Tag Archives: Prayer

Smart Speakers Now Offering Episcopal Prayers

Both Alexa and Google Assistant have learned some Episcopal prayers. Thanks to a partnership between TryTank Experimental Lab and Forward Movement, you can now say, “Alexa, open Episcopal Prayer” or “Google, talk to Episcopal Prayer” and your device will begin playing the morning or evening prayer podcasts of Forward Movement.

“Whether people are at home or on the go, these options for moving through the daily office will be both useful and inspiring,” said the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement. “As a bit of a geek, I’m excited about this marriage of technology and Anglican tradition to equip disciples for daily prayer.”

Depending on the time of day, Alexa or Google Assistant will play either the morning prayer or evening prayer podcasts, which include the full liturgy of the daily office along with the assigned psalms and readings for the day.

“We are eager to see how this initiative catches on, so that we can learn more about how to bring spiritual practices and technology together,” said the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija, director of TryTank. “Our early tests show that it quickly became a regular part of people’s daily routine.”

The podcasts themselves are the brainchild of the Rev. Canon Wiley Ammons, rector of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, Florida, who co-hosts the episodes with the Rev. Lisa Meirow, curate at All Saints Episcopal Church, also in Jacksonville. A Morning at the Office and An Evening at Prayer are available on all major podcast platforms.

 

Forward Movement’s work of discipleship has used contemporary methods since its founding. “In the 1930s, pamphlets were an excellent use of technology to reach people, and now we use all the latest digital platforms and technologies. Reaching the smart home device market is another frontier to explore,” Gunn said.

TryTank Experimental Laboratory for Church Growth and Innovation is a joint project between Virginia Theological Seminary and the General Theological Seminary. TryTank offers inventive approaches to the challenges facing the Episcopal Church. Visit www.trytank.org to learn more.

Forward Movement is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. With offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Forward Movement has been serving the Episcopal Church since 1935 by producing resources such as Forward Day by Day, books, apps, pamphlets, conferences, podcasts, and courses. Visit www.forwardmovement.org to learn more.

Forward Today: Sustained by prayer

Dear friends in Christ,

As I write to you in what feels like the tenth year of being stuck at home, I suspect you are experiencing much of the same swirl of emotions that I feel. Sometimes I am enjoying this time at home, especially since I usually spend so much time traveling. Sometimes I am bored. Sometimes I long for a return to normalcy, even as I know that “normal” will probably be different now. And sometimes I grieve the things I cannot do because of the coronavirus crisis.

I have good days and bad days, and maybe you do, too. Several things keep me going, and one of them is regular prayer.

If you have an abundant prayer life, wonderful. Maybe you wish you had a deeper life of prayer. Or maybe you have been in the habit of daily prayer in the past, but it just hasn’t seemed to work these days. We all wax and wane on our journey as disciples. There’s no shame in admitting we’ve wandered into the desert and we need to find our way to the oasis.

Someone years ago gave me good advice on prayer. Don’t wait to feel like praying. Start praying, and the feeling will come along later. We might imagine that next week we’ll feel holier or have more time. But the reality is that today is the day we can change. So let’s change today. It’s never too late or too soon to start praying.

Forward Movement has lots of resources to help you along the way. We have morning prayer and evening prayer podcasts. We have an app for Android or Apple that offers Forward Day by Day and the daily office. We have a whole website devoted to daily prayer resources. And of course, there’s our flagship offering, Forward Day by Day.

If you’re used to getting Forward Day by Day at your church, maybe they’ll be getting you your own copy at home. You can also subscribe and receive Forward Day by Day in your own mailbox or by email. If you end up with an extra, you can always give it to a friend.

And, of course, we don’t need anything to pray, really. We can just talk to God. If you talk to God regularly, I hope you’ll share your joy in prayer with others. And if you don’t, give it a try. God is always ready to hear our prayers, even when we’re not so sure we’re ready to offer them.

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

 

 

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Introducing Matthew
With Vicki Garvey

For six weeks this Easter, meet with other students from around the world for a free, live, online class on the Gospel of Matthew with Vicki Garvey, a respected teacher and author and former Canon for Lifelong Education at the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

In this class, Vicki will teach us about the author, origin, setting, and message of the Gospel of Matthew. Classes will meet live on Thursday nights via zoom from April 23-May 28, 2020, and they will last an hour.

This class is ideal for people participating in the Good Book Club 2020, and for anyone interested in learning more about the Gospel of Matthew.


Tune in!

Listen to today’s Forward Day by Day reflection on the Forward Day by Day podcast. Find morning prayer on the Morning at the Office podcast and end your day with the Evening at Prayer podcast. Available anywhere you listen!


New Release:
Come & See: Reflections on the Life of Jesus

Each day since 1935, Forward Day by Day has offered daily devotions rooted in the Word of God and love of Jesus. Now, for the first time, some of the best meditations from the past three decades are collected into one volume and arranged chronologically, from Jesus’ birth to resurrection. Although the devotions were written in different contexts by a variety of authors, this collection offers a rich tapestry of reflections, some poignant, others pointed, but all committed to a way of love.

