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Healing Our Wounds

Today’s Reflection

MY MINISTRY RADICALLY CHANGED when I realized that what we call our negative sides — anger, anxiety, complaining, criticizing, procrastinating, controlling, and so on — are usually deep inner cries for help. Perhaps they are cries from early childhood, rising from emotional wounds that never healed. We were told so often to get over them, rise above them, forgive and forget, concentrate on the positive, that we thrust down these unhealed wounds below our conscious level.

But wounds do not just go away. If unhealed, they cry like abandoned children in the dark, forgotten places within us. The only way they can make their presence felt is through our negative attitudes, our addictive escapes, all symptoms of pain.

– Flora Slosson Wuellner
Miracle: When Christ Touches Our Deepest Need

From page 25 of Miracle: When Christ Touches Our Deepest Need by Flora Slosson Wuellner. Copyright © 2008 by Flora Slosson Wuellner. 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 for those who are recovering from being wounded. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

Luke 14:13, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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 Bodies Matter

Today’s Reflection

OUR BODIES MATTER in our faith. Our bodies matter in our spirituality. Our bodies matter in our prayer. Our bodies matter in our learning to follow the way of Jesus, in our receiving and responding to his transforming love for us.

But the resistance runs deep. …

Thinking about our bodies is complicated and confusing. Our relationships with our bodies, our fears and inhibitions and anxieties, are complex and deep-seated. It’s possible we grew up in homes where our bodies – their integrity, privacy, and care – were not respected. so we have no sense of when and how we can offer our bodies to God as a holy offering.

It’s also possible that our bodies have been violated and abused. While Jesus spent a great deal of his ministry healing bodies, he also ministered to people whose bodies had been violated or whose physical conditions caused them to be shunned. …

I believe that God is a tender God – acquainted with pain and understanding of our fears. If bringning the body into your practice of faith is a subject of deep anxiety for you, find a person you trust with whom you feel secure and safe and ask for help. The journey to receiving the gift of your body will take time and requires the support of trusted companions along the way.


What We Need Is Here

From pages 73 and 75-76 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 by L. Roger Owens. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What connections between body and spirit do you see? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Luke 14:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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Seeing God’s Love

Today’s Reflection

MAY I SEE TODAY
the largeness of your love
in even the smallest part of creation.
May I be ravished
by traces of your beauty
in earth and sky.
May I experience
the eternity of your grace
pulsing within each moment.


Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation

From page 130 of Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation by Sam Hamilton-Poore. Copyright © 2008 by Sam Hamilton-Poore. 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

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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Interceding for Others’ Healing

Today’s Reflection

EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT experiencing trouble in our personal lives, we know others who may be going through difficult circumstances. In the pain and agony of these troubles, they may feel unable to pray. By interceding for them we fulfill our commitment to support one another in the body of Christ.

Prayer to Use with Protestant Prayer Beads

Cross: O Lord, you are our protector and helper;
Invitatory bead: I call upon you today for those who are in pain and trouble.
Resurrection bead: Support and strengthen them.
1st cruciform bead: God of grace, grant your help to those who are experiencing mental troubles.
Week beads, set 1: Use each bead to pray for someone who is suffering mental distress.
2nd cruciform bead: God of mercy, grant your healing to those who are experiencing physical pain.
Week beads, set 2: Use each bead to intercede for someone who is sick.
3rd cruciform bead: God of compassion, grant your comfort to those who are experiencing relational difficulties.
Week beads, set 3: Use each bead to pray for someone who is troubled in a relationship.
4th cruciform bead: God of love, grant your strength to those who are experiencing spiritual troubles.
Week beads, set 4: Use each bead to intercede for someone who may be struggling with faith.
Resurrection bead: Faithful God, protect us all,
Invitatory bead: and help us in our times of trouble.
Cross: God, send your help and support to us. Amen.


Another Bead, Another Prayer

From pages 64-65 of Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotions to Use with Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent and Max O. Vincent. Copyright © 2014 by Kristen E. Vincent and Max O. Vincent. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Spend time in intercessory prayer today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:1-2, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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Prayer

Today’s Reflection

I AM BETTER OR WORSE as I pray more or less. If my prayer life sags, my whole life sags with it; if my prayer life goes up, my life as a whole goes up. To fail here means I fail all down the line; to succeed here means I succeed everywhere.

-E. Stanley Jones
How to Pray

From page 14 of How to Pray by E. Stanley Jones with commentary by Tom Albin. Copyright © 2015 by the E. Stanley Jones Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What impact does prayer have on your life? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
Psalm 81:13, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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Leading from a Contemplative Stance

Today’s Reflection

CONTEMPLATIVE LEADERS show up to self, others, and God. They pay attention to what is going on within themselves as well as within and beyond their congregations. These leaders notice what God is doing in their own lives and outwardly in the congregation, as well as in the community beyond the walls of the church.

