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This week, Upper Room Daily Reflections features excerpts from One Breath at a Time by J. Dana Trent.

Today’s Reflection

OUR LIVES ARE SHAPED by long days, short years, frustrating people, inconveniences, and a chaotic world in need of love and healing. We are not static. We are dynamic, shaped and molded by each moment and experience. The spiritual life is about opening the doors of our soul and taking a look inside. At their essence, all contemplative spiritual practices crack open our hardened, restless hearts, weary and worn from life. Spiritual practices soften us, slow us, and allow God’s light and voice to enter us, so that we can, in turn, shine that light and love toward others. But it’s hard to slow down. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to meditate—or even to say we’re going to meditate. It’s hard to maintain a spiritual practice of any kind, especially one that urges us to be still and examine our heart, mind, and soul.
Beginning and maintaining a meditation practice doesn’t mean that we must escape to a mountain cave and remain silent the rest of our lives to reconnect with God. That’s not sustainable—and it’s certainly not realistic or accessible. Instead, we can keep an authentic practice right here and right now, even amid chaos, endless distractions, and our need for perfection. The world isn’t going anywhere; what matters, though, is how we engage (or don’t) with it.

—J. Dana Trent
One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation

From page 104 of One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation by J. Dana Trent. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Try this spiritual practice today:
Extend God’s love to yourself, your loved ones, your enemies, and all God’s creation through these phrases:
May I/[name] be safe.
May I/[name] be healthy.
May I/[name] be happy.
May I/[name] be at peace. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
—1 Kings 19:11-12, NRSV

This Week: Give thanks to God for giving you the breath of life. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room Books author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Receive 20% off of the eCourse Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

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

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Jill January 20, 2019, 5:03 am

    I am grateful for my safety, my health, my joy and my peace. How I long to be able to extend these things to my mother. I met with my spiritual director this past Friday – and she encouraged me to meditate on the second verse of Genesis 1…”the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep” – and God was about to act, to create. She encouraged me to pray over the darkness in my parents’ household…and to know that God is hovering, perhaps about to do something new.
    There is an added woe to my mom’s heart – her best friend has been given less than a week to live, having battled Parkinson’s for over 10 years. Mom has had such a difficult time, watching so many of her friends and their husbands pass on. She cannot be encouraged by her previously good health and the active lifestyle she and dad had been able to maintain. She just looks at her circle of friends and now there are very few left. O God, have mercy.
    Grateful for a safe, warm home. The snow has finally ceased – it began at 10 AM yesterday. I shoveled around 7:00 last evening – maybe about 5 inches. Was grateful it was not a heavy wet snow. The winds picked up overnight and there has been drifting. The temps have plummeted and windchill is below zero. I doubt I will be able to get out of my driveway to get to the cancer support group. My road has not been plowed. My old church and my parents’ church have canceled services this morning – but as of now, the church where the new group is meeting has not cancelled. I can’t imagine there will be many people in attendance. Will see if a plow comes down my road in the next few hours. I will have to get out and shovel my driveway also.
    Prayers for wise choices for those impacted by the storm.

  • robert moeller January 20, 2019, 7:20 am

    I tried the breathing-let go meditation. Keeping focused on the breathing was not hard. I had longer and shorter breaths, had to find ones that I could maintain. Adding the let go part was more of a challenge as now I had both breathing and that to do I did find it very calming. pleasant. I agree with Julie that one day is not long enough to really give it a try so will do it more over a longer period.

    Prayers for all with lots of snow, cold, and ice. It snowed a bit here yesterday, but has seriously picked up in the last couple of hours. Thankfully, it is the light fluffy snow. It will get quite cold here tomorrow, -17 is in the forecast.

    No church here today, but the sermon should be coming by email. A lesson on recognizing and using our spiritual gifts.

    Prayers for Gloria as she watches friends pass away and struggles with emotions of loss and dealing with cancer. Prayers for Larry, Jill, and Becky as they provide assistance.

    Be safe, stay home, and only go out if absolutely necessary. Thankful for new posts from before now unknown people. Welcome! Blessings to you all.

  • Connie January 20, 2019, 7:51 am

    We have lost so many friends and it is very sad. Also, it is getting harder to get together. What a difference two or three years make. But we had many, many good times and there will be more, God willing. Bless Jill’s Mother in this difficult time for her.
    “Breathe on me, breath of God. Fill me with life anew. That I may
    love what Thou dost love and do what Thou wouldst do”
    “Breathe on me , breath of God, So shall I constant be, And live with Thee the perfect life of Thine eternity.”
    This is my prayer on this Sweet Sabbath Sunday.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 20, 2019, 8:30 am

    Grateful for time spent at the neighborhood park and also time spent with my mum.

    May God bless and protect us from all harm and danger!

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