New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Today’s Reflection

FARMERS SPEAK OF the value of allowing a field to lie fallow for a while, to remain idel in order to rejuvenate the soil for future productivity. Listening to winter teaches us that we too can find refreshment through lying fallow.

Joining this cycle of nature—work and rest, action and contemplation, productivity and passivity—puts us in harmony with creation itself. Jesus modeled this rhythm for us. On occasion, he left needy crowds behind to commune with God in prayer, to celebrate with friends, or just to be alone for a time.

When our souls lie fallow, they become aware of the quiet infusion of God in and through everything—not merely the moments we might deem spiritual or religious. …

We can find pockets of refreshment even in a busy day—soaking in a hot bath, reading a few pages from an inspiring book, watching the cardinal flutter at the feeder, petting the new puppy, sitting in silence.

Our souls need the same kind of renewal as the farmer’s field. Perhaps we too will be more fruitful if we respect our need to life fallow occasionally.

—Linda Douty
Rhythms of Growth: 365 Meditations to Nurture the Soul

From pages 15-16 of Rhythms of Growth: 365 Meditations to Nurture the Soul by Linda Douty. Copyright © 2014 by Linda Douty. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What do you do to experience renewal? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
—Luke 3:16, NRSV

This Week: pray for someone beginning a good habit. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


  • Jill Posted January 7, 2019 4:47 am

    My time last week at the beach was renewing. We were blessed with very mild temperatures and practically no wind. This enabled us to sit on the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sun. I took a book to read, but ended up just sitting there in the warmth, listening to the quiet tide, watching the birds and dolphins. It is a simple gift to do my morning run in the light, but to do it on the beach – almost enjoyable.
    I ask for prayers for my dad – he has a very bad cold. Mother is not the least bit empathetic and my dad just sits there in his misery. He never complains. My sister is leaving tomorrow to snow bird and I am feeling (again) the pressure/stress of being the only one to keep an eye on my folks. Not having dad feeling well is a big added worry for me.
    Father God – You know the path ahead of me, steady my gaze on You.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell, for Betsy’s friend, for Robert and Erich’s continued search, for Julie’s perseverance.

  • Rusty Posted January 7, 2019 6:31 am

    Jill, prayers on the way for your dad. I have encountered similar situations in my life where one person doesn’t feel, or isn’t incapable of showing, empathy toward another loved one who is in in pain or distress. It can be heartbreaking. Bless you for being there for your dad. He, I am sure, is keenly aware of you efforts and feelings for him, and thankful for your them. Prayers for both your parents.

    Prayers also for Andrea, Lowell, Betsy’s friend, Robert, Erich and Julie. Thanks to all who so faithfully stay vigilant in their intercession for this group.

    I am lying fallow, so to speak, during this season. Combining scheduled days off for the holidays and then extra vacation days, i will have had three weeks off before returning to the office next Monday. The longest time away from work in many years. I have enjoyed the time at home with K, and I hope when I do go back, I will experience the fruits of renewal. Honestly, though, always lingering in the back of my mind – and especially this final week – I am apprehensive about the work that is piling up during my absence and will be there to greet me next Monday. Lord, may this period of Sabbath and lying fallow truly enrich and energize my efforts when I return. Please grant me the ability to trust that you are caring for me as I rest and to have confidence that you have granted me this time off because you know I need it.

    Blessings to all this morning.

  • robert moeller Posted January 7, 2019 6:46 am

    To experience renewal I go for walks, go to church on Sunday, and read daily reflections.

  • Betsy Posted January 7, 2019 6:59 am

    Our minister in his sermon yesterday challenge us to reread the 4 Gospels to understand how they complement and enhance the story of Jesus. Reading 1-2 chapters a day will take me to Eastertide. So that will be my scriptural renewal for the new year.
    Praying for relief and healing for your dad, Jill. With your dad not well and your sister out of town, the support dynamic you have in place for your mom shifts. I understand. Praying for continued strength for you. Rusty, enjoy your resting time away from the stresses of work. Prayers for Mary, Connie, Julie, Robert, and all who visit here this week.
    We are on “baby watch” as my daughter-in-law’s due date draws near. We are waiting prayerfully and patiently…….

