≡ Menu

Take Time to Rest

Today’s Reflection

JOHN WESLEY, founder of the Methodist movement, was known for his energy and activism. He traveled many miles on horseback and on foot to preach and guide the ministry. Sometimes theologians and historians lift him up as a kind of “Energizer bunny” who never slowed down. Yet Wesley knew the value of rest and sometimes referred to sleep as a sacrament.

Take time today to rest, maybe even nap.

– The Cycle of Grace

From page 35 of The Cycle of Grace: Living in Sacred Balance by Trevor Hudson and Jerry P. Haas. Copyright © 2012 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Take time to rest today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Roman’s 8:28, NRSV

This Week: pray for retirees. 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: Mary Magdalene (July 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 5 comments }

What Does God Want Me to See?

Today’s Reflection

A GOOD RETREAT generally has some common elements, elements that lie at the heart of a meaningful time with God. For example, silence serves the retreat well. To be certain you engage your silence, put time for it in the plan.

Your plan likely will include aspects of any retreat such as bodily and mental stillness, scripture reading, meditation, active listening for God, and reflection on your life.

You will also want to include time with nature, to connect with the earth.

A few years ago a friend of mine made a personal retreat to Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Here he describes how he approached that time: “As I left my room for a stroll, I wondered what God would have me see. So I prayed, ‘God, help me to see what you want me to see.’ As I walked the gardens I had several “aha” moments when an ordinary tree or flower or shoreline seemed to be filled with meaning for me. Ever since then, when I’m on retreat and go for a walk, I say, ‘God, help me to notice what you want me to see.’ ”

– Ben Campbell Johnson and Paul H. Lang
Time Away

From pages 39-40 of Time Away: A Guide for Personal Retreat by Ben Campbell Johnson and Paul H. Lang. Copyright © 2010 by Ben Campbell Johnson and Paul H. Lang. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Throughout the day, pray, “God, Help me to notice what you want me to see.” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually.
Psalm 105:4, NRSV

This Week: pray for retirees. 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: Mary Magdalene (July 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 7 comments }

Sitting in Empty Silence

Today’s Reflection

WHEN WE SUBMIT TO EMPTINESS and silence, we take our hands off the wheel and relinquish control to the Holy Spirit. You would expect we could enter that vulnerability with trust, but at first it feels tender and naked. We may feel stripped of all pretense and the protection of words. Our instant evaluations of time in silence are often scathing: we insist we have listened and haven’t heard one single thing. But when we aren’t busy controlling things, it is possible simply to become attentive—discovering our truest selves in the mystery of silence as we learn this special language of God.

And change begins to happen, ever so slowly and subtly. It’s a bit like waiting for the grass to grow. A wise mentor once told me that the silence of God is not the silence of a graveyard but the silence of a garden growing. Everything may appear to be dead and lifeless when we stand in the midst of a winter garden, but elementary biology tells us that bustling activity is going on underground, where we can’t see it or control it.

Sitting in silence involves the kind of emptying…that allows the spiritual soil of the soul to be tilled and readied for the divine planting of seeds. These seeds ultimately will yield the fruits of the Spirit in unexpected ways.

– Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of Life

“From page 64 of Praying in the Messiness of Life: 7 Ways to Renew Your Relationship with God by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2011 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

How does sitting in silence lead to spiritual growth? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
Psalm 105:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for retirees. 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: Mary Magdalene (July 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 7 comments }

The Immensity of God’s Love

Today’s Reflection

LET ME TELL you a story about a heavy burden I was carrying. I was feeling depressed about everything. By coincidence, I was in Flagstaff, Arizona, so I decided to go to the Grand Canyon.

I saw this multimillion-year-old canyon and its place in an even older creation and thought that if that whole time period were represented by one hour, then I probably was born in a tiny fraction of the last second. Looking at the Grand Canyon, this enormous abyss of beauty, I thought, “My dear, why are you overcome by these problems?” My depression fell away. “In the face of all this, what are you worried about, as if you were carrying the burden of the world? Something has gone on before you and something will go on after you, so why don’t you enjoy the brief time you’ve been given?”

Seeing the Grand Canyon was like seeing a wound in the earth that heals us. That image has stayed with me a long time, because I realized that God is like the Grand Canyon. God suffered a wound, the wound of all humanity, and if I enter into the abyss of divine love, my wound becomes a light burden. I realized that I could acknowledge my wound and not be paralyzed by it, live it and not be consumed by it. In the presence of God’s wound, I know myself loved by a love so immense that it leads me home into the very life of our God.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab
A Spirituality of Homecoming

From pages 45-46 of A Spirituality of Homecoming by Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab, Series Editor. Copyright © 2012 The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust. 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 on God’s love for you and all of creation. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”
Genesis 29:25, NRSV

This Week: pray for retirees. 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: Mary Magdalene (July 22).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 9 comments }

Being Fully Present

Today’s Reflection

AS I AM FULLY PRESENT to God, I become the kind of person who is wholly present to others. I can give no greater gift. When I am present I am considerate, giving undivided attention to the person’s words and feelings at the moment. People deeply need this gift of being appreciated and attended, especially in times of distress. The first task of ministry is to be present to people in their need.

– J. David Muyskens
Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God

From page 106 of Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God: The Practice of Centering Prayer by J. David Muyskens. Copyright © 2006 by J. David Muyskens. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Who needs your full presence? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Matthew 13:43, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 6 comments }

Sharing Struggles

Today’s Reflection

KEEPING STRUGGLES TO YOURSELF eats away at your spirit. It is amazing what a change in feelings happen when you dare to share your struggles with a spouse, a loved one, or a special friend. Pouring out your soul, being able to say to someone, “I trust and love you enough to share my problems with you,” is a liberating experience. You may be surprised by their response. Loving relationships will make you feel accepted and supported.

– Wessel Bentley
Facing Financial Struggle: 28 Days of Prayer

From page 14 of Facing Financial Struggle: 28 Days of Prayer. Copyright © 2010 by Wessel Bentley. 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 share your struggles with someone, what advice do you have for others looking to do the same? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field….”
Matthew 13:24, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 9 comments }

The Nightly Review

Today’s Reflection

OF ALL MY PERSONAL spiritual practices, the nightly review has brought the most growth. I usually do it on my own, but it can also be done with a loved one or even the whole family. …

1. Make some time to be quiet for a few moments. Take a few deep breaths to settle down. Invite God to be with you and to shed light on the past day.

2. Ask God to bring to mind one moment of the day for which you are most grateful, the moment that gave you the most life or when you received or gave the most love. If you could recapture one moment of your day, which one would it be? Relive this moment. Breathe in again the gratitude you felt and thank God for it.

3. Ask God to bring to mind the moment you are least grateful for, the moment that drained you of life or when you received and gave the least love. Reflect on what was said and done that made it so hard. Acknowledge your feelings about this experience. Refrain from judging yourself. Share these feelings with God, and let God’s love fill you again.

– Trevor Hudson
The Serenity Prayer

From pages 59-60 of The Serenity Prayer: A Simple Prayer to Enrich Your Life by Trevor Hudson. Copyright © 2012 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

Pick a week to practice the nightly review. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 10 comments }

Pray Without Ceasing

Today’s Reflection

SAINT PAUL SPEAKS OF praying “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

It is not as hard as it sounds, really. You merely learn to be aware of God’s presence with you all the time, whatever you are doing.

A friend who commutes to work says that he sits and communes with God every time he stops at a traffic light. You can do it every time you open the refrigerator. Or when you brush your teeth.

The point is simply to turn your thoughts toward God at many specific times each day.

One way to do this is to practice remembering God when you are performing one specific action all week. When you are making the bed, for instance. Or setting the table. Or checking your mail. Or walking to school. Then, for the next week, pick another action.

– John Killinger
Beginning Prayer

From page 16 of Beginning Prayer by John Killinger. Copyright © 2012 by John Killinger. 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 think Paul meant when he wrote “pray without ceasing?” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Romans 8:14, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 8 comments }

My Life As a Poem

Today’s Reflection

ETERNAL ONE, revealed in waves and in the waiting stillness, teach me to rest, content in your love. Let my life be a poem that tells of your care, always ready to rise up on trusting wings and risk the wind. Amen.

– Elizabeth J. Canham
Heart Whispers

“From page 70 of Heart Whispers: Benedictine Wisdom for Today by Elizabeth J. Canham. Copyright © 1999 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

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

Psalm 139:23, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 4 comments }

The Power of Powerlessness

Today’s Reflection

OUR SOCIETY places great value on power, which makes it difficult to relinquish. One of the hardest lessons for a follower of Christ is that visible power is not always the highest level of power. Judas never learned this lesson; he continued to goad Jesus into taking a political stance and could not understand why he chose not to do so. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the power of powerlessness and used it in a potent way!

It feels better to be perceived as a powerful person than as ineffective or obsolete. The process of aging can make us feel that we have little control over our lives. Can you remember the most recent situation in which you felt powerless? What did it feel like? It is usually a frightening and frustrating experience. Yet Jesus promoted it throughout the Gospels. Here are some Gospel readings that support the strength of powerlessness:

  • Matthew 5:3,5
  • John 21:17-19

– Jane Marie Thibault
10 Gospel Promises for Later Life

From pages 52-53 of 10 Gospel Promises for Later Life by Jane Marie Thibault. Copyright © 2004 by Jane Marie Thibault. 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 is your understanding of the power of powerlessness? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O LORD, you have searched me and known me.

Psalm 139:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for unity within communities. 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: Dorothea Dix (July 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Share
{ 9 comments }