They are conscious of their own resistance to God’s invitation, and they work through it. This gives them discernment and spiritual authority to recognize and speak to congregational resistance to the Spirit.The contemplative leader lives and acts out of this deep attentiveness, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and releasing the outcome of that obedience to God.

Contemplative leaders exhibit profound courage and inner freedom. They are present, compassionate, discerning, wise, and resilient. They love well.

– Elaine A. Heath
God Unbound

From pages 82-83 of God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church by Elaine A. Heath. Copyright © 2016 by Elaine A. Heath. 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 ever worked with someone who leads from a contemplative stance? Describe the experience. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
Psalm 81:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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God’s Heart of Compassion

Today’s Reflection

GOD’S HEART BEATS with the pulse of compassion. God’s heart is not hardened toward the plight of the world; it is not callous and cold in the face of suffering. … God’s heart is moist. It is moved by the cries of those who suffer, and it delights in the beauty of creation’s flourishing. In stark contrast to the God espoused by the religious authorities – a God who is quick to condemn and whose purity is so severely holy it refuses to be stained by human imperfection – Jesus likens God to an extravagantly loving father who grieves a prodigal’s plunge through the pig sties of obscenity, who suffers with the pain of separation, and who rushes down the road, eyes wet with compassion, to embrace his beloved’s return, soiled clothing and all. (See Luke 15:11-32.)

Like the rain that falls on the unjust and the just, the sun that shines on the good and the evil, God’s compassion remains ever-present, abundant, and unequivocally extended to all without exception – the elder as well as the prodigal, the Republican as well as the Democrat, the Muslim as well as the Christian, the terrorist as well as the victim pulled from the wreckage.

– Frank Rogers Jr.
Compassion in Practice

From page 14 of Compassion in Practice: The Way of Jesus by Frank Rogers Jr. Copyright © 2016 by Frank Rogers Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Look for ways to practice compassion today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.
Jeremiah 2:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for those who are grieving. 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: Rose of Lima (August 23).

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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Knowing God’s Will

Today’s Reflection

THINK OF THE WILL OF GOD like rain. If we run outside to capture some of the water, we go with an uncovered bucket. Rain can only fill an open bucket.

Similarly, when it comes to praying to know God’s will, our hearts must be open. … Our souls must be receptive. Otherwise, the “rain of God” will splash off and never soak our lives.

Now may be a good time to renew your covenant with God – a time to incline your heart to the Lord and say, “God I am willing to walk with an open heart, knowing that this is the starting point for any and all discernment.”

– Steve Harper
Walking in the Light

From page 35 of Walking in the Light: Knowing and Doing God’s Will by Steve Harper. Copyright © 2014 by Steve Harper. 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

But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”
Luke 13:15-16, NRSV

This Week: pray for college students. 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: Maximilian Kolbei (August 14).

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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God’s Hands

Today’s Reflection

MOSTLY WE NEED TO SEE OTHERS with the eyes of Christ. Dostoevsky said that to love another person is to see that person as God intended him to be.

We are all sinners. We have all been wounded. We all have hopes and dreams. Above all else in life, we all need to know the love and mercy of God.

Henri Nouwen wrote a beautiful book in 1992 called The Return of the Prodigal Son. It is a sustained reflection upon what Rembrandt did with Jesus’ story in Luke 15. The painting, which hangs in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, portrays an aged, nearly blind father embracing his ragged son come home. The left hand is strong, muscular. The right hand is soft, tender, like a mother’s hand. The light is focused on those hands, which Nouwen describes:

“From the moment I first saw [the painting], I felt drawn to those hands. I did not fully understand why. But gradually over the years I have come to know those hands. They have held me from the hour of my conception … They have protected me in times of danger and consoled me in times of grief. They have waved me good-bye and always welcomed me back. Those hands are God’s hands.” …

All of us are like that son, needing more desperately than anything else the strong and gentle embrace of the hands of God. We must be those hands for each other – not someday, but today.

– James C. Howell
Yours Are the Hands of Christ

From pages 58-59 of Yours Are the Hands of Christ: The Practice of Faith by James C. Howell. Copyright © 1998 by James C. Howell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Is there an artwork that communicates to you some aspect of the nature of God? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.”

When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
Luke 13:12-13, NRSV

This Week: pray for college students. 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: Maximilian Kolbei (August 14).

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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Receiving God’s Gifts

Today’s Reflection

I CAN’T MAKE IT BY MYSELF. United with Christ, I am given divine love and power. … Just as air is readily available for its life-giving support, so God’s love is abundantly given to us. We can receive the gifts of God and let go of our own efforts. It’s as simple as breathing—inhaling and exhaling.

–  Sacred Breath

From page 13 of Sacred Breath: Forty Days of Centering Prayer by J. David Muyskens. Copyright © 2010 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

In what ways do you experience God’s abundant love? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:28-29, NRSV

This Week: pray for college students. 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: Maximilian Kolbei (August 14).

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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