  • Connie Posted January 7, 2019 8:03 am

    A very interesting word, “Fallow”. I can picture resting quietly in a fallow field, free of all cares.
    We didn’t celebrate Christmas because of a cold that lasted a very long time, but now he is back to normal. Sore throat spray, antiseptic mouth wash gargle and rest, rest, rest.
    I worked for a time in Medicare billing and every Monday was double time!
    May you get caught up in quick time, Rusty. Regards to K.
    Nothing more exciting than “baby watch”. Prayers for Mother and child and all.
    Onward into 2019.

  • Julie Posted January 7, 2019 8:07 am

    My time of renewal is every other Sunday when I spend the day with my daughter. I have the entire day free and we spend it doing things we enjoy. Yesterday we went to the movies and did a lot of shopping that was needed and also enjoyable.
    Prayers for Larry, may his cold sypmtoms resolve. I live the situation he is experiencing with Gloria. It is difficult to acknowledge that someone you have supported during times of need is wholly unavailable to you in your time of need. Prayers for Jill as she shoulders the burden of primary caregiver.
    Prayers for Rusty and his upcoming return to work. The work will get done ine due time. Do not allow the stress to ruin this final week of rest.
    Prayers for Betsy’s daughter in law, may she have a safe delivery and healthy child.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich, may God lead their move.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell, may Lowell’s test procedure go well with no undue effects .
    Prayers for Mary and her parents, April and her family, Connie and her family, Lou and her children, and our dear sister Marcy and her helper Mary.
    Prayers dear UR family

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted January 7, 2019 8:22 am

    Jill, keeping you and your dad in prayer. May God bless your dad with a speedy recovery and may His presence be so close to you as you take care of both your parents.

    Thank you everyone for your prayers!

    Yes, I believe in living a balanced life. However, it is not always easy to balance and one gets burnt out. I will intentionally block out time for myself. I understand that self care is important if one wants to be effective. So self care is my priority. I will spend time to seek God for renewal, strength and help. I also let go and commit to God whatever my burden.


  • Lou Posted January 7, 2019 11:07 am

    I experience renewal and peace in worship, and walking by the lake. I especially love walking the lakefront path in the winter – since my back surgery over a year ago I haven’t been able to walk as far and that limitation scares me – I keep hoping it will get better and I have done physically therapy and now pilates to help but have experienced little improvement. I want to get back to my lake front walks. I feel sometimes that it is a metaphor for my life that I have become paralyzed in some ways and it is difficult to move ahead. I try to stay focused on all the good that God has given me. The Christmas season was so nice with lots of time spent with my children. I was fortunate to have them with me – now today it is back to the routine and I admit that I feel down after the house full of noise and company. It is a dreary day to match my dreary mood. But I will get going – my goal is to do more for others and I pray that God will lead me in the way He wants me to go to serve him- I need to get my mind off of me and work to help someone else. Thankful for a busy work week ahead. Thankful for my middle daughters birthday today – the first one that I will not be with her- even in college she was home on break for this day- but she’s hard at work with her 3rd graders today. Thankful for my son who brought his new girlfriend to church yesterday. Thankful for my youngest – Lord continue to help me help her.
    Prayers for all – especially Jill, Robert, Rusty, Betsy, Andrea, Connie, Julie, Marcy and Mary-and for your families. Peace to all who come here today.

    • Connie Posted January 8, 2019 8:56 am

      Stress can certainly paralyze a person, but thankfully there is bad stress and “good” stress. In this New Year, Lou, may yours be mostly good. My daughter was born on the 9th. Happy birthday to your January Girl.

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