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Eyes-Open Prayers

Today’s Reflection

AS WE GO THROUGH the routines of our days, we encounter people and circumstances that remind us of God’s presence and goodness. We also encounter people and circumstances that remind us that we live in a broken and struggling world. These experiences provide opportunities for instant, spontaneous prayer.

On my way to work one day, traffic was slow because of an accident. Police and medical support were already on the scene, diverting vehicles to another route. I didn’t know the people involved, but I could imagine their fear and pain.

With my eyes open, I simply prayed silently, “Lord, thank you for being present to those who are injured and scared. Thank you for working through those who have responded. May each one experience a sense of your presence, comfort, and peace in these difficult moments.”

When we come to God in an attitude of prayer and petition, the chaos that surrounds us is quieted—even if just for a moment.

– Dwight Bruff
Loving the World with God

From pages 36-37 of Loving the World with God by Rebecca Dwight Bruff. Copyright © 2014 by Rebecca Dwight Bruff. 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 times when you can pray with your eyes open. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

Psalm 137:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for caregivers. 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: Leoba (September 28).

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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Gifts of Community

Today’s Reflection

WE CAN BE SURE that Jesus keeps his promise and that when we gather in his name, he will be with us. We are often blessed by being in community. We receive encouragement, guidance, comfort, and hope by participating in a community. … These gifts of community are available to us all, and we receive them more readily when we remember that Jesus meets us there.

– Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From page 228 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. Copyright © 2003 by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben P. Job. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Are you a part of a faith community? If so, why is it important to your faith formation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

By the rivers of Babylon– there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.

Psalm 137:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for caregivers. 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: Leoba (September 28).

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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Growth through Dreams

Today’s Reflection

YOUR DREAMS ARE both powerful and rebellious. They are not bound by your fears, inertia, pain, or what your grandmother said about you. They don’t have to fit your cramped idea of who you think you are.

They don’t have to be reasonable, nor do they have to please your parents, your boss, or the church. They are free to take you to interior places you can’t imagine and challenge the way you run your life—and the way your life runs you.

They can be outrageous, daring, playful, zany, sexy. They speak truth as they point to your particular needs for growth. They highlight the changes you are now strong enough to make. Your dreams are full of parts of you that you have denied, disguised in your own easily decipherable dreamcode.

Best of all, your dreams are a venue in which God’s presence can be discerned. Your dreams are free to express your natural human spirituality even if you are turned off to organized religion.

– Tilda Norberg
The Chocolate-Covered Umbrella

From pages 26-27 of The Chocolate-Covered Umbrella: Discovering Your Dreamcode by Tilda Norberg. Copyright © 2008 by Tilda Norberg. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Fresh Air Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever gained spiritual insight through a dream? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

Lamentations 1:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for caregivers. 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: Leoba (September 28).

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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Praying with Colors

Today’s Reflection

Praying with Color

IF YOU ARE A PRAY-ER who is word weary, this prayer form may be for you. My friend and walking pal Sybil MacBeth has written a groundbreaking book titled Praying in Color, which is a treat to the eyes as well as the prayer life. A natural doodler, she explains how her doodles morphed into prayers. Better still, she instructs the reader in how to turn mindless activity into mindful activity and pray through the process.

The process is simple and suited to individual sensibilities. Assemble colored pens and other art supplies, relax with a scripture, and start doodling a shape—any shape—containing a person’s name. Add swirls and designs and colors to express your prayer. Sybil explains that praying in color gives God “a new way to penetrate the locked cells of our own hearts and minds.”

– Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of LIfe

From page 55 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

Try praying for a friend using the exercise described above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'”

Luke 16:30, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

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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Solitude and the Spiritual Journey

Today’s Reflection

THIS INWARD JOURNEY is by necessity a solitary one. We must travel alone the narrow path into the solitude of our own heart. There we find the healing we seek.

Artists have an advantage when it comes to solitude. Because so much of creativity requires a degree of physical solitude, artists must come to terms with it as an integral part of their call. …

Inner solitude invites us to live from the place where our true identity is enveloped in the peace of Christ. This solitude anchors us in the midst of life’s tribulations. When we are surrounded by chaos, the experience of solitude allows us to stand firmly on solid ground. It holds our focus on the one thing needful in the midst of all that competes for our attention. Without inner solitude, life ceases to have meaning as we are tossed to and fro by the whims of the world.

An inescapable component of the spiritual journey, solitude does not require every pilgrim to lead an austere monastic existence. It does, however, compel us as pilgrims to find a way into the still point at the center of our being where the deep peace of Christ resides.

