Listen As We Pray

April 4, 2013

Today’s Reflection

IN ORDER TO MOVE the focus of our prayers from asking to listening, we need practices that enable us to still body as well as mind. If our bodies are tense or if we are agitated, it is likely that our minds will be unfocused. The Hebrew people prayed with their bodies, and many of the Psalms were written for processions, dance, and ritual drama. We too can embrace body prayer and discover how it leads us into stillness of mind. … The following exercise can become a helpful, regular prelude to listening prayer.

Begin with a few stretches reaching up, opening the arms, and then placing your open hands together in a posture of receiving. Repeat the stretches several times and pay attention to your breath. Allow your breathing to become deeper and slower.

When you are ready, sit in a comfortable chair that offers good back support, and place your feet on the floor with your hands open in your lap. Continue to observe your breathing, and become aware of how your body feels.

Begin relaxing by focusing on your feet and gradually moving up your legs, torso, neck, and head, consciously relaxing each area. Sometimes you will notice that tension or pain exists even after relaxation; in your mind go back to that place, tighten the musicles around the pain center, and then let go.

By this time your regular breathing rhythm will help you to be still, and you can begin to repeat the phrase: “Be still and know that I am God.” It is helpful to speak aloud if it does not disturb anyone else./p>

- Elizabeth J. Canham
Finding Your Voice in the Psalms

From pages 30-31 of Finding Your Voice in the Psalms: An Invitation to Honest Prayer by Elizabeth J. Canham. Copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth J. Canham. 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

Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.

Revelation 1:7, NRSV

This Week: pray those who new believers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

Need a Spiritual Retreat? Join us at SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s spiritual retreat at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, July 14-18, 2013. Come discover how, as the Holy Spirit washes over us, this powerful presence brings us alive to God, community, transformation, and missions in the here and now. For more information, visit soulfeast.upperroom.org.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember
Martin Luther King Jr.
(April 4).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2013, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

robert moeller April 4, 2013 at 6:03 am

A new way to pray!

Yes, Lord, be with, encourage, empower, strengthen new believers, may they be the good earth on which the seed has fallen, that they will yield 30, 60, even 100 times more. May those too busy find time to pray, may those searching for you find you, and may those who have strayed or lost faith come back to the flock. We all need you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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Betsy April 4, 2013 at 7:17 am

I have found that the relaxation in yoga also offers a way to be still and receive God. The repetitive movements and slow stretches give a rhythm to my prayers, and the slow, easy breathing stills me and centers me.

This morning I lift up our Mission trip members who are preparing for their trip to Belize in June. Place a hedge of protection around them to keep them well and strong; their minds clear and focused on You!

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Sally Friedli April 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

I love this! I will use this at work, when tensions are high and deadlines need to be met!

I thank you, Lord, for my granddaughter, Samantha Lily, whose smile and hug this morning made my day start off so fresh and clean and happy! She is such a blessing!

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Gary April 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

The method of preparing for prayer crosses over into several other areas of discipline. It is just possibly the hallmark of yoga. In psychology it is called “Deep Muscle Relaxation” (DMR) and is the precursor to hypnosis.

Personal experience with this form of prayer has allowed me to move beyond verbal/ thought prayer into a deeper level of prayer which I am unable to reach without such preparation.

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