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.

This week, Upper Room Daily Reflections features excerpts from One Breath at a Time by J. Dana Trent.

Today’s Reflection

TODAY, most Christians pray as a way to hold space for what they need to tell God. Meditation, on the other hand, holds space for what God needs to “tell” us. In our prayers, we confess to, praise, invocate, and supplicate God. In our meditation, we listen for God—whether it’s through the Spirit, scripture, or even mystically in ways we cannot explain with our limited language and finite brains. This is not to say that we do not listen for or discern God’s movement in prayer, but I do believe our tendency (at least mine) is for prayer to be “loud,” focusing on ourselves rather than quietly listening for that “still small voice” or for the subtle, sacred ways God shows up around and within us—even through our own breath. While prayer can be wordless—“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26)—we tend to use prayer as a way to push our needs, confessions, agendas, formulas, requests, and lists. It puts us in the center. Meditation—the listening counterpart to prayer—recalibrates us to the triune God, who is the rightful center.

—J. Dana Trent
One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation

From page 27 of One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation by J. Dana Trent. Copyright © 2018 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Try this spiritual practice today:
Find a quiet space, and be still. Set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes. Breathe deeply and slowly. Pay attention to each breath. If your mind wanders, don’t rush to judgement. Gently return your focus to your breath. As you breathe, imagine letting go of all that is not God—fear, stress, anxiety, prinde, ego, anger, bitterness, and resentment. When the time is up, exhale slowly.
Reflect on these moments, and make note of your experience. Was it uncomfortable? Was it refreshing? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
—Romans 8:26, NRSV

This Week: Give thanks to God for giving you the breath of life. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room Books author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Receive 20% off of the eCourse Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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  • Jill Posted January 19, 2019 5:42 am

    My quiet meditation this morning is on Psalm 25: 4, 5: Make me to know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all day long.
    Yes, amen and amen.
    I am cherishing the stillness and quietness of this unhurried morning. It is a blessing to not be concerned with time…to just linger.
    Praying, Julie, for mercy for your physical discomfort. And for strength to continue to endure your living situation. Long suffering is a fruit of the Spirit which isn’t as “lovely” as joy, peace, kindness. Yet – it is a fruit, nonetheless – may the Spirit continue to cultivate it in you.

  • robert moeller Posted January 19, 2019 6:38 am

    Will try this meditation and let you know how it went.

    Amen and amen to that passage from Psalms. I often find the psalms amomg the most uplifting. comforting, soothing scripture. Hopeful Jill, that the meeting with the cancer support group both happens and goes well.

    I too pray that Julie’s home situation finds a good resolution. Julie, God is with you and has helped you thus far and I believe God will see you through to a good end. Prayers too for your fingers and toes with this cold weather. Thankful for your very focused prayers . Hopefully there will be the news Erich is waiting for soon and he can go to work. The paperwork problem has bee resolved.

    Expecting a big snowfall starting tonight through Sunday. Monday is supposed to be bitterly cold with the lowest temps thus far this winter.

    Thankful that a long awaited reunion with a former Seoul Foreign School student will take place today. Now an architect, we’ll meet at a restored train station that has a Green Mountain Coffee café. She likes long distance train rides.

    Stay warm, safe, and cozy while this storm comes and goes. Blessings to all the UR family.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted January 19, 2019 7:31 am

    Father God, we uplift Marcy into your hands. May you meet all her needs and may you heal her. We also uplift Julie into your hands. May your presence be so close to her.

    Thank you for hearing our prayers dear God.


    Yes, this spiritual practice is refreshing. Thank you for your recommendation Dana!

  • Julie Posted January 19, 2019 8:08 am

    I, too, will attempt this excercise and report back after several days. Knowing that I have made this statement to you will give me impetus to follow through with my intentions.
    No long prayer list today, Megan and I must go out and I hope to avoid the storm. I continue to pray for each of you and include each comment you have made here.
    Please pray for our safety today and tomorrow as we travel in this weather. Prayers that all of us in the path of the storm remain safe.
    April, Mr Rogers is from here, Pittsurgh. He lived in the neighborhood where the synagogue shooting occurred. He filmed his show at our local PBS station and all of his puppets and set are on display at our History Center which is part of the Smithsonian.
    Prayers dear UR family

    • April Posted January 19, 2019 10:41 am

      Thank you Julie, for this extra information on Mr. Rogers. I pray that you and all others that will have winter weather this weekend will be safe and warm. Blessings to our UR family as we start the weekend.

  • Connie Posted January 19, 2019 12:09 pm

    Oh my goodness, a lot of snow! Thankfully, it is powdery. Our driveway and walks are clear.
    Thankful for:
    The sunshine on a snowy day.
    A snow removal that was easier than the last one.
    The Spirit’s intercessory sighs.

  • Patricia Simon Posted January 20, 2019 5:14 am

    It was actually very refreshing and I felt great when the 3 minutes was up. Will try to practice it everyday.

    • Connie Posted January 20, 2019 7:56 am

      Your post inspired me. I will re-read the instructions again and hopefully can quit “fidgeting” for that amount of time.

      • Patricia Simon Posted January 20, 2019 12:56 pm

        You can do it Connie. Just go for it!

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