Where the World Meets to Pray
People and Stories of The Upper Room
Mary Lou Redding
• July 2009
Conscious of the need for a closer walk with God, of a deeper spiritual need . . . I covenant with God to seek an enrichment of my own spiritual life by observing a period of devotions each day.
—The Upper Room Covenant (1935)
This is the story of a little magazine and how it grew.
From its first issue in spring 1935 to now, The Upper Room daily devotional guide is prayer raised to a lifestyle. The vision has always been to reestablish the practice of daily prayer and Bible reading. But the magazine is also about people: its founders, its staff, and most of all, the readers who are also its writers.
Where the World Meets to Pray introduces and honors the people who've been a part of what God is doing through the international magazine and the worldwide ministries it's spawned.
From the memories of staff and longtime editorial director, Mary Lou Redding, read about:
- how the daily devotional magazine was born out of the prayers of a women's Sunday school class in Texas
- the stories of colorful characters in our history
- how a magazine began with a circulation of 100,000 to become an international publication printed in 40 languages and 77 editions
- how The Upper Room continues to develop life-changing ministries today
Mary Lou Redding is interested in many disciplines — art, literature, music, science, philosophy, religion, politics. She is a writer, a thinker, a feminist, a loving mother and grandmother, an outspoken and direct person. She loves to bake and cook, creating her own recipes. She designs and sews clothes, watches Star Trek in all its versions, roots for the Atlanta Braves, and plays word games at every opportunity.
From hardy, hillbilly stock, Mary Lou is in the first generation of her family to be born outside Kentucky since her great- [x 20] grandfather George Gideon Ison came to Letcher County in the early 1700s. Her hillbilly heritage of fierce independence and hard work is sometimes evident in negative ways. She is one of seven children and has over 50 first cousins. Mary Lou’s only child, an adult daughter, is the mother of her two nearly perfect granddaughters, Rosalie and Arianwyn. Spending time with them and with other younger members of her huge extended family brings Mary Lou great joy.
Before becoming an editor and writer, Mary Lou taught basic and advanced prose writing and business communication on the college level. Teaching — both writing and the Bible — is one of her great loves. Mary Lou has a master of arts degree in rhetoric and writing and worked professionally as a writer and editor for many years, retiring as editorial director of The Upper Room magazine in 2012.
Of all the writing and editing projects she has been part of, Mary Lou most treasures helping to create the Spiritual Formation Bible, published in 1999 by Zondervan and republished in 2007 by Upper Room Books as the Meeting God Bible. One of her major interests is the intersection of personality and spirituality, and she is certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality-preference inventory. Mary Lou completed the Academy for Spiritual Formation, an intensive, two-year experiential and academic program in Christian spirituality.
Imprint: Upper Room
Pub Date: July 2009
Trim Size: 12 in (w) x 10.5 in (h) x in (d)
Page Count: 128
BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christianity / History