Come & See is curated by Sanford Smith, a pastor from Omaha, Nebraska, who began reading and collecting his favorite Forward Day by Day meditations in 1985. Today, at age ninety-five, he still volunteers four days a week as a hospital chaplain but every morning, he puts first things first and opens Forward Day by Day to read and pray.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the printing of this title has been delayed until late summer. Pre-order your print copy today, but also know that we’ve made the e-book version available early. You can find it on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and at the iTunes store.


In case you missed it…

New ChurchNext course: A Covid-19 Spiritual Survival Kit | ChurchNext

Held by Baptism: Life Everlasting in the Midst of a Pandemic | Earth & Altar

Keeping our Community: spiritual connection and physical distance | Grow Christians

Virtual Evangelism | Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices

Free Shipping on orders of $50 throughout April | Forward Movement


 

Forward Today: Making time for prayer

Dear friends in Christ,

This gets to be a busy time of year for lots of people, especially for those who have kids at home. School has started, along with all its activities. And these days, there are extra sports and lessons and so forth for many families. It’s hard to fit it all in to 24 hours and seven days.

Of course, it’s not just families with kids. We live and work in a world that expects us to be “on” all the time. Emails must be answered. Mobile phones are standard equipment. Retirees I know sometimes tell me they’re busier after retirement than before!

Everything pushes us to stay busy all the time. And that’s too bad. Because I think that staying busy is antithetical to our call as disciples of Jesus Christ. It’s not how we’re meant to live.

People love to point out how Jesus said the sabbath was made for us, not us for the sabbath. But do you notice something? Jesus keeps the sabbath! Jesus goes to gardens and quiet places to pray. Jesus rested, just as God the Father commanded him to do. Yes, when God issued us the Ten Commandments, one of the most important things we are to do is keep a day for rest and to honor God.

It’s not going to just happen. Rest has to be scheduled. If you want to develop a prayer life, put it on your calendar. If you want to spend time with scripture, schedule some Bible reading. Jesus famously said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I like to imagine he would also say, “Where your calendar is, there your heart will be also.”

I encourage you to set aside time for rest, time for prayer. It will probably mean saying no to a few things, and that’s OK. If you have kids at your house, the Grow Christians blog has lots of tips for ways to engage in intergenerational conversation, prayer, and learning.

As you receive this, I’m starting a vacation. Practicing what I preach, I’m looking forward to some rest. With any luck, I’ll even get bored. And that kind of rest and refreshment is essential for my journey as a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s not always easy to make this happen, but it’s always worth the effort, I’ve learned. How will you rest? When will you pray?

Yours faithfully,

Scott Gunn
Executive Director

Image: Daughters of Melody Wilson Shobe color an Advent calendar.


Today’s Flash Sale: Living Reconciliation

In a world often defined by differences, Christians are called to be reconciled reconcilers. Inspired by the indaba process of deep listening and seeking common ground, this book shares stories of profound reconciliation from around the Anglican Communion. Written by staff of the Anglican Communion Office and with a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Living Reconciliation explores how reconciliation is at the heart of mission and a guiding principle of scripture.

Regular: $12
Today: $9

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time

Forward Today: A Morning Resolve

Dear friends in Christ,

As I scrolled through Facebook on New Year’s Day, A Morning Resolve appeared in my feed. In my quiet house where everyone else was sleeping, I read the prayer to myself as if I’d never read it before. I will try this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking… It’s easy to see why so many people start their day with this beautiful prayer. Imagine what our world would be like if we all sought to achieve the intentions set in just one or two phrases of this prayer, let alone the whole thing.

The part that stuck with me most was the second sentence: In particular I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right. After re-reading it a few times, I thought about the practices of the Way of Love that Bishop Curry calls us to follow each day: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. No matter how many days I have where I feel I’ve worked hard to follow the practices, it’s easy to feel as though I’m falling short. I forgot to say grace before breakfast. Our family Bible study didn’t happen. My day off didn’t include the kind of restorative rest God intended.

A Morning Resolve Prayer

Thankfully, the prayer isn’t over yet. And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. The hope of this promise that God, Son, and Spirit embody my being allows me to believe each day in the hope of success. My prayer for us is that the God we worship and praise, the Son with whom we walk, and the Spirit that lifts our bodies, minds, and hearts into action abides with us as we enter into this New Year.

Perhaps you will commit to reading more scripture each day. Maybe you need to focus on making prayer a more consistent discipline. Taking a true sabbath day might be an accomplishment God calls you to achieve. Whatever your intentions for this year, please know that we at Forward Movement believe in you and pray for your success.

Let’s resolve each day to make God’s dreams for us come true.

Peace,
Miriam McKenney
Development Director, Forward Movement


Today’s Flash Sale: Faith with a Twist

Faith with a TwistFaith with a Twist seeks to bridge the gap between spiritual-but-not-religious by blending the ancient church’s wisdom and the spiritual practice of yoga. All too often attempts to blend yoga and Christianity have failed to do justice to both traditions—often sacrificing the wisdom of one tradition for the other. Faith with a Twist connects the traditional eight limbs of yoga with the church’s understanding and emphasis on living a holy life. This approach creates a unique blend of spiritual practices and religious wisdom that are perfect for the yoga novice and the experienced practitioner alike.

Regular: $16
Today: $12

*Discount is valid until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time