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

JAMES AND JOHN want [Jesus] to commit to doing whatever they want without engaging him in relationship. Jesus doesn’t bite; he makes no promises. Nevertheless, he asks them the same question he later asks Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” James and John are looking for what they call “glory.” They’re looking for prestige, power, and reputation—quite a different definition from how Jesus sees glory. Two things seem to bother Jesus: (1) Jesus knows that feeding James’s and John’s desire for these things won’t actually help them at all. Jesus only gives good gifts, and this would be a bad one. (2) Jesus knows they’re barking up the wrong tree. If they want prestige, Jesus’ “glory” is hardly the place they’re going to find it. Later, in Mark 15:27, we see that the people on Jesus’ right and left are the two criminals crucified with him, proclaiming to us that Jesus is in his glory on the cross. This, presumably, is not what James and John are looking for. So Jesus replies with some clarifying questions about what James and John really want. He turns their attention from what they want to what’s worth wanting. How might Jesus do this for us as well?

—Matthew Croasmun
Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What do you want Jesus to do for you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
—Mark 10:35-38 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Lord, help me know the difference between what you ask of me and what the world asks of me. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

As Christians, we hunger to know and live out God’s purposes for our lives. But how do we know for certain that our choices are moving us in the right direction. Learn more about Which Way, Lord? –  a 6-session churchwide or small-group study that will help you understand God’s desire for your life.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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  • robert moeller Posted August 29, 2019 6:20 am

    Lord, teach me to be humble.

    Prayers today for Tom E having gall bladder removal and Anneliese with PM treatment. Not sure when but Meesook and Doris respectively have neurosurgery and chemo soon. God’s peace to Uncle Eddie and family after the passing of Auntie Young Hee. Prayers for Chris and his wife that their health problems are resolved.

    Prayers for Marcy and Julie that their health and wellbeing improve. God’s love, peace, mercy, and grace to all. Thank You, Lord.

    • Bj Posted August 29, 2019 7:12 am

      Good morning, Robert! I have been meaning to tell you to tell Anneliese to try and turn her matress over, or get her a memory foam matress. I was in so much pain for 1 week in may of this year. Guess qhat, my back was hurting at first, i went to ER, a few days later my hip on the same side, i went back. They did Xrays, i was told it was arthritis. Eacb time i was given very powerful prescriptions. I still got those medications. In between time, i went to walmart and got a $59 matress pad. I kind of had the idea it was the bed. I still have those bottles of medicine. For one thing, i am 60, health has been considered good. Good mo9, to you all, my dear UR Family! I love you all and have a blessed day.

  • Julie Posted August 29, 2019 8:06 am

    Unfortunately, I feel more like John and James in that I want the wrong things. I want safety and all that implies. I do not wish for glory, in fact the opposite, I prefer solitude and humility, but safety is very important to me. Help me want only Your wil Lord.
    I agree with Evelyn, this is a conundrum Ialso struggle with. I have even know very devout believers, some ministers, who wound up homeless. So how can I “rely on God” and “rest in peace?”
    I read Psalm 62 in KJV today and the words meant very different things. In other versions David is the leaning fence in KJV it is the ones who God will topple. The ones that are against David.
    Prayers for BJ and her astute reasoning. I also have the issue with my bed. Less so since I bought a new mattress. But as I am very thin I often awaken from the pain in some area that is affected by the way I am laying.
    Prayers for Robert and his many prayers concerns. So many people suffering, Lord, be with them and hold them near.
    Prayers for Mary and her joy, may others see God in her.
    Prayers for Andrea, Betsy, Connie, Lou, and Marcy.
    Prayers for Jill and Larry and for suffering and healing on our own timetable. May we be patient with others and ouselves as we grieve.
    Prayers, blessings, warm hugs and thank you dear UR family

  • Anonymous Posted August 29, 2019 8:50 am

    I want Jesus to please divert this hurricane back out to the ocean. Not to hit the USA at all. “ With Christ everything is possible” Prayer is powerful!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling Posted August 29, 2019 10:16 am

    Thanks Julie for your prayers for everyone!

    May God protect us from all harm and danger!

    May all be well and filled with the Holy Spirit!


  • Jill Posted August 30, 2019 4:32 am

    I want Jesus to continue to transform me – to be more like Him. Yes, more humility. Yes, desiring His will, conformed to His will. More of self denial.
    The freshmen came roaring in to school yesterday. I will meet my students Tuesday.
    Reading Psalm 62 from The Living Bible…verse 7 – “My protection and success come from God alone.” Success has a symbol beside it for a footnote – which says “glory”. Pretty interesting in light of this reading regarding James and John and the “glory” they were desiring.
    Grateful for tasks accomplished at school and my “to-do” list is diminishing. The calling hours for our students’ dad is tomorrow afternoon.

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