“Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4), Paul says. I keep nearby when I pray a picture of Saint Francis who took Paul’s injunction quite literally. His feet are off the ground, his arms are extended to the sky as he jumps in freedom and joy. The picture portrays a man who worships with his body, who loves the creation, and who is not afraid to let the joy of the body show.
Receptivity, self-offering, gratitude, and joy—the four prayers I would embody.
I stood in my room and began to experiment with gesture and movement. What felt comfortable? What seemed natural? What gestures and movements could express my prayer, desire, and intention to live these four prayers? The process of developing body-prayer movements was like trying on shoes—some looked nice but didn’t fit. Some gestures seemed like they would be perfect but felt awkward. I had to find the movements that were right for me—no one else could do this work.
—L. Roger Owens, What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality (Upper Room Books, 2015)
Find a place where you can be alone, and begin to experiment with gestures that express the shape of life and prayer you long for. Why did you choose the gestures you did? What do they mean to you? Join the conversation.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
—Romans 12:1 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
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
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Pause and notice God’s comforting presence by reflecting on the songs of Advent. Good News of Great Joy: Advent Reflections on the Songs of Luke offers 24 daily readings that explore the context, content, and spirituality of the four canticles (“little songs”) in Luke 1–2. Learn more.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Reign of Christ
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.