Staying Unbound

For the past 40 days Arborlawn has been engaged in 40 days of united, continual prayer that was a part of our fall series Unbound: Your Life Set Free.  This sermon series complimented an all-church study by Martha Grace Reese called Unbinding Your Heart.

Feedback and reactions from people are typically filled with a simple reality:

Daily devotional times transform the way you approach your day.

The simple practice of framing your day around the person and activity of God in Christ changes your perspective on life and your interactions with other people.  Your eyes begin to see places where the Holy Spirit calls us to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world that you may not have noticed previously.  Implementing the small change of beginning each day with scripture and prayer leaves our hearts expecting Jesus as opposed to aimlessly hoping he appears.John

As the study concludes, you key question that I have heard grew out of the 40-day prayer challenge experience: how can I continue this? We’ve tasted and seen that God is good and now people hunger and thirst for more.  I’ve compiled (with the help and suggestion of friends) a short but varied list of resources that you can use to guide you through you daily devotional time.  There are countless resources available online and in print, but I’ve included ones that I either have personal experience using or someone I know and trust has used as well.

There are countless other resources available.  I encourage you to try one for at least two weeks. If it doesn’t speak your spiritual language there is no problem with trying something new.  Developing a new rhythm takes time, but the time invested in preparing our hearts and minds to expect Jesus is time spent deepening our relationship with the one who is the source of our life.  It is time well spent.

Printed Devotional Books

The Upper Room – [from their website] “The Upper Room daily devotional guide contains meditations that show real people struggling to live faithfully in real-life situations, with the Bible as the touchstone for and measure of faithful living. The writers of the daily meditations that appear in The Upper Room are both laity and clergy and come from around the world. However, all in some way reflect the belief that God wills only good for each of us and that God calls us to lives of love, forgiveness, and service to others, according to the example of Christ.” These are available in most UMC churches (Arborlawn definitely has them in our front office for people interested).

Daily Feast – A devotional series that follows the Revised Common Lectionary cycle.  There is a scripture and reflection for each day as well as a question on which to reflect.  The reflections are drawn from the preaching commentary series Feasting on the Wordyet still applies to the lives of clergy and laity alike.

Listen: Praying in a Noisy World – [from Amazon] “We live in a world of noise. Everywhere we go, we hear sounds that compete for our minds and hearts. Listening to God requires a deliberate choice to shut out the chaos around us and focus our thoughts.Listen, by Rueben P. Job, is a 40-day experience created to offer help to those new to prayer, those with a daily prayer routine, and those whose lives seem too busy to pray. With a focus on listening prayer and prayer as a two-way conversation, the experience will assist individuals and groups in building and deepening a personal prayer practice and spiritual discernment.”

A Disciple’s Journal – [from Amazon] “A Disciple’s Journal, carefully designed and deeply Wesleyan, provides a pattern of daily prayer and scripture reading for disciples who want to grow in holiness of heart and life. It invites readers into a Wesleyan way of following Jesus Christ shaped by the General Rule of Discipleship: To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” These are released yearly. You can pick up a 2016 Journal for Kindle right now.

Daily Email Devotions

Upper Room – An email version of the printed devotional book.

Daily Text – A daily scripture reflection that tends to follow through a book of the Bible.

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations – Daily meditations sent by Richard Rohr. A renowned spiritual leader and Franciscan priest.  Rhythms tend to follow exploring theological topics over extended periods of time.

Phone Apps

Pray-As-You-Go –Pray as you go is a daily prayer session, designed for use on portable devices, to help you pray whenever you find time.  The app contains not only a daily scripture devotion, but also various other forms of prayer.  My personal favorite are the Examen Prayers they offer for various ages. They also have a website which houses all of their content.

Bible – Arguably the most popular Bible app on the market. This app contains multiple translations of scripture as well as countless reading and devotional plans to choose from.  You can program reminders that will help you to develop the habit of daily prayer.

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