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

RARELY ARE YOUTH CHALLENGED to take up their cross and follow Jesus down the narrow road called faith — but even when they are, they can’t imagine what that really means unless someone famous makes a movie out of it.

Without story to engage the imagination, there’s no sense of a narratable structure (beginning, middle, end) that connects a young person to the wider world. Without past or future, it’s difficult to find meaning in the present. Hence the youthful complaint that church isn’t personally relevant, which is a polite way of saying it’s absurd.

– Sarah Arthur
The God-Hungry Imagination

From page 28 of The God-Hungry Imagination: The Art of Storytelling for Postmodern Youth Ministry by Sarah Arthur. Copyright © 2007 by Sarah Arthur. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What stories make church relevant to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

David had success in all his undertakings; for the LORD was with him.

1 Samuel 18:14, NRSV

This Week: pray a prayer of thanksgiving every day this week. 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: Ephrem (June 18).

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 June 19, 2018 5:28 am

    Stories of faith today, UR testimonies, and stories from the Gospel make church relevant to me. Add the Psalms, hymns, and prayerful walks and while all of this may not provide what some people are looking for, they are sufficient for me. Thank You, Lord.

    Prayers of support for Gloria, Marcy, Julie, Rusty and K, Lou and Mary. May your needs be met by the One who can do far more than anyone can imagine.
    May Erich find You, Lord, and be uplifted. A very tough day at work, he was asked to fix work done by others and for which they are not held accountable.
    He’s very frustrated. Prayers for resolution, healing, and positive results are very much needed.

    Thankful for a nice Face Time with Jenny yesterday, some tasks done around the house and for a neighbor.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 6:43 am

      Keeping Erich in prayer.

      May he be able to overcome the challenges in life and may He experience more of God’s love and power in his life


  • Lou Posted June 19, 2018 5:39 am

    Prayers for Erich and all of those who work in stressful jobs. I am thankful to have a good job but since I am self employed I worry about sustaining it. So far God has seen me through and enabled me to continue to support my family. Prayers for you Julie that you may find peace and that God will provide.
    Happy Birthday to Marcy- God’s peace be with you- your faith and support of all of us is a true gift to us. I hope that someone is there to remember you on this special day as we here most certainly do.
    I enjoyed the stories and memories from all yesterday – Connie you especially painted a lovely image for us- and a reminder that life is good.
    I have been struggling with many obstacles including water in my new home’s basement and the resulting mess of wet boxes etc…one thing leads to another -and another and another. I’m waiting for a break so to speak- I admit I questioned my Heavenly Father in frustration and asked how much more can you give me- and then I picked up and went on. Forgive me Father – but I know you already have…I’m trying – really trying but everyday certainly has a test. I pray today will be normal and uneventful.
    Prayers for my daughter and all of the members of my church away at church camp this week. Prayers for all of the ur faithful.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 8:22 am

      Lou, keeping you in prayers. May your home be restored soon and everyone in your family live in comfort.


  • robert moeller Posted June 19, 2018 6:03 am

    Prayers for you Lou, not sure how the water came to the basement, have dealt with that, lots of solutions once you know how the water got there.. We all ask from time to time, with Jesus we can always handle more than we could without Him. Jesus is with you.

    Thankful for your prayers for Erich, the joys in his life have been overshadowed by many obstacles and situations.

  • Jill Posted June 19, 2018 6:04 am

    My reaction to reading what is above is to look at the simplicity and the grace at which ordinary people pass through various seasons of their lives. We need more stories of those people who grind it out, stick to their guns – live for Christ daily where He has planted them. Don’t need grandiose things, not something movie-worthy. We need more Roberts – faithful men who stand by their children and assist to the nth degree. More Lous – women, who whether they are feeling brave or not, put one foot in front of the other, praying all the while, and forging ahead, loving their children and trusting Him. More Andreas – persevering in loving their children and grandchildren, praying while biding time for moments to make a difference. More Connies – steadfast in determination, rising above unspeakable difficulties. More Marys – remaining faithful in their jobs, despite ridiculous conditions, and then summoning strength to tenderly care for her parents. More Betsys – being stretched outside their comfort zones, trusting in His will and moving where a spouse’s job beckons. More Julies – laboring on in the face of tremendous difficulty, fiercely protective of their children, clinging to Him to provide daily sustenance. More Marcys – faithful in prayers for others while battling significant health issues. More Rustys – deeply devoted to providing necessary care for a spouse, sacrificing along the way.
    And there are more stories here, from others who post less frequently. But their stories are impactful as well.
    Father – assist us to be willing participants in the stories You have crafted through our lives. May all who come behind us find us faithful.
    So grateful for all of you, your sharing and your prayerfulness.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 6:18 am

