where we know we are wavering. Above all, create in us pure hearts given fully to love of your truth. Amen.

– Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John S. Mogabgab
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God

From page 188 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk with God by Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John S. Mogabgab. Copyright © 2013 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Walking Prayer

Today’s Reflection

CHRISTIAN PRACTICES that incorporate everyday gestures and actions typically involve our bodies: We speak, sing, eat, wash, or bow. We walk. By investing these gestures with new meanings, Christian practices shift our way of being in the world. …

These practices are not burdensome tasks or rules required to become “good Christians.” Instead, they are gifts from God that nurture openness and receptivity to divine love that streams continuously through the people, events, and places of our world. Walking represents one such Christian practice. …

When I walk, my life slows down. Rather than speed past the world around me, sealed in my car with the radio playing, I move slowly. Moving at the speed of my feet, I hear the sounds of birds, insects, and the wind blowing through the trees. The rhythm of my footfalls invites me into an awareness of myself and the world around me. This awareness leads me beyond creation to the Creator. … Walking, like all Christian practices, makes me more open and receptive, more mindful and aware.

– Thomas R. Hawkins
Every Step a Prayer

From pages 18 and 20 of Every Step a Prayer: Walking as Spiritual Practice by Thomas R. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Thomas R. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Take a brief walk during lunch, and pray with each step. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Gift of Your Body

Today’s Reflection

The Gift of Your Body

DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL that is not habitual for you. Perhaps dance as you cook, do some stretches each time you get up from a chair, rent roller skates and go for a spin, or go to a water aerobics class. All day long, try to be conscious of the gift of your physical body.

Prayer Response: Spend some time thanking God for your body. Read Psalm 139:1-18, and ponder God’s presence with you as a physical being. Linger over verses 13-16, and use them as a part of your prayer.

– Lynne M. Baab
Alive Now, May/June 2016

This excerpt is from the article “A Seven-Day Experiment with Wholeness” by Lynne M. Baab, pages 40-42 in Alive Now, May/June 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Try praying as directed above using today’s scripture. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:1-8, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Finding Renewal

Today’s Reflection

BECAUSE I HAVE NO brothers, sisters, or children and my parents both passed away over a decade ago, I found it necessary in the years between divorce and remarriage to work intentionally to discover a spiritual family. I became involved in a church-based ministry to the homeless. After remarriage I withdrew from this ministry for a time, but then the morning came when I knew this had been a mistake. Putting issues of addiction on an emotional back burner, I headed over to the gathering place for the day’s activities. I hadn’t signed up – people certainly weren’t expecting me – but it was like stepping into a different world. The excited embraces I received from folks who remembered me from pervious years flooded my heart with new life.

In my few but meaningful hours there, I felt Jesus’ presence amid our gathering in a profound way. And that presence seemed to convey this thought: Your work in this ministry is not over. Your marriage is not the only context for being with me, and it is not your only form of family. Remember that. Come and be with me here as well. I need you in this larger family of mine, and you need this family for yourself.

Upon returning home, I felt restored. I put the struggles of the previous night out of my mind, and my husband and I spent the rest of the day in harmony and piece. That temporary immersion in a family of Christian brothers and sisters, together with our beloved homeless guests, brought healing.

All of us with addicted love ones need this understanding of a wider net of relationships – whether our struggles are with sons or daughters, siblings or parents, husbands or wives. Whatever the case, the Lord waits to replenish our hearts and give us new strength when we seek the restoring love of spiritual families.


Loving an Addict

From pages 80-81 of Loving an Addict: Gospel Reflections of Hope and Healing by Alyssa Phillips. Copyright © 2014 by Alyssa Phillips. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you find renewal during difficult times? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 77:20, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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A Prayer for Hard Days

Today’s Reflection

Some Days Are Very Hard

Some days are very hard.
And on those days
May you know that you are loved,
You are held,
You are not alone.

Some days are very hard.
And on those days
may you remember that
Hope and healing surround you.

And if you cannot remember,
if you cannot trust,
If you cannot feel the Presence,
We will remember and trust
And feel and believe
On your behalf.

Some days are very hard.
And on those days
May light and love
Soothe your heart,
Calm your mind,
Heal your spirit,
Surround you in peace.

– Beth A. Richardson
Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me

From page 89 of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2016 by Beth A. Richardson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
Psalm 77:2, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Ecclesiastes

Today’s Reflection

FROM THE OPENING WORDS OF ECCLESIASTES, the reader is invited to hang on for a wild ride, an adventure, a struggle, a question that never ends. If you believe scripture carries authority and embodies truth, then what to make of the book of Ecclesiastes?

