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Midday Prayer

Today’s Reflection

In the midst of my busyness, O Lord,
remind me to slow down and savor each moment
as a gift from you.

As I move frantically from thought to thought, project to project,
remind me that you are a God of abundance, not scarcity,
and there is time enough for all that you have called me to do.

– Katherine L. James
Alive Now, July/August 2011

Excerpted from “Midday Prayer” by Katherine L. James, page 22 in Alive Now,July/August 2011. Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room. 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

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Revelation 22:12-13, NRSV

This Week: pray for those dealing with depression. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: James the Less (May 3).

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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Where Are You?

Today’s Reflection

SOMETIMES WHEN GOD asks us, “Where are you?” our response is, “I’m not completely sure. Psychologically as well as spiritually I’m disconnected from God. My life is filled – too full, in fact – with activities, even very positive activities. I’m too tired or too busy to feel prayerful or sensitive to God’s guidance.”

Sometimes we drift from God, to use an image from the book of Hebrews (2:1). You may know the feeling: your faith was once strong, but thanks to a variety of circumstances, you’ve changed and don’t really believe anymore. You’re not even sure God exists. Yet being spiritually empty may be a sign of God’s grace!”

– Paul E. Stroble
You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places in Our Lives

From page 29 of You Gave Me a Wide Place: Holy Places in Our Lives by Paul E. Stroble. Copyright © 2006 by the author. 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 advice would you give someone who feels that God is far away? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
Psalm 97:12, NRSV

This Week: pray for those dealing with depression. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: James the Less (May 3).

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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Loving the Place Where You Are

Today’s Reflection

MY UNDERSTANDING OF STABILITY has shifted over the last few years. When I lived in California and discovered Benedictine spirituality, I longed then to make a commitment as an oblate to a particular community. We knew we were in a transitional place, however, and so I waited until we were settled in Seattle so I could make a more permanent commitment and live fully into the vow of stability.

Commitment to a particular place and community are still essential elements of stability for me, but I also see the deeper invitation to love the place where you find yourself. Stability, for me, means standing in place even when life inevitably gets sticky or embarrassing or deeply painful. I don’t mean the kind of martyr complex or false hope that keeps a woman standing by her abuser. I mean the kind of running that keeps me from ever standing still in the landscape of tenderness and vulnerability.

– Christine Valters Painte
Alive Now, September/October 2015

From “Loving the Place Where I Am” by Christine Valters Painter, in Alive Now, September/October 2015. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

In the monastic life, stability is one of the vows taken. What does it mean to be stable in an ever-changing world? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
Psalm 97:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for those dealing with depression. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: James the Less (May 3).

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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Intimate Relationship with God

Today’s Reflection

GOD DESIRES TO BE as close to us as a vine to a branch. We have all experienced brief moments of intimate connection to God – perhaps as we walked along a beach, watched the sun set over the lake, sat alone in a coffee shop, sang a favorite hymn, or listened to a beautiful piece of music. But what Jesus offers us through this picture of the vine and the branches [John 15:5] goes far beyond a fleeting awareness of being with God. Jesus invites us into a divine intimacy in which we daily live in him and he lives in us.

God deeply desires friendship with each one of us. To make that possible, God sends Jesus among us as the way into this friendship. As we come to abide in, remain in, and dwell in this Jesus who lives now as the risen Christ beyond crucifixion, he leads us into the intimate heart of God.

– Trevor Hudson
Beyond Loneliness

From pages 40-41 of Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God’s Friendship by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2016 by Trevor Hudson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Give thanks for your relationship with God through Christ. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.

Acts 16:33, NRSV

This Week: pray for those dealing with depression. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: James the Less (May 3).

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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Friend of God

Today’s Reflection

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a friend of God? … The mystics joyfully remind us that we are born from God; we live in God; and we return to God. Certainly we know this is true as we watch an orange-red sun drop beneath the edge of the ocean or witness a newborn kicking his tiny feet in the air. But so often these miracles of life are dimmed by distraction and busyness. We find ourselves stuck in the rut of the familiar. Our first Friend, God, may even seem far away.

– Stephanie Ford
Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship

From page 88 of Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship by Stephanie Ford. Copyright © 2006 by Stephanie Ford. 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 would you say it means to be a friend of God? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

Acts 16:26, NRSV

This Week: pray for those dealing with depression. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: James the Less (May 3).

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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Daily Return to God

Today’s Reflection

MOST OF THE TIME I feel less like I have faith and more like I’m trying to have faith….