      Thanks Jill!

      May your parents be well and may all of you have many happy and healthy days together


  • robert moeller Posted June 19, 2018 6:06 am

    Yes, Marcy, Happy Birthday! Prayers this and every day are full of breathing.
    God’s peace is with you. Thank you for your thoughtful and all encompassing prayers.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 6:45 am

    Happy birthday, Marcy!

    May God’s blessings and favor always be upon you!

    • Andrea Posted June 19, 2018 10:51 am

      Blessings, Mary. I prayed that your challenging day at work went smoothly, and I pray that most of your workdays are more ordinary and a big improvement over your previous crazy work situation. I pray too that your parents are doing well. You are such a blessing to this community. God bess you.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 20, 2018 8:30 am

        Thanks so much dear Andrea for your words of encouragement!


  • Julie Posted June 19, 2018 8:01 am

    I echo Jill’s eloquent words and add…
    More Jill’s whose testimonies of faith in the face of extreme illness and the life shortening illness of her mother are uplifting and show a true Believer to be learned from and emulated…
    Happy birthdy to Marcy and I too pray that someone near her celebrates with her and that her breath comes easy today
    Prayers for Erich for perseverance and forebearance and belief
    Prayers fr Robert, his jaw and heart health and his pursuit of his son in faith
    Prayers for Mary and her parents. Prayers for strength for Mary to meet the demands of her job and caring for her parents.
    Prayers for Lou as she battles forth. May she also have strength to meet her many demands.
    Thank you for your prayers and warm words of support. God blesses me again and again. I seek His rest and His support and His promise of ” a hope and a future” and not “Harm” For I still have no resolution to my current situation and stress of the uncertainty is wearing on me greatly.
    Blessings and prayers for all of the UR family

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 8:25 am

      Thanks Julie for praying

      May all be well with you and your family


  • Connie Posted June 19, 2018 8:11 am

    Jill, thank you for your wonderful, encompassing post. You touched a lot of bases! I believe the Holy Spirit guided you.
    Prayers for Erich. Who said life is fair? We have his back!
    Happy Birthday, Marcy. May God bless you like you bless us.
    Lou, water freaks me out. It wears a person out when damage occurs, as it never leaves things the same. Prayers….for “survival strength” and then some GOOD DAYS for you and yours. (It’s pouring down again and I just took a deep breath–I live near Chicago.)
    God bless Robert and Mary and All.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted June 19, 2018 8:28 am

      Thanks Connie!

      May you and your family be well


    • Andrea Posted June 19, 2018 10:46 am

      Connie, I too enjoyed your farm memories. God bless you and your husband.

  • Andrea Posted June 19, 2018 10:43 am

    Thank you, Jill for your beautiful post – I echo Julie, that your faithfulness and strength are inspirational. I pray you have many good times with your parents in the time ahead and that your mother’s course is gentle, eased by family love and excellent medical care. I pray your summer is restful and restorative.

    Julie, God holds you tenderly. I don’t believe your husband can leave you without ample support. I pray you have a good lawyer.

    Lou, I pray for you and your daughter in your new house. Did the sellers disclose that water can get into the basement? May all the angles of settling into your new house come together for you.

    Robert, you inspire me with your devotion to Erich. Although he does not believe in a personal God, I think someday it may dawn on him that you are God’s love in action for him. I pray he forges on successfully with the difficulties in his job. May you be healthy and strong, and may Anneliese be relieved of pain.