Ecclesiastes tests everybody’s spiritual comfort level. Is the book of Ecclesiastes God-inspired, God-breathed? Did God bless every word? Is it holy? Is it true? … Can a person embrace the hard-edged spirit of Ecclesiastes and still be a good Jew, a good Christian? Or is Ecclesiastes a bizarre mistake, an aberration, a curmudgeon who slipped past security and wandered into the holy corridors of the canon?

“All things are wearisome…” and “For in much wisdom is much vexation…” and “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me” – Ecclesiastes is full of passages that embarrass any picture-perfect version of biblical orthodoxy. …And now, in chapter 4, Ecclesiastes takes a different line of attack – a heartfelt outburst on behalf of the oppressed. He implies we should do something about oppression.

I read every sentence of Ecclesiastes as if the Bible’s stoutest public defenders are right when they say scripture should be taken as truth. There’s no use pretending Ecclesiastes and his passionate warnings don’t exist. All right then: Who were the oppressed, and who are they to me?

– Ray Waddle
Against the Grain

From pages 63-64 of Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes by Ray Waddle. Copyright © 2005 by Ray Waddle. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Read Ecclesiastes this week. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
2 Kings 2:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone with physical challenges. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 9 comments }

Labyrinth Prayer

Today’s Reflection

LABYRINTHS OFFER AN “ancient path” that spans centuries of pilgrims walking their prayers. For medieval Christians, the labyrinth symbolized the path to the holy city of Jerusalem.For modern Christians, it represents a journey to the heart of God.

The labyrinth differns from a maze in that it has only one entrance and one exit, with no tricks or dead ends. You’re always on the path and can trust that you won’t get lost. When you meet others on the spiral trail, you simply pass each other in respectful silence and keep going. …

Try the following suggestions to frame your labyrinth prayer:

  • Remove your shoes and pause at the entrance, praying that God will lead you in your prayer.
  • Walk slowly, breathing deeply, and imagine that you are meandering to the center of your soul, where the Spirit speaks to you.

When you reach the center, have a leisurely conversation with God, bringing your cares and concerns, as well as anything you might need to let go of as you leave the center. Or simply rest in the Presence.

You may choose to bring a particular question or issue for discernment, praying for wisdom and insight when you reach the center.

Follow the path back out again, unburdened by anything that might impede your steps toward loving service to God and others.

– Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of Life

From pages 27-28 of Praying in the Messiness of LIfe: 7 Ways to Renew Your Relationship with God by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2011 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you every prayed a labyrinth? Describe your experience. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:39, NRSV

This Week: pray for friends and neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The “Shoulds”

Today’s Reflection

THE “SHOULDS” in our lives demand the impossible from us. They buoy us up by false motivation – a pressure that has no connection to our inner spirit. They ultimately sap our energy, halt our momentum, and separate us from God. Unfortunately these same “shoulds” also seem virtuous on the surface: perfection, strength, hard work, and selflessness.

By their very nature, “shoulds” seem to be right. But, by their very nature, “shoulds” are false; they are based on an assumption that we won’t be able to live up to the standard, so guilt is inevitable. …

Merciful God, I do not need to be “should upon” by anyone, for you alone determine who I am and where and how I live. Give me the power to accept that freedom. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

– Patricia Wilson
When You Come Unglued…Stick Close to God

From pages 55-56 of When You Come Unglued…Stick Close to God by Patricia Wilson. Copyright © 2007 by Patricia Wilson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29, NRSV

This Week: pray for friends and neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Our Help and Our God

Today’s Reflection

MANY OF US feel perpetually overwhelmed by financial difficulties, relationship problems, health issues, and more. All of these can weigh on us, leaving an impression in our souls. When I am driving from place to place, my brain will frequently bring forward a laundry list of concerns and issues – both my own and the world’s. They marinate and soak into my soul, and even if I forget the details as my attention is redirected, I feel the weight of them. Something nags at me, and I feel troubled. …

The psalmist [who wrote Psalm 42] asks twice, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” … We don’t know the specific troubles that burdened the psalmist, but we can identify with that sense of disquiet that rolls over life like a fog. …

However, the psalmist doesn’t leave us without hope. We can reassure ourselves, even as we hear the psalmist reasuring himself, that we “shall again praise him, my help and my God.” …Our help and our God, we pray that you will remove the weight of disquiet from our souls. We long for a time when we feel the joy of praising you once again. Amen.

– Emily Reeves Grammer
The Upper Room Disciplines 2016

“From the devotion for Thursday, June 14 by Emily Reeves Grammer, in The Upper Room Disciplines 2016: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2015 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
“http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Galatians 3:25-26, NRSV

This Week: pray for friends and neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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