– Karla M. Kincannon
Creativity and Divine Surprise

From page 77 of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection by Karla M. Kincannon. Copyright © 2005 by Karla M. Kincannon. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How is creativity a part of your spiritual formation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day….”

Luke 16:19, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 6 comments }

Creativity and True Self

Today’s Reflection

THE DECISION TO BEGIN the creative process commits us to an exploration of the inner life. The discoveries made there merit our whole attention and all our compassion. The journey inward reveals our gifts and our graces—who we truly are and were always meant to be.

However, the move inward also risks uncovering wounds and fears, revealing how they have distorted our true identity. The journey inward leads the artist and the pilgrim to relinquish whatever masks or hinders the true self.

– Karla M. Kincannon
Creativity and Divine Surprise

From page 76 of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection by Karla M. Kincannon. Copyright © 2005 by Karla M. Kincannon. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How is creativity a part of your spiritual formation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ….

1 Timothy 6:13-14, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

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 Inward and Outward Journey

Today’s Reflection

IT IS SAID that we spend the first half of our lives seeking to establish ourselves. We need to gain the recognition and respect of other people. Childhood and youth call for the development of the ego. Parents, teachers, churches, and culture guide us to become responsible, contributing members of society.

In the second half of life we want to be who we really are rather than being shaped by the opinions of others. In life’s second half—midlife and mature years—the ego diminishes and the greater self becomes central, finding our identity in God. Life becomes an expression of the inner life’s moving in the outer world. Contemplative prayer is the vehicle for that inward and then outward journey.

– J. David Muyskens
Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God

From page 39 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

How can prayer prepare you for the world around you?Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

1 Timothy 6:6-8, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 6 comments }

Out of Our Comfort Zones

Today’s Reflection

SPIRITUALITY IS NOT NECESSARILY a comfort zone. Most of us, myself included, prefer a spiritual path that builds inner peace, self-esteem, confidence in times of trouble, and so on. We prefer not to embark upon a spiritual path that leads to painful inner change and difficult questions! …

The spiritual path certainly leads to positive outcomes, but it can also lead us out of our familiar routine and demand significant changes in our thinking and patterns of living.

– Paul E. Stroble
You Gave Me a Wide Place

From page 28 of You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places in Our Lives by Paul E. Stroble. Copyright © 2006 by Paul E. Stroble. 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 has your spiritual led you to uncomfortable places> Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.

Psalm 91:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 6 comments }

Intentional Gratitude

Today’s Reflection

A COLLEAGUE ONCE CHALLENGED the members of our work team to find a way to practice gratitude. Every morning during his drive to work, he would make a mental list of 20 things for which he was grateful that day; and he was convinced this habit had changed his life. Intrigued, I accepted his challenge. In the car each morning, I began to name aloud people, events, intangible qualities, and aha moments that had blessed my life. At first, I worried about being able to think of 20 things, but I was surprised to find that the hardest part was stopping at 20!

I have taken up this practice several times since then, and I must admit my friend was right. When I am intentional about being grateful, I find that my attitude, my day, my life seem to flow from a place of joy, humility, and wonder that open me up to so much more for which to be grateful.

– Sandy Miller
devozine, March/April 2012

From “Editor’s Note” by Sandy Miller, page 2 in devozine, the devotional lifestyle magazine for teens, March/April 2012. Copyright ® 2012 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Consider following the spiritual practice described above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 8 comments }

Soul Friend

Today’s Reflection

WE MEET AND RESPOND TO JESUS when we rub against others in community. We receive the forgiveness of sins when brothers and sisters offer words and gestures of pardon in community. In church community we also encounter Jesus’ abiding presence, the fulfillment of his promise to be with us always, as we discover soul friends. The most helpful thing I’ve done in my life of prayer is to spend one hour once a month with an older, wiser Christian who is experienced at prayer and living life with God.

In one way, prayer is natural—we were made for it and we long for it. In another way, we find prayer confusing and fraught with challenges. Why not spend time with someone who knows the way and who can give us gentle guidance, encouragement, and support? In the church God has given us these people.

A soul friend walks alongside us, the way Jesus walked with the disciples on the way to Emmaus. A soul friend companions us. … A soul friend is one who offers the word or gesture of forgiveness, one in whose presence we are not afraid to bare our souls.

– L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here

From pages 112-113 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

Do you have a prayer friend? If not, could you be a prayer friend for someone? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

Jeremiah 32:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for artists. 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: Matthew (September 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 7 comments }