God is always ready to give us light, not of a material kind, but that which is intellectual and spiritual. But we are not always ready to receive, since we are inclined toward other things and are involved in darkness through our desire for temporal things. So prayer brings about a turning of the heart to God, who is ever ready to give, if we will but take what God has given. And in the very act of turning, there is effected a cleansing of the inner eye. The things of a temporal kind that were desired are excluded, so that the vision of the pure heart may be able to bear the pure light, divinely shining, without any setting or change—and not only to bear it, but also to remain in it, not merely without annoyance, but also with indescribable joy, in which a life truly and sincerely blessed is perfected.
—Upper Room Spiritual Classics: Writings of Augustine, Edited by Keith Beasley-Topliffe (Upper Room Books, 2017)
How has God turned your heart and changed your desires? Join the conversation.
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
—Ezekiel 36:26 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Try this suggested prayer practice this week:
1. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and remember that God loves you and you are in God’s presence.
2. Imagine God calling you by name, asking “(Your name), what do you want?”
3. Answer God honestly with whatever word or phrase comes from deep within you.
4. Call God by name, a name you frequently use for God.
5. Combine your name for God with your word or phrase to form a brief prayer that flows smoothly.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Let’s join together and pray for our divided world. Post—or respond to—prayer requests and praise reports on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.