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

THIS YEAR I’m reading Matthew. I’m in our cold basement (it’s Pittsburgh, and this is the year of the much storied “polar vortex” early in the morning before the sun has even thought about coming up. The date: January 3. In today’s story the angel warns Joseph to take his family to Egypt where they will be safe from Herod who is hunting for the baby Messiah. “Get up,” the angel says, “take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt” (Matthew 2:13).

I have “gotten up.” Six months earlier my family lived in North Carolina, but now we live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We “got up.” I allow my mind to think about how our “getting up” differed from Joseph’s and his family’s.

My family left out of obedience to the voice of vocation, the voice of God’s Spirit that says, “This is where you need to be; this is what you need to be doing.” We made the right move, though our lives didn’t depend on it in the way it did for Joseph and his family.

But in a way, our lives did depend on it, and I can see my family in this story. The stress and imbalance of our life were crushing us. God used this move to rebalance us.

I often prayed the line from a prayer of Thomas Aquiinas: “Put my life in good order, O my God.” I’ve been praying that prayer for 15 years, and I now sense that God is answering it. My family and I got up and embraced a way of life that has more space for God to reorder it, and God is doing just that.

—L. Roger Owens
What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality

From pages 34-35 of What We Need Is Here: Practicing the Heart of Christian Spirituality by L. Roger Owens. Copyright © 2015 L. Roger Ownes. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray the prayer by Thomas Aquinas: “Put my life in good order, O my God.” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” —Isaiah 43:5-7, NRSV

This Week: Pray for joyous new beginnings. 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)

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  • Rusty Posted January 4, 2019 1:58 am

    Such a beautiful prayer. Simple, but it goes far beyond one of my old standards, “Lord, please help.” Partly, St Thomas’ prayer is helpful for me because it sheds a new light or a different perspective – asking God for his shaping all things, not just the one specific thing that happens to be on my mind in a given praying moment. His order is best (although, heaven help us, my sense of order and the outcomes I desire are often where I start from in prayer). St Thomas’ prayer reminds me about surrender and that he orders all things in my life for the best. Not my will, but thine be done.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted January 4, 2019 4:36 am

    So glad to hear from you, Rusty!

    Yes, may God put our lives in order!

    Blessings to all!

    May everyone have a good weekend!

  • robert moeller Posted January 4, 2019 6:21 am

    Yes, Lord, put my life in good order for without You I am nothing. Surely need God’s wisdom and guidance in this new year as the ability and possibility of a move improves. Taking an exploratory visit to the town that is beckoning today.

    Prayers for the UR family for a safe, healthy, God guided New Year in which needs are met. Thankful that a sense of a slower less busy routine is returning.
    Need to catch up with all of you by reading posts fro the last few days. I feel out of touch. Thankful for s good visit with my doctor, a trip to the gym, bills paid, and tax return started. Thankful for the blessings of the day. God bless and sustain you. Epiphany approaches.

  • robert moeller Posted January 4, 2019 6:24 am

    Amen Rusty, Thy will God not my will be done. A great weekend for all, Mary.
    Thank you!

  • Jill Posted January 4, 2019 6:47 am

    Put my life in good order, O God. This takes me immediately to the end of Psalm 50. There is a beautiful verse here…the very last verse…coming right before the ever so rich Psalm 51. In the translation I have with me…Psalm 50:23 – “Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God.” When I came upon this verse several years ago, in a different translation, the middle part was something along the lines of “order my conduct” – it was a mantra of mine…OMC – Order My Conduct. Order my conduct in such a way that I am fully submissive – so that He can order my conduct, so that He can “put my life in good order”. Father, may it be so. May we be Your vessels, ready to obey.

  • Betsy Posted January 4, 2019 7:02 am

    Such wise word from all of you. This is a fitting passage for beginning a new year. A reminder of who is in control of our journey. Only God “determines our steps.”
    Your prayers for one another are humbling and thoughtful. We are a fortunate group of pray-ers to have one another to lean on in all seasons of our lives.
    Connie, we stand with you in the gap as you decide to live your life in happiness and gratitude. Mary, prayers for your work you do so selflessly. Robert, hoping you visit to a possible new home goes well, and praying for discernment in where that might be. Jill, praying as you begin your new semester with renewed strength and that your students do the same. Also, prayers for your mom and dad, give them courage to face any health changes she may incur. Rusty, so glad to hear from you. I also have noted these words from Thomas Aquinas in my journal to reflect and pray on.
    Blessing here as we move toward the Epiphany Sunday.

  • Julie Posted January 4, 2019 8:09 am

    I, too, have noted this wonderful prayer in my journal. Put my life in good rder, Oh my God. I am so very in need of this prayer for this year. I have been praying to God to lead me along the path He has for me…as in For I know the plans I have for you…For the first time in my life I am looking to God and letting Him take the lead.
    Prayers that God orders Robert and Erich’s life as they contemplate moving. May they have safe travels.
    Prayers for Jill and her family as they navigate Gloria’s illness.
    Prayers for Mary as she gives of herself so selflessly.
    Prayers for Betsy’s daughter in law to have a safe delivery.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell, may his ankle be healed.
    I pray each night for Lou to sleep through the night.
    Prayers for Connie and her family and continued healing physically and emotionally.
    Prayers for Rusty. We delight in hearing such sage comments from him.
    Prayers for Marcy and Mary. I pray Mary is alleviating Marcy’s burdens and loneliness.
    Prayers dear UR family

  • Connie Posted January 4, 2019 10:02 am

    Please put my life in order, God…..Your Order. I sometimes feel so “discombobulated”. ha.
    I have so much to be thankful for.
    All the individual prayers that have been offered up for each of us is amazing. I pray as I read.
    Bless your weekend, fellow followers.

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