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Holy Reading

Today’s Reflection

LECTIO MEANS “READING”; and divina, “holy word.” Thus lectio divina means reading the holy Word or holy reading. While Christians take scripture seriously, we may not have been taught the simple process of reading scripture, lingering over it, and listening for direct inspiration from the text. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote eloquently of our need for daily meditation on scripture: “As a Christian I learn to know Holy Scripture only by hearing sermons and by meditating prayerfully.”

One of the most powerful ways to learn to pray is to begin with the Bible—reading a few verses, listening for an image or message that speaks directly to us, and then prayerfully seeking to apply it to our lives. We are listening for God’s Word or message of inspiration, exhortation, or guidance for our lives.

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 19 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Is reading the Bible part of your daily routine?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
—Hebrews 4:12, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Particular Branches

Today’s Reflection

[THINK] OF THE SCENE at Pentecost with “each person hearing in their own native language” (Acts 2:8, paraphrase). Again and again in Jesus’ encounters, we note specificity. Particular individuals are addressed in their need and in their context. People are not asked to do everything but instead to be members of Christ, the Vine, as particular branches. Amazing power is unleashed when we become fully present to the particularity of calling in our own heart and in the immediate neighborhood of our congregations.

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 56 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What unique gifts do you bring to your congregation or community?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
—Acts 2:8, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Pushing Boundaries

Today’s Reflection

TO FOLLOW JESUS is to be continuously pushing our own boundaries in loving our neighbor. This task becomes joy when it is coupled with continuously pushing our boundaries to loving God. In too many cases our lives of mission are too separate from the life of prayer. By inviting the Spirit into mission discernment, we move toward balancing the guiding principles of healthy church life….

[Perhaps] we have narrowed our sense of mission so much that we’ve forgotten to look outside our walls and invite our community to participate with us in new life. Perhaps we are ready for God to burst our self-imposed barriers, as they were inspired to do. Perhaps it’s time to more faithfully practice loving God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27).

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 67 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Who is outside your self-imposed walls?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
—Matthew 5: 43-47, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Rhythm of Christian Life

Today’s Reflection

AS EARLY CHRISTIANS sought to imitate Christ, many retreated into desert regions of Palestine, Syria, and Egypt. These women and men, called the desert mothers and fathers, shaped Christian practice in profound ways. Life in the desert eventually evolved into monastic communities. By the time Saint Benedict codified the rule of such community in the sixth century, it was clear that each day must be ordered around three fundamental principles—work, worship, and study of scripture. The term lectio divina refers to prayerful listening for divine inspiration from scripture. Added to this practice were two great “works”: the “work of God,” what we call worship (in Latin, opus dei); and the “work of the hands” (opus manuum). The everyday rhythm of Christian life was ordered around gathering for worship or the daily office of prayer, several hours for lectio divina, and the physical work essential for sustaining life. A fourth principle in The Rule of St. Benedict runs through the other three, the expectation of hospitality for one another in community and for any who seek rest, healing, or food.

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 52 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How might the ancient practices of the “desert mothers and fathers” help you bring more balance to your spiritual routine and growth?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
—James 2:14-17, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Power of Story

Today’s Reflection

THE MORE WE STEEP ourselves in the rich stories of scripture, the more they become archetypal patterns that enable us to make sense of our own life stories. When we find ourselves lost in rage over wrongs inflicted or in grief, the Psalms give voice to our deep longings. When we find ourselves summoned to journey into unknown places, we can take heart from Abram and Sarai, who were called to leave their home (Gen. 12). When we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” we look for the comfort of the divine “rod” and “staff” to guide us (Ps. 23).

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 39 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Is there a Bible story that comes to mind when you think about a recent situation you have experienced?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters.
—Psalm 23:1-2, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Worship Invites

Today’s Reflection

SPIRITUAL FORMATION and contemplative prayer practices, like reflective reading of scripture, enable us to slow the pace of our busy minds and lives. Without reflective moments, our minds race along, captured by the most recent trend or product. It’s astonishing how many words and images we encounter each day, all competing for our attention. It is more important than ever to find time when we may be called into praise and hope for victory over life’s challenges. We receive this gift in worship with others. Worship invites us into reflection on our own life through scripture, exhortation of the Word, prayers, hymns, and support of the community. We emerge refreshed and ready for the week ahead.

—Dwight H. Judy
A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

From page 34 of A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life by Dwight H. Judy. Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Does worship tend to give you adequate space for silence, for the opportunity to receive and reflect on the message?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
—Psalm 150:1, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Come Holy Spirit, come.

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Are you a church leader or parent? Subscribe to Rising Generations, a bimonthly newsletter from The Upper Room with tips and tools for ministry with Children, Youth, & Young Adults.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Under Her Wings

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER MATTERS to me. I want to set a pattern of prayer for my family that feels natural, real, and easy. Though it may be awkward for me to pray with my kids, I have no trouble finding words to pray for them in my private prayer time. I am often on my knees for them, pleading with God to protect them, help them, shine on them, and make me a better mother for them.

We pray for our kids because the Bible tells us to, but we mostly pray for our kids because we know that out of everything we can do for them, prayer may be the single most important act. We pray for our kids to build them up, to give them strength, to seek wisdom, and to protect them. Praying for our children is just as important as praying with them. It is part of building a spiritual foundation for them to stand on when they are older.

—Jenny Youngman
Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between

From page 81 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When have you experienced God as a mother hen spreading her wings to protect you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

[God] will cover you with pinions,
and under [God’s] wings you will find refuge;
[God’s] faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
—Psalm 91:4, NRSV

As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you.
—Isaiah 66:13a, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Traditional Doxology)

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Looking for a special way to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Give a gift in her honor to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Written on Our Hearts

Today’s Reflection

GOD INSTRUCTS us to write God’s word on our hearts, to meditate on it day and night. It is important to God that we know not only the stories but also those verses that speak to us, through us, and for us when we lack the words to pray, praise, or even speak. Memorizing scriptures is not for the goal of winning competitions or conversations or even for a litany of moral takeaways but rather for the nourishment and encouragement of our hearts and the hearts of others. It helps form the spiritual foundation we stand on as we grow from children to adults, from young Christians to mature disciples.

Memorizing scripture also helps form a common prayer language—praise, lament, dependence on God, grace, hope, peace, and joy. In praying the scriptures we identify with the sadness of the Jobs and the Josephs and discover the joys of the Sarahs and the Marys. We speak our beliefs with the words of the scriptures when our hearts feel doubtful and uncertain. We claim the promises of God when the circumstances of our lives are shaky. And we pray the scriptures when we simply don’t have the words ourselves.

—Jenny Youngman
Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between

From page 57 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What Bible verses do you remember most from childhood? What impact do they make on your daily life?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
—Psalm 119:105, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Traditional Doxology)

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Looking for a special way to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Give a gift in her honor to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }

Examine Your Day

Today’s Reflection

ONE OF THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES I have come to love is the practice of Examen, or a prayerful examination of the day. The practice comes from Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a sixteenth-century mystic and the founder of the Jesuit order of priests. He believed this form of prayer to be one of the most important, and he saw it as a gift of God to be practiced regularly. …

In this prayer practice, you focus and reflect on the awareness of God’s presence throughout the day. You ask questions such as, Where did I see God today?, At what points in the day did I feel far from God?, How did I experience joy today?, and What made me sad today?

—Jenny Youngman
Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between

From page 32-33 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

At the close of today, set aside time to ask the Examen questions Jenny Youngman references.  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
—Revelation 1:8, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Traditional Doxology)

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Looking for a special way to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Give a gift in her honor to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Now I Lay Me Down to Rest

Today’s Reflection

I BET WE ALL said this prayer as children: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” While I understand the sentiment, there’s something about ending the day focused on death that unsettles me. I want my kids to rest well, assured that their futures in heaven are safe and secure because of the work of Jesus on the cross and his invitation of love in their lives. I’d rather they boldly claim that promise instead of making a timid request each night just to be safe.

I’d rather look back on a day with my kids and celebrate all that God has done, recount the places where we saw God, invite God’s peace into our hearts as we rest, and place tomorrow into God’s care. “If I die before I wake” can cause a “Just in case I’m not right with God, I better get this in” mindset when God has made us right already. God has claimed us, promised us a future in heaven, and empowered us to live with joy instead of fear.

—Jenny Youngman
Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between

From page 32 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you have a bedtime prayer habit?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
—Psalm 62:1-2, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Traditional Doxology)

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Looking for a special way to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Give a gift in her honor to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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