Resources for improving our prayer lives

As promised in last Sunday’s sermon, here are some online resources that foster daily, disciplined prayer lives. The purpose of these websites is to provide guidance and structure for praying. If they’re not useful to you, then that’s perfectly O.K. For some people, prayer comes easily; it’s second nature. For most, I suspect, prayer is more of a struggle—as it is for me! And don’t think for a moment that being a pastor or working at a church makes the struggle magically disappear!

If you’re like me, you might find one or more of the following websites helpful. I’m sure there are many, many more good online resources out there. Here are a few that I’ve used—and trust. What others should I know about?

The Daily Office: “Office” in this context means prayer service. I use this site nearly every day. In fact, my family and I light a candle and say the Compline (late night) service each night before the kids’ bedtime. The Daily Office is an ancient service of prayer for use throughout the day (morning, noon, night, late night) based on the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, all neatly laid out for each day by Josh Thomas. Each service includes psalms and other scripture readings, prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, the Gloria Patri, a time for personal prayer and reflection, and often the Apostles’ Creed. You can also access the site through its Facebook fan page.

John and Charles Wesley would have been well acquainted with the Daily Office and used it as part of their own spiritual formation.

Upper Room Daily Reflections and the Upper Room Daily Devotional: Here are a couple of easy-to-use United Methodist resources for prayer and reflection from the Upper Room. The daily devotional reading is identical to the one found in the Upper Room magazine that you’ve probably seen around church. Our bishop, Mike Watson, told us clergy at a retreat last week that his mother read the daily devotional to her kids every morning before they went to school.

Rejesus Daily Prayer: Here’s an ecumenical prayer resource sponsored by churches in Britain that offers different prayers, reflections, scripture readings, and activities depending on the time of day and season of the year.

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