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

IT IS A STARK SCENE. Jesus praying in Gethsemane, saying, “My heart is ready to break with grief. …” Does this look like the picture of a saintly Jesus resting in the palm of God? Hardly. We see an agonizing, straining, and struggling Jesus. We see a “man of sorrows.” We see a man struggling with fear, wrestling with commitments, and yearning for relief.

We see Jesus in the fog of a broken heart.

My, what a portrait! Jesus is in pain. Jesus is on the stage of fear. Jesus is cloaked, not in sainthood, but in humanity.

The next time the fog finds you, remember Jesus in the garden. The next time you think no one understands, reread the fourteenth chapter of Mark. The next time your self-pity convinces you that no one cares, pay a visit to Gethsemane. And the next time you wonder if God really perceives the pain that prevails on this dusty planet, listen to the pleading among the twisted trees.

Seeing God like this does wonders for our own suffering. God was never more human than at this hour. God was never nearer to us than when God hurt. The incarnation was never so fulfilled as in the garden.

Jesus, may I watch with you in your pain and so come to understand that you watch me in mine. Amen.

—Max Lucado, in The Upper Room Disciplines 2010

The Upper Room Disciplines 2010

From the reading for Holy Thursday, by Max Lucado, page 103 in The Upper Room Disciplines 2010: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books. 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 the prayer at the end of today’s reflection. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

John 13:21, NRSV

This Week: Pray for those affected by gun violence. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Thea Bowman (March 30).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • robert moeller Posted March 29, 2018 5:22 am

    Very thankfully I think I have not gone through worse ordeals than Jesus. My problems hardly scratch the surface of what Jesus went through. Jesus forgives those killing Him.”Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”
    Jesus is God’s unconditional love personified. Without God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit there is no love, no hope, and no life. With God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit I have love, hope, life, mercy, and grace. Thank You, Lord.

    Prayers for those who faced gun violence, for those working to end gun violence, and for those who hopefully will never have to face gun violence.

    Today the joy of coming to celebrate the Passover becomes Communion. The process of paying for our sins begins as Jesus is arrested and accused. It will be a tough night and an extremely painful day tomorrow.

    Blessings to all the UR family as we remember what Jesus did for us.

  • Jill Posted March 29, 2018 5:42 am

    What a moving reading. “Seeing God like this does wonders for our own suffering. God was never more human than at this hour. God was never nearer to us than when God hurt. The incarnation was never so fulfilled as in the garden.” The last sentence is very thought provoking. To think of the totality of God’s plan, the totality of Jesus’ human life…I am humbled.
    We have been studying “The Great Week” during my Monday evening small group since September. Really digging deep and one of the consistent underlying themes – Jesus’ resolute commitment to the plan. The moments in the Garden of Gethsamene…crying out, pleading that the cup would pass…but ultimately – Thy Will be done. And an interesting thing I had never noticed previously…or had not pondered at any length…in the Garden it was “Father, Father”, on the cross it was “My God, My God”…to me, this shows His utter commitment to fulfilling His Father’s plan with complete, unrestrained obedience. When He left the Garden – He was resolved.
    So incredibly touched by my small group last evening at my new church. My group prayed for my mom and I was so moved. Grateful God directed me to this church and the support of this group of sincere ladies.
    Andrea – praying for your time spent with Jane today as she received chemo. Thoughts of what this would look like for my mom, should she decide to pursue treatment, have been in my mind. May you both be blessed today.

    • Andrea Posted March 29, 2018 8:21 am

      Thank you, Jill. I pray your mother and father are moving out of the shock phase. Prayers for you and your family.

  • Julie Posted March 29, 2018 7:47 am

    I have always thought Max Lucado’s words to be insightful. I find his interpretations of this episode very insightful, moving and heartfelt. I can feel how he shares in Jesus’ suffering and fear. I myself, by extension, then can share in their intimate moment.
    Robert and Jill, you add valuable insights and perspectives as well.
    Prayers for Andrea and Jane. I pray that the Lord gives Andrea the ability to discern Jane’s needs.
    Prayers and blessings for and thanks to all of my UR family
    No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
    William Blake

    • Andrea Posted March 29, 2018 8:22 am

      Thank you, Julie. Blessings.

  • Connie Posted March 29, 2018 8:17 am

    “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses”

    • April Posted March 29, 2018 8:30 am

      “And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
      And He tells me I am His own”
      Walking with Jesus in the garden and with you, Connie, and all the UR family today.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted March 29, 2018 9:16 am

        One of my favourite hymns


    • Lou Posted March 29, 2018 9:27 am

      I always love your simple, quiet but amazing posts….
      Blessings to you in this Holy Week-

  • Andrea Posted March 29, 2018 8:35 am

    When it rains, it pours. My husband has relapsed, coughing and is seeing the doctor again, fifth time now. Easter dinner at our house, with our Norwegian relative and 15 other guests, is cancelled. He just does not feel up to company. He sees the doctor again this morning.

    This afternoon, I take Jane to her first radiation treatment (I was mistaken when I said chemo). I know her, not very well though, through a quilting group. I pray to be suppirtive to her. Having been through this with my mother, who also had ovarian cancer (it was stage 3B when she was first diagnosed), I feel I want to do this for Jane, a widow.

    Gracious God, help me to be more sensitive to my husband’s needs, and better anmble to handle conflict with him.

    Prayers for UR friends. We have not heard from Marcy in awhile, and I pray she is getting support and needed health resources. With prayers, too, for all people affected by gun violence, and special prayers for school students and school staff. Blessings to all this Maundy Thursday.

    • Lou Posted March 29, 2018 9:25 am

      Prayers for you and your husband and his health-

      • Andrea Posted March 29, 2018 1:16 pm

        Thank you, Lou. Easter blessings to you and your family.

  • Lou Posted March 29, 2018 9:24 am

    God is near and understands and knows our suffering- he knows our hearts.
    Our suffering is minor and our joy is forgiveness and eternal life.
    Grateful for all who post here – for the thoughtful new posts from Kris and KB yesterday and for all of the “regular” supporters and prayer warriors –
    Prayers for all struggling with cancer- God we need a cure-
    For all those in physical
    And emotional pain- help our suffering Lord- but let us never forget the price you paid and how you suffered for us.
    Thankful for a few days in a beautiful place – thankful all has gone smoothly and my daughter is happy to be here with just her mom. Astounded again by the beauty of Gods creation – How Great Thou Art.
    Blessings and peace to all as we enter into these days.

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