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And When You Pray

Today’s Reflection

THE FIRST FORMAL LESSON on prayer I remember receiving was in Ms. Vicki’s fourth-grade Sunday school class. Ms. Vicki took us fourth graders seriously even though we were children. She believed us when we had problems and took our concerns to heart without patronizing us. She wanted to hear our thoughts and opinions, and she encouraged us to ask questions about the Bible. Even still, Ms. Vicki had no problem chiding and disciplining us. “There’s a difference between acting like children and acting childish,” she reminded us. “I encourage the first,” she continued, “but I don’t tolerate the second.”

Seated at the Sunday school table, sun pouring through the stained-glass windows, adding vibrant color to the sad, mottled carpet from the 1970s, Ms. Vicki taught us the correct format for prayer: A prayer should always include thanks, intercession, petition, and gratitude. And always, always in Jesus’ name. That’s where the power came from, she said. That phrase acted like a notary public; it made our prayer official and sent it straight to God. God was not a vending machine, Ms. Vicki insisted, but prayer did have a protocol. Prayer was a particular thing that one did or did not do, and the way we did it was important.

– Hannah E. Shanks
This Is My Body

From page 41 of This Is My Body: Embracing the Messiness of Faith and Motherhood by Hannah Shanks. Copyright © 2018 by Hannah E. Shanks. 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 is important for you to include when you pray? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.

Acts 4:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for increased faith. 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: Dietrich Bonhoeffer(April 9).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Betsy April 11, 2018, 6:51 am

    I try to begin my morning prayers with gratitude for three things going on in my life. This helps me to focus on my faith and feel peace in my heart before going to God with petitions and requests. We just discussed this in our Bible Study last night.
    I like how the writer recalls her early memories in Sunday School class as an early formation of her prayer life. I lift up all the Sunday School leaders and Bible Study leaders. They plant seeds that build faith in ways they don’t always see.
    Praying that all who come here this day to read, pray and share are reminded of faith builders in their lives.

  • Francesca April 11, 2018, 7:47 am

    I thank God for bringing my husband and son home safely. I can’t take it for granted. My husband travels on the expressway every day. My son works in the city — Chicago — days or nights depending on his schedule. Also, I don’t feel my prayer is complete without intercession for others. I thank God for this site and the UR “warriors “.
    I like Ms. Vicki ‘s words about the “difference between acting like children and being childish. . .” I think I’ll borrow them. 🙂
    God bless everyone with faith, hope, love, peace and joy today.

  • robert moeller April 11, 2018, 8:04 am

    I echo Betsy’s three things to be thankful for before prayer. Think I learned that here at the UR and have tried to do that everyday.

    I’m thankful for this site, for a roof over my head, and food on the table. Biulls paid, and a car that works. Thankful I am where I am even though I think my help doesn’t seem to do much. Prayers to keep the faith, it has gotten me thus far.

    Prayers for those with health concerns, thankful for healing, Prayers for wisdo to do what is right and the strength and courage to carry it out. Prayers that Erich will find a job that will get him on his way.

    Blessings to all of you, the Lord is with you.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 11, 2018, 11:25 am

      Robert, i am keeping Erich in prayer

      God is our provider. May God meet our every need

      Blessings

  • Julie April 11, 2018, 8:07 am

    I thank God, I pray for others, I pray for myself, and I always end with “in Jesus’ name, Amen” as I was taught. During Episcopal catechism classes we were asked to pray for a rock. The Father said if we could pray for a rock and make it meaningful, we could pray for and about anything.
    Prayers for Francesca’s husband and son and safe travels.
    Prayers for Betsy and her family and all faith leaders who impart their faith so willingly withour seeing its fruit.
    Blessings and prayers for and thank you to all of the UR family
    It’s nt whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.
    Vince Lombardi

  • Connie April 11, 2018, 9:03 am

    Thankful for:
    The bright sunshine this morning.
    The Refection’s gathering.
    Feeling much better.
    It is important when I pray that I am focused. Also, that I thank God for the life He has given me. Ups and downs and blessings and joy.

    • Lou April 11, 2018, 10:37 am

      Glad that you are feeling better Connie- praying for your continued progress.

      • Connie April 12, 2018, 8:34 am

        Thank you, Lou. You are a blessing.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 11, 2018, 9:26 am

    Grateful for another happy and fruitful day

    Thank you God for the joy and privilege of prayer as your child. Thank you for everyone here and the UR ministry

    Blessings to all

  • Lou April 11, 2018, 10:43 am

    Lately – past several years lately my prayers have been desperate- help me Lord…I’m trying to be better at thanking Him- just for getting me through another day and to my bed at night. I put a contract on a house and had the inspection- I’m scared about making the wrong decision and my prayers have been for the God to guide me and let me know that I am doing the right thing. It is a process- thankful for friend support, for my children’s love, and for my wonderful Sunday school class and church community that refocus me.
    Prayers for this community and the support offered here- God’s peace to all who come here today – thankful for this wonderful group of believers.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 11, 2018, 11:23 am

      Lou, keeping you and your family in prayer.

      May God be our strength and ever present help

      Blessings

  • robert moeller April 11, 2018, 2:47 pm

    Thankful for some positive help from my counselor. Hope it is also a help for Erich. He’s applying for jobs, so far no response that works. Have to be patient and persistent. I’ve been through this and have an idea what it is like.
    We have a roof over our head, bills, paid, and food on the table. We can hang in there.

    Julie, I’m not a Packers fan but that quote from Vince Lombardi is excellent.
    He was a teacher at the school where a family shelter my church supported
    was active. Hope you are doing better with your hands and foot. Your safety is on my mind and in my prayers. I am very used to, “in Jesus name, I pray. Amen”. There most certainly is power in Jesus’ name.

    Lou, it sounds as though you are making good progress. Yes, buying a house is a big commitment, having a good inspector with a good report is helpful and takes a lot of stress out of the process.

    Very glad to know that Connie is feeling better, health is a very high priority.
    Praying the recovery continues and you are well soon.

    Most definitely prayers for the safe travel of Francesca’s husband and son. May you, Francesca be free of worry for them.

    Prayers for Betsy, her sister Grace, and all their family.

    Mary, you are diligent in replying to posts, thank you also for your prayers for Erich. A new day will be here soon, God’s mercy comes anew. Thanks be to God.

    Thankful for the people who taught all of us about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Seed was planted and God did the rest. Thank You, Lord.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2018, 12:00 am

      Praying that the waiting for a new job will be eenriching for Erich. Also, praying for his salvation and that he would seek God personally for guidance in his life journey.

      Father God, we commit Erich and his needs into your hands. May you provide and protect him.

      Blessings

      • robert moeller April 12, 2018, 3:13 am

        Thank you, Mary. Off today to follow up on a job possibility. Finding a job will be easier than Erich finding God, but I too pray for that.

        • Mary ng shwu ling April 12, 2018, 9:42 am

          Nothing is impossible with God.

          Pray until something happens.

          I believe God has a wonderful plan for Erich. In His time, He will reveal and make it happen. Just trust in God and commit Erich into God’s hands, Robert!

          My mum told me my grandmother died quite early and her last words to my mum was “i commit you into God’s hands”. God has provided and met all my mum’s needs since then.

          May our faith be increased!

          Blessings!

        • Mary ng shwu ling April 12, 2018, 9:44 am

          Robert, all the very best for your job hunting,

          May GOD grant you the most suitable job!

          Blessings

    • Francesca April 12, 2018, 5:47 am

      Thank you Robert. I am praying for Erich too.

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