    Marcy, I’m thinking about you and hoping your birthday is a happy one today, that you are breathing more easily and getting the care and support you need. May God heal you. I echo others, that your comments here are a true gift. I so wish we had had more time to look around Webster and Waubay. It is such a beautiful area, with the glacial lakes and abundant bird diversity, and we do hope to get back sometime to do some more birding there. We stopped at a very cute ice cream place in Waubay – the Purple Cow – for a delicious treat (the rum cherry was fantastic) and then spent a little time at a lovely spot, a quiet marsh with tall grasses and cattails swaying in the wind, to look at the yellow-headed blackbirds. Then we kept pressing on to get to Appleton, in western Minnesota, to look at my grandparents’ church (which, sadly, has closed), have supper, and get home before dark. The images from our South Dakota trip have stayed with me, the dramatic beauty and variety of landscapes and wildlife, the open skies and sunrises/sunsets, the feeling of witnessing unusual marvels in God’s creation, and the friendly hospitality of the people.

    Gracious God, I am thankful for this community of faithful prayer warriors, dear to my heart. Bless all of these cherished friends and those for whom they pray. Amen.

  • Marcy Posted June 19, 2018 5:20 pm

    Oh, how I love you, UR family! Thank you so much for your love and prayers.

    This has been my second worse birthday, the first being the one three days after my Dad’s death. There were many awful birthdays during my marriage, but I got used to that. I managed to pray for you all individually, and as members of this UR Reflections family this morning and many others. I’ve been crying out to God every day, to heal my ills, to return me to the person of encouragement I used to be. The giver, the helper always ready to drive someone somewhere, never giving it a second thought. Today is just another day, no different from others. I missed appointments last week due to migraines coupled with gastro issues. They have been rescheduled, but they are a long way, months from now. I’m on lists for cancelled appointments, but then will have difficulty finding transportation, since insurance requires three days notice. It is overwhelming me, with issues of isolation, absence of family members and having to depend on others with still no help from the State of Illinois.

    I question posting, because when striving for positive comments, they always tend to sound negative, whiny and self-centered. Far from what I intend them to be. Thank you all, for wishing me a happy day. I am in tears, running unchecked. I am grateful to you for your words today. They have helped! Prayers and heart-felt thanks Lou, Jill, Robert, Julie, Andrea, Mary, Connie — I truly love you, gentle, kind, wise souls that you all are! So many others, I can’t bring to mind. I’m not forgetting you, just a lot of turmoil today. Please forgive me, all….

    May God bless each of you, UR family, reading and/or posting, your families and friends. I know He’s there. I still have Hope — must be from our Almighty God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

    • Andrea Posted June 19, 2018 10:58 pm

      I believe God desires genuine prayers and heartfelt cries from the depths of one’s heart. I hope you will share your needs here without feeling the need to sugar-coat your words. May God ease the pain in your spirit, dear Marcy. I think of Jesus, asleep in the boat with His disciples, who are wide-awake with fear in the stormy waves and wind. Jesus awakens and commands the storm to cease. That is my prayer for you. I visualize Jesus beside you through the storm, commanding the waves and wind and keeping you safe.

  • robert moeller Posted June 20, 2018 5:35 am

    I’m just overwhelmed by the posts here today, this oasis, small family, however it is described, just pours out God’s love from the unending source.
    I echo all your prayers and am extremely thankful for your support. Thank you Andrea, Jill, Julie, Connie, Mary, Marcy, and Lou, for your powerful prayers.

    So glad the UR family was able to take the edge off Marcy’s second worse birthday. Surely hope and pray the needed medical help, transportation, and support from the state if Illinois is forthcoming.

    I surely enjoyed Andrea’s South Dakota- Minnesota travelog, Jill’s and Marcy’s super focused prayers, Connie’s use of words, and the support of Julie, Mary and Lou. Each of you shares a different facet of God’s love, how marvelous, and all the while you are dealing with your own issues: health, parents, job, new home with water in the basement, children, and separation.
    Thank You, Lord for these precious messengers of your love.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *