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Recycling Love

Today’s Reflection

WITHIN THE ECONOMY of God’s grace,
nothing is ever wasted
and no one thrown away.
May you entrust yourself
and God’s creation
to the power and peace
of Christ’s recycling love.

– Sam Hamilton-Poore
Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation

From page 47 of Earth Gospel by Sam Hamilton-Poore. Copyright © 2008 by Sam Hamilton-Poore. 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 evidence of today’s blessing throughout your day. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
Psalm 68:32, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone in need of courage. 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: Bede (May 25).

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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Conversion

Today’s Reflection

CONVERSION IS GOING ON all the time within us and within the world. … While the change of turning toward God may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is in reality a continual process. We may think that we have turned fully toward God; then we discover another dimension of God, and we know immediately that more conversion is possible and necessary if we are to move Godward in all of life.
–Rueben P. Job
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

– Rueben P. Job
A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

From page 249 of A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. Copyright © 2003 by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. 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 was your last experience with conversion? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him.
Psalm 68:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone in need of courage. 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: Bede (May 25).

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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Forgiveness and Peace

Today’s Reflection

AS CHURCH COMMUNITY, we have been commissioned to announce the words of Christ’s forgiveness to one another. This is how Christ has chosen to offer himself to us. Now it’s our job, yours and mine, to walk into the dungeons of fear and guilt as Jesus did. It’s our job to walk into the rooms where people cower in the corners, afraid of hearing “How could you?” Now it’s our job to speak words of peace and reconciliation, to announce God’s forgiveness. That’s the gift we can give one another.

– L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here

From pages 109-110 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 by L. Roger Owens. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you see opportunities to speak forgiveness and peace? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone in need of courage. 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: Bede (May 25).

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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Accepting Trauma

Today’s Reflection

ACCEPTING MY TRAUMA is not the same as saying God put the trauma in my life so I would learn these lessons; that’s just another way of saying God causes evil, which is completely antithetical to what I believe about God. And, to be sure, many people who have rich, God-filled lives did not experience trauma; trauma isn’t the only path to peace. My point is that I don’t believe trauma has to be the end of the story. It is only one chapter of the book that is our lives. And it can lead to places of profound joy if we are willing to be still, speak our truth, and experience God’s healing grace.

– Kristen E. Vincent
Beads of Healing

From page 113 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 would it take for your to speak your truth? What would be the benefit in doing so? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
John 14:16, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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Thin Places

Today’s Reflection

AS A YOUNG GIRL, I loved walks in the woods surrounding the family farm in south Mississippi. I had a favorite spot where a sweet gum tree grew up straight two feet, took a sharp ninety-degree turn parallel to the ground for three feet, made another sharp ninety-degree turn, then reached straight up toward the sky. I believed God made the tree especially for me. I liked to sit on the bend with my legs folded to my chest and my back resting on the trunk.

In the overhead leafy bower, I watched sun rays dance in the dappled air. Birdcalls seemed louder there. A cold artesian spring fed a nearby stream. In March and April rare white violets covered the brook’s banks. … While there, I felt a deep connection to the Lord God. No one told me, but I knew the first time I wandered into this place that it was “holy ground.”

The Celtic tradition has a phrase for places like this; they are called “thin places.” In simple terms “thin place” describes a spot where the veil separating heaven and earth is like a porous net. “Thin place” experiences have been so powerful that I have discovered memories of them can provide ports during stressful, stormy days.

O God, may we willingly step into our particular woods, stand still, breathe deep, and open our spirits to you. May we become thin-place people leaking Love to those who need it. Amen.

– Nell E. Noonan
Not Alone: Encouragement for Caregivers

From pages 96-97 of Not Alone: Encouragement for Caregivers by Nell E. Noonan. Copyright © 2009 by Nell E. Noonan. 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 the prayer included in today’s excerpt. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14:15, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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God Does Not Give Up on Us

Today’s Reflection

“DO NOT BE AFRAID,” just like “you are forgiven,” are needed companions throughout our lives. We strive to be faithful followers, to be strong and bold in vocation. But sometimes, strength wavers. Sometimes, boldness weakens or mutates into arrogance. By and large, those experiences come because of fear.

“Do not be afraid” can fade into the background all too quickly when tragedy or injustice or downright ignorance holds sway.