While I value my faith tradition and the way I grew up, at some point I started to become frustrated with how faith and the Christian experience were described. I felt (and still feel) that most churches pull people away from the earth. We’re encouraged to look toward heaven and away from the … here and now. Loving our neighbor is central, but it seems that a lot of people see it as a means to an end rather than an end unto itself. …

Despite my questions, I can’t seem to let go of my faith, something that many people in my generation are doing. I still attend church services, attempting to be open and uncynical. I try to discover ways of speaking about faith that “work” for me, that are vital to my being.

And yet it’s usually in these moments when I’m not trying that I see or experience something that moves me toward faith, toward the presence of God on earth. I’ll read a passage of poetry that brings tears to my eyes, experience a moment of physical touch from a loved one, see a slant of light through the trees. These quotidian moments shock me into perceiving the mysterious nature of life and I think, “Yes, of course, I believe.”

I realize the irony that it is doubt that has turned me away from the church and toward the earth, yet it is the earth that turns me toward God and nudges me back into the pew. In this way, I owe my faith to my doubt, for it is how I return to God, day after day. –

– Ben Rawlins
Alive Now, March/April 2016

From “Daily Return to God” by Ben Rawlins, pages 22-23 in Alive Now, March/April 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

If possible, spend time in nature today and find ways to reconnect with God.  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

John 14:27, NRSV

This Week: pray for bridge builders. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

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-Given Abilities

Today’s Reflection

WHAT ABILITY DO YOU HOLD in your hand? Please don’t compare it with what others have. It may be big or small, but God has uniquely gifted you for a specific purpose.

You already possess what God wants to use to bless others. Thank God for your ability; commit yourself to develop it further and to employ it in the service of others. When we use whatever is in our hand with courage and compassion, we begin to contribute toward the building of a better world for all.

– Trevor Hudson
Questions God Asks Us

From pages 40-41 of Questions God Asks Us by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2008 by Trevor Hudson. 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 gift do you hold in your hand? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

John 14:23, NRSV

This Week: pray for bridge builders. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

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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Trusting the Greening

Today’s Reflection

ARTISTS WOULD HAVE TROUBLE duplicating the hue of leaves as they first sprout. They appear neon in their brightness and vitality. They shout, “We are alive!”

Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine nun and mystical writer in the 1100s, related this vibrant color to the spiritual life, calling it … greening power – God’s life-giving, creative energy, evident in all creation. This creative power of God showers us with refreshment and vitality, giving us the impetus to bear fruit. Without it, we shrivel and wilt.

The same mysterious force that greens the leaves is present in every single one of us – eager to sprout with potential. …

So how can we recognize its stirrings? This kind of sprouting in the soul doesn’t announce itself grandly or appear on a thunderbolt. It whispers, it nudges, it tugs. Be alert for a phrase that quickens your pulse, a thought that won’t go away, a habit that continues to cause uneasiness, a special delight, or a recurrent sadness. …

This mysterious greening power can transform everything that is dull and dead in us. We can trust it.

Reflect

– Linda Douty

Rhythms of Growth

From page 137 of Rhythms of Growth: 365 Meditations to Nurture the Soul by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2014 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

Meditate slowly with Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” May it be springtime in your own soul as you connect with the greening process of God.Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

Its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there.

Revelation 21:24-25, NRSV

This Week: pray for bridge builders. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

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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Bless This Day

Today’s Reflection

BLESS THIS DAY.
All plants and creatures,
All people near and far.

Bless the flowers
That sing praises with their beauty,
The grass
That cushions my step.

Bless those who stand
With loved ones who are sick,
With friends or family who are lost.
Bring healing, bring wholeness.

Bless the world,
Its war-torn places,
Its broken villages,
Its frightened children.

Bless our bodies,
Our hearts,
Our hands,
That we may be blessings
To all we meet.

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

From page 40 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

Share today’s blessing with a friend.Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:23, NRSV

This Week: pray for bridge builders. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

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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From Hospitality to Relationship

Today’s Reflection

ONLY WHEN WE practice a hospitality that welcomes people while making it clear that we need something they offer us in return can transformation at the deepest level occur. When we live by the conviction that everyone brings a gift that someone else desperately needs, we move from hospitality to relationship.

There is always a place for hospitality, but over time the Divine yearns for us to move into relationship. And if we continually insist on being the host – the dispenser of hospitality – we essentially cling to privilege and ignore the gifts of others

– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room

From page 54 of The Soulmaking Room by Dee Dee Risher. Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Risher. 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 would you say are the differences between hospitality and being in relationship? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Psalm 67:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for bridge builders. 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 web site.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember: Mark the Evangelist (April 25).

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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