My whole hope is only in your exceedingly great mercy. Give what you command and command what you will. You impose self-restraint upon us, “but I perceived,” says one, “that I would not possess wisdom, unless God gave her to me—and it was a mark of insight to know whose gift she was.” For by self-restraint we, who were scattered abroad as many, are bound up and brought into one. They love you too little who love anything alongside you, which they do not love for you, O love, who always burn, and are never quenched! O love, my God, kindle me! You command self-restraint. Give what you command and command what you will.
—Upper Room Spiritual Classics: Writings of Augustine, Edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe (Upper Room Books, 2017)
What does it mean to you that we are “bound up and brought into one” by self-restraint? Join the conversation.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
—Titus 2:11-13 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Try this suggested prayer practice this week:
1. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and remember that God loves you and you are in God’s presence.
2. Imagine God calling you by name, asking “(Your name), what do you want?”
3. Answer God honestly with whatever word or phrase comes from deep within you.
4. Call God by name, a name you frequently use for God.
5. Combine your name for God with your word or phrase to form a brief prayer that flows smoothly.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Let’s join together and pray for our divided world. Post—or respond to—prayer requests and praise reports on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.