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Today’s Reflection

DO OUR ADVENT LIVES stand up against the ways of the world? Are we already so consumed with Christmas, even now in the first week of Advent, that we neglect taking time to live fully into the meaning and experience of the coming of Christ?

It is not yet Christmas but Advent. This is a season in which we have time to anticipate the full story and meaning of Immanuel – God-with-Us – if we will take that time and use it well.

Take a walk through your home, room by room, and say an Advent blessing in each space, something simple like “O come, O come, Immanuel” or “Come, Lord Jesus.” Take your time, imagining how you will live in this time and place over the next few weeks in ways that could help you not hurry to Christmas.

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Simply Wait

From page 29 of Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2007 by Pamela C. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Engage in the prayer exercise described above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

…and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Romans 15:12, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

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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Advent Prayer

Today’s Reflection

Advent Prayer of Intercession

I WANT TO BE AT PEACE, O God,
protector of the frightened,
refuge for the wandering.

I want to speak for peace, O Christ,
hope whispered to the bruised,
wecome sung to the embattled.

I want to live in peace, O Spirit,
forgiveness in my heart,
kindness in my hands;
trusting, trustworthy;
loving, beloved.

I want to be at peace, O God
with you,
with me,
with others.
This is my Advent prayer. Amen.

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Prepare the Way

From page 24 of Prepare the Way: Cultivating a Heart for God in Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Pamela C. Hawkins. 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

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

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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Grant Us Wisdom

Today’s Reflection

GRANT US WISDOM and courage this week:
to be open to your surprises, O God;
to taste and see your presence in new ways;
to trust that you will do good and joyful things in our lives
and in the world.

– Jan Johnson
Taste and See

From page 19 of Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas by Jan Johnson. Copyright © 2014 by Jan Johnson. 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

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.

Psalm 72:18, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 7 comments }

Advent Practice

Today’s Reflection

IN THE SEASON of Advent, we are called to share the hope that we have in Christ with a hope-famished world. …

Prepare your heart to be open to this season before you, a season full of sights and sounds and needs. Commit to setting aside a brief time every day to read [a] scripture and meditation for the day. Pause and breathe. God is near.

– Robin Pippin
Light of Lights

From page 9 of Light of Lights: Advent Devotions from The Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide, compiled and edited by Robin Pippin. Copyright © 2014 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How will you observe Advent this year? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 18 comments }

Wait in Confidence

Today’s Reflection

WAITING IS DIFFICULT business. Sometimes the hardest work is staying still and trusting that God works even in silence. We want the confirmation of burning bushes, pillars of fire, and visiting angels. That is not the stuff of ordinary life, but it does not mean that miracles are outdated or that we cannot expect God to speak new and even unbelievable possibility into our individual and collective lives. …

We wait in confidence and hope not because of who we are but because of whom we trust and believe God is: faithful, steadfast, full of loving-kindness, true to God’s word, and present with us.

– Enuma Okoro
Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent

From pages 57-58 of Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent by Enuma Okoro. Copyright © 2012 by Enuma Okoro. 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 does “waiting in confidence” mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

Isaiah 11:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 11 comments }

Advent Invocation

Today’s Reflection

O Peace,
that long, sacred horizon
where violent dust settles
onto heaven’s gentle calm.
You are the prophet’s cry
and the angel’s midnight song,
a lullaby for the wolf
and promise to the lamb.
Holy Peace,
given, yet still sought,
enfold God’s earth this Advent,
warming hearts
until every sharp edge curves,
smoothed and burnished,
toward you.
Amen.

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Prepare the Way

From page 18 of Prepare the Way: Cultivating a Heart for God in Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Pamela C. Hawkins. 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 about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Matthew 24:36, NRSV

This Week: pray for your neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: C.S. Lewis (November 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 9 comments }

Compassionate Healing

Today’s Reflection

OUR TIMES CRY OUT for a mass movement of compassion. This urgent need coincides with the goal of the Christ-following life, for unless our faith makes us compassionate, it can hardly be called Christian.

Following Jesus means moving out of our privatized, isolated, and self-enclosed worlds into a compassionate engagement with our suffering neighbor. As we open ourselves to the pilgrimage experience, … we journey from self-centeredness to compassion. May you and I become everyday pilgrims whom God can use to bring healing to our broken world.

– A Mile in My Shoes

From page 112 of A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2005 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

How does your faith lead you to be compassionate? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Romans 13:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for your neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: C.S. Lewis (November 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 8 comments }

What Does the Lord Require?

Today’s Reflection

WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE of followers? The Lord requires gratitude. And for those of us in the Christian tradition, Jesus wants our gratitude to increase more and more until, like a holy flame, it burns within us and we burst into songs and deeds of thankfulness to God and neighbor. To express genuine gratitude to God, our deeds must demonstrate our love, trust, and service.

– Beauty Maenzanise
The Upper Room Disciplines 2010: A Book of Daily Devotions

From page 109 of The Upper Room Disciplines 2010: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books. 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 do you express gratitude to God and neighbor? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers…

Romans 13:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for your neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: C.S. Lewis (November 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 14 comments }

Thanksgiving

Today’s Reflection

BEGINNING TODAY, let everyday be Thanksgiving Day — a day of celebration and thanks. Forgive us for our selfish, sinful, and thoughtless actions, words, and plans. Remind us that we need you and we need each other to bring the Kingdom of God here to earth as it is in heaven. This we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, who has died, risen, and will come again. Amen.

—Eugene Blair


Africana Worship Book, Year B

From page 239 of The Africana Worship Book: Year B, edited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2007 by Discipleship Resources. 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

For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”

Psalm 122:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for your neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: C.S. Lewis (November 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 7 comments }

The Pressure of Perfect

Today’s Reflection

ROMANS 12 INCLUDES a substantial listing of godly shoulds. Most of them, including “[Be] given to hospitality” (v. 13, KJV), concern community life. In the middle of the exhortations the apostle interjects a caveat, which the poetic King James renders “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you …” (Rom. 12:18).

Planning a perfect event that will delight everyone – introvert, extrovert, athlete, bookworm, diabetic, vegan, old curmudgeon, young prima donna – is not a reasonable goal. If it be possible … make every effort … act in good faith … anticipate the gathering.

– Evelyn Bence
Room at My Table

From page 17 of Room at My Table: Preparing Heart & Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence. Copyright © 2014 by Evelyn Bence. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

If you are observing the American holiday of Thanksgiving, give thought to today’s excerpt in relation to that upcoming event. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

Psalm 122:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for your neighbors. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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: C.S. Lewis (November 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 11 comments }