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Traps

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

Today’s Reflection

WE ALL YEARN for space to practice. Much like the early church monastics withdrew to the wilderness because the institutionalized church no longer filled that need, today’s Christians feel that same tug. We have become too entrenched in our own noise—our jam-packed worship routines and prayer formulas—that we have drowned out God’s voice. We need quiet practices like breath meditation, centering meditation, lectio divina meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and devotional meditation to facilitate our listening to and experiencing God.

I’ve learned that I shouldn’t worry about not knowing enough or seeking a perfect practice. These are traps that place me and my ego in the center of spiritual practice, not God. Humility keeps me reliant on God for guidance; curiosity and persistence help me remain in a mind-set focused on growth. My meditation practice allows me to deepen my connection with God and others.

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

From page 98 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

In what ways are your prayers like the prayers of your childhood? How are they different? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
—Matthew 19:14

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)

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{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Jill January 14, 2019, 3:54 am

    The prayers of my childhood and even my early adulthood were rote and aimed at “sounding good” to God. Now – I strive to have my prayers be relational, personal as I speak with my Heavenly Father God with whom I have a relationship. I seek His companionship, His guidance, His comfort. They often aren’t pretty, but messy – just like me. Honest and raw.
    There has been a slight breakthrough (maybe) with my mom. On Saturday when I was over at their house, she commented on how it has been “hard” this week. I kinda let that word hang in the air for a moment. I said, I am sure it has been very hard. And then I gathered courage, said a quick prayer and told her about the new cancer support group which is beginning this coming Sunday at a church much closer to us. I told her that I was going and invited her and dad to come. I said, everyone will be in the same boat – it will be the first time for everyone. She said it upsets her to hear people talk about cancer. I told her I found the meetings I currently attend (at a church much further away) are very encouraging, the people very kind. Dad asked a few questions and I just left it at – think about it this week and let me know.
    So, yesterday afternoon I called to see how they were doing and she asked what I had done. I told her I went to the cancer support group – and instead of silence, she asked me about it! She asked me three questions and engaged in the conversation. Such a difference from her turning her back on me when I went to the first meeting last May! Amidst the difficulties of the week, there is this – and I am thanking God and cautiously optimistic that she may be considering attending the new group. God is at work…yes, of course He is.

  • Betsy January 14, 2019, 6:49 am

    I am learning to be comfortable in the silence. Help me to find you there, Lord. I yearn to search you as a child does.
    Jill, your mom is definitely thinking about the support group. Be patient because God is at work. It would be so great for you all to attend as a family. Praying that it works out for that to happen.
    A busy week ahead as we prepare to travel Thursday to welcome our new grandson. Please keep all in your prayers: Kelsey, Clay and Baby Harrison. Thank you.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 14, 2019, 7:07 am

      Betsy, may you be blessed with a healthy and happy grandson.

      My prayers are usually short like.. thank you God for..or help me God with… When I was a child but now it is more like a conversation though sometimes I still keep my prayers short.

      Grateful for time to meet up with a school mate and the joy of eating ramen today.

      Blessings!

  • Julie January 14, 2019, 8:05 am

    I did not have a religious upbringing. I was sent on a bus to a Baptist church that was very hellfire and brimstone. I remember the standard nighttime prayer of now I lay me down to sleep… but the words meant nothing. Now I have my prayer list but I need to spend time meditating on God and allowing Him to speak.
    Prayers of thanksgiving for Jill, Gloria and Larry and Gloria’s tentative foray into support groups.
    Prayers of thanksgiving for Betsy’s new grandson, Harrison. Thankful for a safe delivery for Kelsey and may Clay help with all the new tasks.
    Prayers of thanksgivng for Mary’s reunion with her friend, and for ramen.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich and may Erich get a job.
    Prayers for Lou and her youngest, may she do well on her tests.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell, may their PT be effective.
    Prayers for Connie, who we miss and prayers she is well.
    Prayers for Marcy, who we miss, and prayers she is well and attended to by Mary (and Lucy).
    Prayers for the dear UR family and prayers of thanksgiving for your prayers for Megan and me

  • Andrea Johnson January 14, 2019, 10:08 am

    My childhood prayers were “Now I lay.me down to sleep…” followed by “God bless…[list of names], as well as a table grace.

    Today I pray more for people and their intentions, and I pray my Lectio Divina. I had a meditation practice for about five years but got out of the habit in the last years of my mother’s life. I’ve tried to get back into it but have had difficulty, and perhaps I am meant to pray in other ways now.

    I am thankful for physical therapists. I had my second PT session for my foot and I am awed by the PT professionals’ knowledge and care.

    Yes, like Julie, I pray for Connie and her husband, and I hope she is just too busy right now to comment here. Prayers for Jill, Gloria, Larry and Becky; may Gloria find the courage to try the cancer support group, and may she find the courage to look cancer in the face and benefit from available resources for support. Prayers for Betsy, Kelsey, Clay, and the much-awaited baby, may all go well with the birth. Prayers for Julie and Megan, for Marcy and her caregiver, for Mary and her parents, for Robert, Erich, and Anneliese, for Lou and her children, and for all UR friends and those who visit UR. Have a blessed day.

  • J. Dana Trent January 15, 2019, 6:24 pm

    Thank you all for reading, sharing your stories, and supporting one another. May God bless our continued practice and paths.

    Taking it one breath at a time,
    dana

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