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God’s Presence in Prayer

Today’s Reflection

FOR MUCH OF OUR LIVES, our prayer is a solitary thing. And well it should be.

We find a time and a place in the course of our days that we give over to our practice of being in the presence of God. It is formal or not so formal; and it includes scripture, perhaps, or readings from the saints and other wise ones. It includes the petitions and intercessions that we make for those we love and those who have been given to us. …

We have been taught, and rightly so, that our ongoing conversation with God requires this solitary attention to prayer. Our models are drawn from the life of Christ himself. “Go into your closet to pray, and the One who sees you in secret will hear you in secret,” he himself reminded us. We remember the stories of his going apart to pray, leaving even his closest friends on occasion to do so. We recall his admonition to be wary of those who pray in public places, lest pride enter in.

And yet, there is another side to our prayer. It is the part of our life of prayer that recognizes that we are not really alone when we pray. The side of our prayer that links us to all who have gone before and who will come after us. The part of our prayer that joins our voices with “angels and archangels who forever sing the hymns of praise.” It is the prayer that we say in unison, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with the whole church.

And nowhere is that prayer more in evidence than when we gather up on the day of the Lord. And nowhere is such prayer so often unnoticed and unremarked. It slips past us in a way, and with it perhaps there slips past us a way to change the way that we live our lives.

– Robert Benson
That We May Perfectly Love Thee

From pages 61-62 of That We May Perfectly Love Thee: Preparing Our Hearts for Holy Communion by Robert Benson. Copyright © 2011 by Robert Benson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

During your prayer time, be aware of God’s presence. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.
Philippians 3:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for grandparents. 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: Francis of Assisi, October 4).

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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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Jill October 6, 2017, 3:09 am

    At the church I am now attending, I joined a women’s small group Bible study – my tennis friend who initially invited me to this church – she is one of the two leaders. We are studying Acts, and this week we were in Acts 4. Peter is speaking boldly and the people realize that he is uneducated, yet speaking with authority…they realize he is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The rulers of the day are all riled up by the healing and the speaking and they want Peter and John to stop. But Peter and John say they cannot cease from speaking about what they have witnessed. They then begin praying…”Sovereign God…”
    This touched me so. I am not sure, but I think I would have shared with this UR community earlier in the year, that I had chosen sovereignty as my word to pray about. 10 or so years ago, the concept of sovereignty frustrated me. Being a very linear thinker, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. Conversations with a friend usually ended with us both frustrated, as I wanted God to be logical. I was unwilling and/or unable to grasp the mystery and be ok with it. Towards the end of last year – in various places – it was being suggested to pick a word to pray about, to seek deeper understanding. So – I chose sovereignty…God’s sovereignty. I prayed, “God, show me what Your sovereignty means, is. Show me how You would have me understand it.” As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for…He is clearly giving me His answer. He is sovereign over my current situation/health…asking me to trust Him more. To see that this is all providential…I am undone. Another word…undone…couldn’t grasp the fullness of it. Getting it now…and I believe that is what He wants of me…to be undone before Him, stripped down. So I circle back…”Here’s my heart, Lord – speak what is true.”
    So many mornings lately have been tear-filled, not always in a positive manner. Thank you, friends here, for bearing with me during this outpouring of my mind and heart this morning. These tears are therapeutic…very good. It is well with my soul.

    • Connie October 6, 2017, 7:54 am

      Thank you, Jill. I read every word. May our Sovereign God be with us as we strive to understand and may we never give up seeking His will. May this weekend bring you less pain and be tearless. Perhaps you have a long weekend…hope so.

  • Louise October 6, 2017, 5:25 am

    I feel God with me everyday. It took me a long time to get to the place that I am with prayer, devotion, belief, and really seeing and listening. I ask God everyday for him to make me the best version of myself that I can be because after many years of thinking that I had to be perfect I know now that I don’t have to be perfect I just need to be the best that I can be. My prayer time has become such a gift to me. Here at UR the strong presence of God is beautiful! I pray for all who struggle mentally, physically, and spiritually. I pray for all here at UR. Know that He is with you, He hears you, and when we allow ourselves to listen we hear Him. Peace to all!

    • Connie October 6, 2017, 7:55 am

      And also with you.

  • Betsy October 6, 2017, 7:11 am

    I have grown to see prayer as not one singular, separate act, but a natural part of my day. Praying for people I encounter, situations that occur and daily interactions will cause me to pause and pray. Thank you, Lord, for being close during all those times.
    I woke to a beautiful sunrise this morning; orange, pink and purple. The majesty of God’s creation took my breath away. Grateful for this outward sign of his grace.

    • Connie October 6, 2017, 7:57 am

      Who else could create such beauty.

  • Julie October 6, 2017, 8:00 am

    I feel God here as well. The outpouring of love and compassion are so powerful. So, I will share that my heaart is heavy today. There is a hate group that has come to my area to protest at colleges and high schools. Duquesne University is a catholic school as are the high schools. To think of this hate being directed at our young people makes me sad and I pray for God to watch over these young people. God, please keep them safe, physically and spiritually. I do not understand people who feel such hate and a need to inflict it on others. Yesterday they were met with a much larger group of individuals who were protesting the protesters. But, I wonder if this is the correct response, I do not believe so but then I am not well versed in these things.
    Blessings and prayers friends

    • Connie October 6, 2017, 8:06 am

      Very sad. So much hate lately…I guess we see it more but it’s always been there. God help us.

  • Connie October 6, 2017, 8:01 am

    (I may have shared this before) I literally do have a prayer closet…it is a coat room by the front door. When I have an urgent request, I squeeze in there…..it is pitch black and it is a perfect prayer place.

  • Lou October 6, 2017, 8:58 am

    We pray silently and aloud
    Alone and together
    Help us Lord
    Peace be to all
    Praise to the Lord God almighty for granting us another day to do your will.
    Fill us with Your Love
    Amen

    • Lou October 6, 2017, 9:08 am

      The song I cannot get out of my head this morning – I had to look it up by James Kilbane:
      Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
      I have heard You calling in the night.
      I will go Lord, if You lead me-
      I will hold Your people in my heart.

      I hold you all in my heart and prayers today.

      • Connie October 7, 2017, 8:31 am

        Love that song.

  • robert moeller October 7, 2017, 7:42 am

    While I was up early in anticipation of heart rehab, I did read the reflection, but for some reason didn’t post. Long ago I had a closet I used for QT-Quiet Time. It’s where I made a commitment to God, but it’s the action not the place that is important. Jesus prayed in many different places, doing it alone is important.

    Sad to hear about these hate groups, they present a challenge. How to deal with them? I’d say pray for them. Be present when they show up, but pray for them instead of responding to their message. Satan is working through them, but we have someone who overcomes Satan. By our prayers we can turn Satan away.

    Here I am Lord is very helpful hymn. Thank you, Lou, for your post.

    I agree that the church I attend doesn’t work well for Erich. Too many of us are on the older side. He has a way to go before church becomes relevant.

    Yes, prayers for all of the UR family.

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