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Soul Dreaming

Today’s Reflection

I’VE SPENT A LOT OF my life trying to learn – and then accept – what I control and what I cannot. I do have one conviction; All my life choices should be shaped by my hope, by the lovely outline of what I am dreaming this world to be. My life transitions – almost always painful and uncertain – have usually led to the experiences that have carved and shaped my holy room [the soulmaking room]. Dreams come to me in that holy room, each one offering something to hope for and live toward. Each was like a lovely, variegated window set into that simple holy space that offered me just enough light – a single oil lamp on a small homemade table. The holy one came, sat in that room, and asked me to say yes, And sometimes, I have said yes back.

I dreamed of a world with a more equitable distribution of resources, where sustainability was a primary value and materialism had lost its addictive power. I was acutely conscious of an earth reeling with waste and ill-conceived, unnecessary consumption. I wanted to live a different, more nurturing life, rooted in a specific land and place.

I dreamed of a world of widespread authentic relationship, where the best resources were not distributed along color and class lines. I yearned for a world incapable of embracing extremes, where children no longer die of starvation while others die of obesity related health issues. I thirsted for a world where race had finally lost its power so all that remained was the intriguing diversity and breadth of human cultures.

– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room

From pages 90-91 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 do you dream in your soulmaking room? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Matthew 17:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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A Task for You

Today’s Reflection

JEAN VANIER was born on September 10, 1928; his father was Governor-General of Canada. After spending much of his childhood in London, he entered the navy during World War II, becoming an officer on Canada’s only aircraft carrier. But he performed poorly on night-watch, preferring his prayer book to scanning the skies for enemy planes.

His mother introduced him to a priest, Thomas Philippe, who in turn was acquainted with a Dr. Preuat, who thought his mentally handicapped patients would benefit from some living arrangement including a workshop. While Thomas was refurbishing a chapel to help with Dr. Preuat’s work, he gently suggested to Vanier that there was “something special to be done among handicapped people.”

This was God’s call to Vanier. He purchased a house and invited Raphael, Philippe, and Dany to live with him. With no lavatory and no electricity, the going was rough. Dany proved too difficult to handle – and Vanier has always had a keen sense that servants are not superhuman, that they cannot surmount any and every hurdle. He named his new ministry “L’Arche,” the French word for “ark” but also for “arch.”

“So it’s the whole vision of a boat where we welcome people who are in pain,” Vanier said. “It’s the place where we are saved. It’s the place of the covenant. … Then there is the whole idea of the arch as a bridge, the bridge between two worlds.”

– James C. Howell
Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs

From page 42 of Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs: Saints and Their Stories by James C. Howell. Copyright © 1999 by James C. Howell. 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 task is God calling you to do? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

Matthew 17:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Breathe In

Today’s Reflection

AS YOU BREATHE IN today while in the midst of your familiar surroundings, I hope you can release some of your anxiety, pain, and struggles to God. Breathing in reminds you that God has given you a new day – and with it many joys and triumphs.

As you read in the passage from the ancient Jewish prophet Joel [Joel 2:28-29], God pours God’s Spirit over your life today and every day. When you take time to notice your own breathing and God’s blessings, you may envision new paths or discover renewed energy. Feel God’s leading in these moments; know that God has not forsaken you or left you to face your illness alone. There is hope.

Breathe in today, and take in the joy of your own existence. Give thanks for your blessings. And once you have recalled these reminders of God’s love, seek a new strength for the day. You are still walking a difficult path, but you are not alone. God is with you.

– Todd Outcalt
Praying through Cancer

From page 36 of Praying through Cancer: 28 Days of Prayer by Todd Outcalt. Copyright © 2016 by Todd Outcalt. 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 blessings. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.

Matthew 17:2, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Restore Us, Lord

Today’s Reflection

RESTORE US, LORD. Once we prayed, knowing our help came from you. Once we defied injustice, knowing that you were on our side. Once we prayed all night ’til our help came. Once we apologized for calling someone a fool. Once we believed it was important to please you. Restore us as people who follow God even when no one is looking. Restore us, Lord.

–Kwasi I. Kena, in The Africana Worship Book: Year B

– Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua
The Africana Worship Book: Year B

From page 147 of The Africana Worship Book: Year B, edited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2007 by Discipleship Resources. Used by permission of Discipleship Resources. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Peter 1:19, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Truly Present

Today’s Reflection

LET ME describe what it means to be truly present. Being present involves letting go of our constant preoccupations, immersing ourselves in the here and now, and giving ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever is at hand. … It’s about becoming more aware, alert, awake to the fullness of the immediate moment.

If we are with another person, it means engaging with him or her with all of our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. Such wholehearted attention requires patience, time, and disciplined effort. And it is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to those around us, especially our suffering neighbor.

– Trevor Hudson
A Mile in My Shoes: Cultivating Compassion

From pages 30-31 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

Look for an opportunity to be truly present with someone today.  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 1:16, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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You Never Pray Alone

Today’s Reflection

MORNING PRAYER is a time of recognition that God, who never slumbers or sleeps, has been at work while we have been at rest. Morning prayer is not the beginning of the day. It is an act of anticipation–reorienting ourselves to God, affirming our faith, and renewing our intention to live for God in this new day.

…You never pray alone. God is right where you are and, as you pray, you are connecting with others all over the world who are also praying.

When you are ready, find your accustomed devotional place or another suitable location for this time of prayer, renewing your covenant with God.

Pray:
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation” (Ps. 62:1).

– Steve Harper
A Pocket Guide to Prayer

From pages 19-20 of A Pocket Guide to Prayer by Steve Harper. Copyright © 2010 by Steve Harper. 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

Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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“Don’t Let Me Be Gray!”

Today’s Reflection

I DON’T KNOW if we are born with a sense of passion, wired by the divine electrician like a house in the suburbs and built in the same way with internal heat, light, and energy. Or if passion is something we learn from teachers, friends, relatives, preachers, or artists who could not contain theirs and made us want the same.

Maybe it’s both.

I only know I don’t want to live without it. To be counted among the walking dead, like a character from Jack Finney’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, first published in 1955. The book (not the movie) had a big impact on me. Remember the story? At first, I thought (and you might have too) it was just another silly science-fiction novel. Alien pods come to earth, suck the life out of whatever living creatures allow them access – which, of course, most humans do. Then the pods begin to take on those forms, fingernails and all. But the narrator and protagonist, Dr. Miles Bennell, fights the pods, or tries to. …

I still remember putting down that book, and pleading with God, with myself, with anyone who’d listen, “Don’t let me be gray!” Though it’s tempting to give in or give up, to stay busy or look engaged with the memory and pretense of living, we all know that it is not the same.

– Jo Kadlecek
Woman Overboard

From pages 11-12 of Woman Overboard: How Passion Saved My Life by Jo Kadlecek. Copyright © 2009 by Jo Kadlecek. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Fresh Air Books.
http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What are you passionate about?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 24:18, NRSV

This Week: pray for those experiencing serious health issues. 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: Eric Liddell (February 21).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Is Waiting Punishment?

Today’s Reflection

IN OUR CULTURE, waiting very often takes on a negative meaning. When the doctor sees us an hour and a half after our appointment time, when traffic makes us a half hour late for work, when an inexperienced clerk delays the delivery of our package, we feel demeaned or robbed or both. When God bids us wait, we take it as punishment or worse, the caprice of an arrogant deity. …

There is, therefore, a paradox in each tick of the clock. Each tick is a step toward the grave, a trace of corruption and decay. Yet, every instant is a wonderful creation, a sacrament, a container of treasures beyond our imagining. A caress soothes the sting of each moment we wait. “My soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning, …” the psalmsit sings, savoring each tick of the clock.

Those who wait watchfully know that each tick of the clock brings us closer to death, yes, but closer to home also. So waiting is sweet, and more than that, waiting is nourishment for the journey. In the gift of each moment, the Word wove more causes for joy than we can fathom. To prepare us for the long haul, God gave us the blessing of moments and days.

Thus, waiting for God is not punishment in the final analysis, but joy. We wait with serenity rather than anguish when we focus our gaze on the day or even the moment rather than the distant future.

– J. Marshall Jennings
A Wakeful Faith

From pages 65-67 of A Wakeful Faith: Spiritual Practice in the Real World by J. Marshall Jennings. Copyright © 2000 by J. Marshall Jennings. 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 savor each tick of the clock? What helps you do this?  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.”

Matthew 5:43-45, NRSV

This Week: pray for those without a church home. 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: Valentine (February 14).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Pray with Your Children

Today’s Reflection

HERE ARE QUESTIONS Jenny Youngman suggests to help you practice Examen (a prayerful review of the day) with your family. If you have young children, focus only on the last 3 questions. Add more questions as appropriate for your children’s ages You may want to just talk about these questions with your children and close with prayer. Or you may want to list them on an index card for children who can read to keep on their bedside table to help them pray each night.

• What moments did you wish had lasted longer?
• What moments seemed to drag on?
• What do you wish you could change about today?
• When did you feel God’s presence today?
• When did you have to depend on God today?
• What made you sad today?
• What made you glad today?
• What are you sorry for that happened today?

– Jenny Youngman, Scrambled Starts

From page 36 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything In-Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by Jenny Youngman. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Ask and answer these questions in prayer.  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.

1 Corinthians 3:10, NRSV

This Week: pray for those without a church home. 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: Valentine (February 14).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Do I Want To Be Healed?

Today’s Reflection

Continued Reflection on John 5:1-9

DID I WANT TO BE HEALED? Seriously?

I imagine the man beside the Bethesda pool feels the same way when Jesus asks the question. As if he hasn’t prayed for healing every day for thirty-eight years. As if he hasn’t wished that very thing every hour he lies beside the pool, waiting for the water to stir. As if he hasn’t yelled out in frustration, even anger, each time another person beats him to the water.

Jesus knows this, of course. He knows the man’s story, his pain, his need for healing. Jesus can easily walk over to the man, kneel beside him, speak some healing words, help the man to his feet, and go on about his day. But he doesn’t. Instead, he insists on asking the question, which tells us two things.

First, Jesus will not impose himself on the man and assume he desires healing – with good reason. Jesus understands the man needs to play an active role in his own healing. Think about it. The man has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. All that time he’s depended on others to carry him places, take care of him, even help him into the pool. We can imagine how this would play on his self-esteem, how over time his identity would change to incorporate a sense of dependence and passiveness. Had Jesus just walked up and healed him, the man would have remained in a passive position. But through his question, Jesus invites the man to become an active participant in his own healing journey. For his sake, the man needs to say, “Yes, I want to be healed “before any real healing will take place.

And that is critical. Because the other reason Jesus asks the question is this: Healing is hard. It takes work. Being healed from paralysis represents only the first step in the man’s journey. Following that, he will have to learn a whole new way of living. Life will no longer be as he has known it; it will be completely different, and he will have to learn to adjust.

– Kristen E. Vincent
Beads of Healing

From pages 21-22 of Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness by Kristen E. Vincent. Copyright © 2016 by Kristen E. Vincent. 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 do you find difficult about accepting God’s healing in your life? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew[a] Bethzatha,which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Now that day was a sabbath.
John 5:1-9, NRSV

This Week: pray for those without a church home. 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: Valentine (February 14).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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