During the past few days, I realized that my normal prayer practices were not working very well. When I went into meditation or silence, my brain filled up with anxiety. I’ve realized that I need a different set of practices in this time of crisis. Here are some practices that seem to be working for me. (And I’d like to know — what practices are working for you these days? -Please let me know!)
- Bring in Spring. Fresh flowers from the yard brought inside.
- Share the light. I keep a candle burning when I’m awake.
- Meditate with others. My Headspace meditation app invites me to meditate with others beginning every 1/2 hour.
- Daily prayer. Upper room colleagues are leading morning prayer each day at 11:00 a.m. (Central Time). We are using Facebook Live. Like our Upper Room Facebook page and tune in to pray with us.
- Pray for others. I’m spending a little bit of time each day praying for others on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.
How to Pray for Others on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.
Blessings and love to each of you.
I’ve just returned from my second weekend intensive in spiritual director training with The Haden Institute. I’m grateful for time apart to learn, to be fed, to not be in charge of something, but, instead, to be fed spiritually.
There is a sacred space at the intensive that is just for creative expression and processing. I painted this piece in response to a Rumi quote that was shared in our morning meditation.
Out beyond the ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I will meet you there.
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
-Psalm 63:1, NRSV
I sip coffee, dark and smooth with a hint of cinnamon.
The wrens scold me as they carry food to their young the bird box on the front porch.
I lie in the lawn chair and watch clouds form, transform, and disappear.
I stack a smooth river stone to the pile on top of the bridge over Cave Creek.
The river roars in the canyon below. Its sounds lift my spirits, my heart.
I walk to the river at dusk and watch the ouzel hopping from rock to rock, stopping to preening its feathers before roosting for the night.
I smell the cool, earthy moisture by the river and the hot dustiness in the kitchen.
Vivid memories inhabit me. I breath them in with gratitude. In this place, I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Drink deep from the present moment. The living, healing Spirit lives here.
I’ll be worship leader at an upcoming 5-day contemplative retreat on the theme of “God’s Welcome.” I hope you’ll join us as we explore the crucial theme of hospitality.
Here are the specifics:
God’s Welcome: A 5-Day Contemplative Retreat
Date: October 16-21, 2016
Faculty: The Right Reverend Kee Sloan (Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama) and Dr. Amy Oden (Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at Saint Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University)
Location: Camp McDowell, Nauvoo, AL
Cost: $750 (room, board and tuition)
God’s Welcome is sponsored by the North Alabama and Alabama-West Florida Conferences of The United Methodist Church, The Academy for Spiritual Formation, and The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
Download the flyer to learn more. Or register here.
I hope to see you there!!
Join me in May at a retreat — a 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation — on the topic of the Psalms. I’ll be serving as the worship leader. For more information or to register, click here.
Psalms for Life: Praying Alone and Praying Together.
May 4-9, 2015
Camp Sumatanga, Alabama
Faculty: Roberta Bondi and Don Saliers
Roberta will focus on the many ways the Psalms can be used as a tool for Christian formation and prayer. For centuries, people have turned to the Psalms for solace, guidance, renewal, celebration and so much more. The 150 Psalms reflect a wide range of experience and expression. Roberta will guide the participants into a greater understanding of the Psalms and how to use the prayerbook of our forbearers to deepen our prayer life and our walk with God.
Don will focus on the use of the Psalms in corporate settings including worship and small groups. The Psalms are both personal expression and communal formation; Don’s lectures and worship leadership will explore this relationship in a number of ways, and invite us to bring our own lives and communities of care and ministry to the Psalms throughout the week.
An Amazing Opportunity!
I can’t say how awesome it will be! With Roberta and Don teaching us in the model of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Incredible lectures, inspiring worship, times of silence and times of fellowship. All in a beautiful setting! I hope you will consider joining us for this amazing week!
For more information or to register, click here.
Download the brochure.
The last several of summers, I’ve had the chance to help with SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s summer spiritual formation retreat. I’ll be there again this summer — July 13-17 at Lake Junaluska, NC. I’ll be leading worship and will be doing a workshop on photography. I hope you’ll consider joining me there.
Roberta Bondi, author, professor, and theologian, will serve as the Keynote Speaker for the week, and preachers, Rob Fuquay, Tim Bias, Candace Lewis, and Dana Trent, will lead us in spiritually rich worship each night.
Our theme for the week is “Living Psalms” — how the Psalms apply to our daily lives. There is still time to register and join us for this special event. Check it out.