But God does not give up on us. God does not strip us of our calling in those times when we realize that even having nothing to fear but fear itself still leaves us with a considerable antagonist to face. Rather, God calls us out — out of sin, out of fear — and gives us the possibility of a new day.

– John Indermark
Do Not Live Afraid

From Do Not Live Afraid: Faith in a Fearful World by John Indermark. Copyright © 2009 by John Indermark. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

When are you afraid? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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Praying the Psalms

Today’s Reflection

THE PSALMS are the prayers of God’s people, the Jews. And Christians, from the beginning, have seen in the Psalms signposts pointing to the life of Jesus. The Gospel writers refer to the Psalms often to make sense of Jesus’ own life, and today we use the Psalms throughout the church year to point us to events in his life.

Jesus himself, hanging on the cross, cried out the words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v.1), and ever since Christians have seen in the Psalms intimations of Jesus’ life.

When I sing to my daughter before bed “The King of Love My Shepherd Is,” I’m using a song based on Psalm 23 to tell her about Jesus, who, as she already knows, is the shepherd of Psalm 23. The Psalms point forward to Jesus; Jesus fulfills the Psalms. Through the Psalms, Jesus can be our Teacher.

– L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here

From page 42 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 by L. Roger Owens. 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 turn draw upon the Psalms as a resource during your prayer time? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you….

1 Peter 3:14-15, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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The Highest Form of Prayer

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER IS NOT bending God to my will but bringing my will into conformity with God’s so that God’s will may work in and through me. … Prayer is not bending the universe to your will, making God a cosmic bellhop for your purposes; prayer is cooperating with God’s purposes to do things you never dreamed you could do.

The highest form of prayer comes in Jesus’ words in Gethsemane: “Yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus did not say, “Your will be borne,” which is how we often translate it. He said, “Your will be done,” which implies a cooperation with an outgoing, redemptive will that desires our highest good.

– E. Stanley Jones
How to Pray

From pages 15-16 of How to Pray by E. Stanley Jones. Copyright © 2015 by the E. Stanley Jones Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Where do you see yourself cooperating with God’s purposes? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.

Psalm 66:20, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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Movement and Prayer

Today’s Reflection

GOD CALLS EACH OF US to joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4), Paul says. I keep nearby when I pray a picture of Saint Francis who took Paul’s injunction quite literally. His feet are off the ground, his arms are extended to the sky as he jumps in freedom and joy. The picture portrays a man who worships with his body, who loves the creation, and who is not afraid to let the joy of the body show.

Receptivity, self-offering, gratitude, and joy—the four prayers I would embody.

I stood in my room and began to experiment with gesture and movement. What felt comfortable? What seemed natural? What gestures and movements could express my prayer, desire, and intention to live these four prayers?

The process of developing body-prayer movements was like trying on shoes—some looked nice but didn’t fit. Some gestures seemed like they would be perfect but felt awkward. I had to find the movements that were right for me—no one else could do this work.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long. I wove the four gestures into a kind of dance and then repeated them over and over, sometimes changing the order. They became the chords on which I improvised a song of prayer with my body. Though it felt strange, I knew this could become part of my prayer.

TRY THIS
Find a place where you can be alone, and begin to experiment with gestures that express the shape of life and prayer you long for. Why did you choose the gestures you chose? What do they mean to you?

– L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here

From pages 80-81 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 by L. Roger Owens. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Experiment with gestures as you pray. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.

Psalm 66:13-14, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

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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Cross-Cultural Rules

Today’s Reflection

MY DECISION TO STUDY in France my junior year of college was pivotal. In France, I endured my most sustained experience with vulnerability, that wonderful tutor of our adult years, by trying to live immersed in the language. …

My cross-cultural rules were straightforward: Avoid compatriots and other English speakers. Avoid speaking my own language. Find groups in the host culture and participate in them as much as my outsider status allows. Avoid bashing the host culture and be generous to my own. Avoid groups of foreigners who like to engage in such bashing. Speak the new language as much as possible. Because I couldn’t speak the new language conversationally and avoided speaking my own, I found myself doing a lot of listening and cultural observation. This was not a bad thing.

Later, after spending more time in other cultures, I added another rule: Whatever I think I understand about a culture or group after spending extensive time there, ditch it. Whatever grasp I think I have on the culture after one year, I should be prepared to totally turn it on its head in the second year.

– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room

From page 59 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

Why did the author let go of what she learned her first year in a different culture? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

Psalm 66:8-9, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. 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: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

{ 6 comments }