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.

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Today’s Reflection

Pray with Your Body

CELEBRATING THE FEAST OF THE INCARNATION ought to involve, at least to some degree, praying with our bodies, allowing our physical home to express its spiritual dimension. To begin, consider how you learned to pray. Many children are taught a simple prayer gesture of putting their hands together before them, palms touching. Make that gesture now, as you read. Does that posture feel more reverent? Does it carry a trace of the childlike trust in God you first knew?

Today’s prayer experience will consist of an entirely wordless prayer using a series of gestures you can add to as you feel led.

First, stand with your hands clasped in front of you, fingers about as high as your nose. Bow at the waist, with your hands in front of you, recognizing the presence of the Divine.

Stand upright again. Slowly open your hands into a bowl shape, lowering them as you open, as if you were receiving something placed into your hands.

Then pull your hands apart, stretching your arms at your sides as if preparing to receive an embrace. Raise your arms over your head, palms out, in a gesture of blessing or benediction.

Then slowly sink your hands back to your chest, bringing them back into the clasped starting position. Repeat this series of movements several times as you feel comfortable.

– Melissa Tidwell
Embodied Light

From pages 16-17 of Embodied Light: Advent Reflections on the Incarnation by Melissa Tidwell. Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Tidwell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray with your body as described above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Luke 3:5-6, NRSV

This Week: Pray for those without homes. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Prepare for Advent

Explore how nativity sets, Advent wreaths, candles, carols, Christmas cards, and other traditions help prepare our hearts for the God “who bends low to enter our world and our lives.” The Living Nativity, a new book and eCourse by Larry Peacock, is available now.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


In order to continue receiving Upper Room Daily Reflections after January 1, 2019, please confirm your subscription here.


  • Rusty Posted December 9, 2018 1:48 am

    What a helpful reading! I often think about how body posture and physical movement (or stillness) enhances prayer. Like anything else about it, being mindful of what we do physically, thinking intentionally about the elements of our actions in prayer, focuses my mind on God and the act of coming before him.

    I thought about the hand clasping just yesterday. We had a memorial service for a parishioner yesterday who died, a dear friend to many, and the nature of the event, I think, made us all a bit more aware, perhaps more contemplative, about our thoughts and actions in the sanctuary than we might ordinarily be on a Sunday morning. I was kneeling at one point, with my hands clasped near my face as today’s writer describes. I thought how for me it was natural, but not necessarily meaningful. I realized then that coming late to Christianity, as an adult, simple instruction in how to pray is something I never received. I’ve said here before how grateful I am to have come to Christ when I did. But some tender things like palms together praying and “the childlike trust in God I first new”, as the writer mentions, were not in my experience.

    But now they are! Thank you, Lord.

    Prayers for all of the UR family.

  • robert moeller Posted December 9, 2018 5:27 am

    That one comes to Christ, is for all who believe, the most important part of faith. It’s when faith begins. The when of it varies from person to person. I’m thankful for every person who is a believer and pray that unbelievers will lose their unbelief.

    ThankfulI was able in the quiet hours of this morning to go back and review post for that last four days. Thank you for your prayers for Erich, Annelliese, Pearl and me and all of the UR family including those who are yet to come to this site.

    It’s a frigid morning and my fingers are minding the cold of the keyboard. I sympathize with Julie whose hands endure more than mine in the cold, Prayers for Marcy, hear health, insurance forms, Mary, her helper, and all of Marcy’s needs. I’m still learning, struggling with saints, saint’s days, the connection between our names and saints’ names. This is all quite unfamiliar territory. Thankful Mary’s Dad is recovering very well from his fall and the cut on his head. Wonderful news about Gloria and Larry enjoying this season. Prayers for Lowell’s ankle, Connie’s husband and Connie making her way through not her best days. Prayers for the baby on the way in Betsy’s family and Betsy’s brother and sister. Prayers for Julie’s hands, the atmosphere in her home, Megan, a peaceful resolution, thankful for her detailed daily prayers. I add my Amen to them.

    PM and PT have helped Anneliese enormously, the condo sale inches closer to conclusion, and the new furnace is keeping her warm and cozy.

    Had a nice Face Time with my daughter and granddaughters yesterday.

    Have a Blessed Second Sunday of Advent.

    • Connie Posted December 9, 2018 9:01 am

      Bless you, Robert…..you “touch all the bases”!

  • Jill Posted December 9, 2018 6:03 am

    I am especially enjoying these Advent mornings – lingering a bit longer, more focused thanks to Advent materials I have used in the past, dusted off for this year. Even more so on Saturdays and Sundays. As I literally cocoon myself in my heated throw – I think of Mary tenderly wrapping Jesus in cloths – so He will feel secure in the manger. There are times when the tightness of my throw helps me sense His nearness…how He holds me securely.
    One of my readings this morning took me to Psalm 40 – such richness there.
    v. 10 – I have not hidden Your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness from the great congregation. v. 11 – Do not, O LORD, withhold Your mercy from me; let Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness keep me safe forever.
    Whom shall I fear? My faith is in My God and King.
    Wishing all a blessed second Sunday of Advent.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted December 9, 2018 6:35 am

    Grateful that my mum’s appetite has improved and dad is also eating well.

    Grateful for all your prayers.

    May God bless everyone with good health and the joy of drawing nearer to Him.

    Blessings to all!

  • Betsy Posted December 9, 2018 6:58 am

    Short comments this morning as I must leave early to prepare for music service at church. My posture in prayer is often head raised eyes open to the sky. I also raise hands in a receiving position, open to God’s blessing.

    Whatever you prayer position, wishing everyone a meaningful second Advent Sunday. Blessings to all.

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