SkepticNew Every Morning | January 10, 2022
I’m not skeptical about the entirety of spiritual practices—just the ones in which I’m supposed to sit completely still with my phone beside me to calm my traumatized mind and listen for God. I can pray and journal until the end times—my brain spinning plates like an overachieving carnival worker. But I’ve always doubted my ability to sustain a sitting-still, ears-open meditation practice, which is different from writing and praying. How do people use these apps without launching into a silent monologue in which a very bored God is the sole audience member? How do I sit and actually listen, instead of hopping from topic to topic and prattling away in my mind?
—J. Dana Trent, One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation (Upper Room Books, 2019)
When have you felt skeptical about meditation or another spiritual practice? Join the conversation.
Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
—John 8:12 (CEB)
Prayer for the Week
Spirit of God, comfort and renew us with each breath we take. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Join us for Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: A One-Year Online Offering from The Academy for Spiritual Formation. The first 3-day session begins on February 24, 2022. Learn more and apply here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
I love the simple prayer for this week- prayers and comfort for Ally and Julie. Prayer of thanksgiving for Robert who faithfully serves his church community and beyond. Congratulations Jill and prayers of thanks for your Roger who is showing signs of improvement – prayers for all going into this new week. Prayers especially for those with inadequate shelter – we have bitter temps and icy areas in the Chicago area today. Prayers of comfort for all who suffer and for those who are lonely. May God have mercy on us all in these trying times. Thankful my children are all doing well and are working and seem happy. Thank you God for this day.
Thankful that yesterday’s service went well, it was my first extended table communion offering, if i’m called to do it again, I hope to improve. Communion was received, that is a blessing. Love Never Ends is the worship series for the next 7 weeks.I am a witness that this is true.
Cold and windy for the next couple days, prayers that shelter is available for all who need, want it.
Good news about Roger, hope Jeremy is doing well too. Prayers of thanks, concerns, and joys for Julie, Jill, Lou, Ally&David, and all the NEM family of faith, the people where you live, the US, and nations near and far. Ever present needs are addressed by our ever present God. Thank You, Lord.
Stay safe and be well.
Am not comfortable with prayer beads.
I have tried journaling, with no sustained success or consistency. I am not sure if I mentioned it, but my friend and leader of my small group got me the book of Luke, as a journal. Our study starts tomorrow and we are doing the first part of Luke this spring. So, the left page is the Bible portion and the right page is space for journaling. I’m willing to see what happens, maybe note taking during our discussion time, as well as some journaling/thoughts the week prior to our gathering.
Very cold here as well, Lou. Didn’t brave the wind this morning. Sitting here wrapped in my heated blanket with my feet in my feet warmer.
Tomorrow my god son’s basketball game is about an hour away. A friend from college lives near the school where he plays. She reached out to me during the pandemic over facebook. She is taking her dad for some medical tests, but thinks she will be back in time to come see me at the game. We haven’t seen each other in over 30 years. Hope it works out.
The vet did increase Roger’s dosage again and instead of testing in 2 weeks, we are testing in 3 weeks. Was hoping to get a little bit more optimism…but I will be optimistic. He does seem a touch more like himself and I remain grateful for each day and each nose nuzzle.
Hoping Julie is alright, praying she is getting the assistance she needs.
Roger – glad you were able to serve the communion yesterday and hope you have future opportunities. Lou – thank you for drawing my attention to the prayer.