The Upper Room: Where the world meets to pray
April 26, 2017 / By UNY Communications
The Upper Room is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. It is a part of Discipleship Ministries.
Sherry Elliot, The Upper Room’s Executive Director of Interpretation and Development, said, “The Upper Room exists for the purpose of calling people to prayer and inviting The Church to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, small group study, and other tenets of faith that draw you closer to God and strengthen your faith.”
“Prayer is our mission work,” she said. “Prayer is about paying attention to God, listening to the Spirit. Prayer shapes the soul so you can discern God’s call for your life. As United Methodists, we know that personal time with God (piety) gives us power to show mercy and do justice in the world.”
The Upper Room was prayed into existence by a women’s prayer group at Travis Park Methodist Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas, during the Great Depression. They were interested in supporting daily prayer and devotional life in the home and petitioned a general Church board to consider a simple publication to facilitate daily prayer. This action birthed the popular devotional guide, The Upper Room, in 1935, which is used by millions of Christians around the world and available in 33 different languages and more than 100 countries today.
The Upper Room focuses on five ministry areas:
- Supporting small group ministries.
- Guiding personal spiritual practices.
- Supporting spiritual leaders.
- Transcending languages and cultures to serve all nationalities.
- Using E-learning as a way to help people grow spiritually online.
The Upper Room now includes publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service. Below are just some of the resources and programs made available by The Upper Room ministry.
The Upper Room has several publications:
- The Upper Room’s daily Daily Devotional helps people feel invited and welcomed into God’s presence to listen to scripture as God’s personal message, linking their stories to God’s story; commune with God in prayer; see their daily choices and small acts of obedience as part of God’s work; realize their connection through Christ as a universal family of believers; and encounter the living Christ and be transformed into Christ’s likeness. Check it out at www.devotional.upperroom.org.
- El Aposento Alto is a daily devotional for Spanish-speaking individuals. Find it at www.elaposentoalto.upperroom.org/es.
- devozine is a lifestyle magazine written by young people and designed for youth. Its purpose is to help young people, ages 14-19, develop a lifelong practice of spending time with God and reflecting on what God is doing in their lives. Find it at www.devozine.upperroom.org.
- Pockets is a devotional magazine for children ages 6-12. It is designed for the personal use of children to help them grow in their relationship with God. Check it out at www.pockets.upperroom.org.
- The Upper Room’s Voices blog offers current news, stories, and insights from the publications and ministries of The Upper Room. Check it out at www.voices.upperroom.org.
- The Upper Room offers six programs:
- The Walk to Emmaus, which empowers Christian leaders.
- Chrysalis, which builds up young people.
- Face to Face, which is an adaptation of The Walk to Emmaus for men and women ages 60 and older.
- Academy for Spiritual Formation, which combines academic learning with experience in spiritual disciplines and community.
- Living Prayer Center, which is an intercessory prayer phone line and online prayer wall for those in need of prayer. It’s staffed by about 600 Christian volunteer and receives about 800 prayer requests a day.
- Journey to the Table, which is a spiritual formation ministry specifically designed for young adults, ages 18-35, that allows participants to explore faith through authentic teaching and fosters open discussion through which participants can build relationships with a community of peers.
Most recently, the Upper Room has worked with the Council of Bishops and created a United Methodist Prayer Community in support of the “Praying our Way Forward” initiative, in which every Annual and Central Conference has committed to a week of prayer. Visit the website umcprays.org to learn when the UNY will pray together, to submit posts to a prayer wall, and more.