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Archives: Spiritual Practices

‘Lord, Teach Us to Pray’ series: Using set-aside space helps focus on prayer

Hear more about sacred spaces and how our senses can be an aid to prayer, drawing us near to God. Read More

...and the disciples asked, ‘Teach us to Pray’

The Rev. Tom Albin, dean of The Upper Room Ministries and ecumenical relations, and the Rev. Kathy Noble, editor of Interpreter, exchanged some basic questions and answers as we ask... Read More

Moving Prayers: Teach Us To Pray

After living in Malawi for two years, Kara Oliver returned home to Nashville, Tenn., and began to incorporate some of the passion and movement she saw in the prayers of... Read More

Practices of the ancients aid modern prayers

A resurgence of ancient prayer practices has United Methodists and others across the United States experiencing traditional spiritual exercises in new ways. Read More

The elements of Holy Communion are laid out against the Mexico side of the border fence between Tijuana and San Diego during a cross-border service at El Faro park in Tijuana, Mexico.

Means of Grace: Fasting and Holy Communion

The means of grace identified by John Wesley continue to play an important role in the daily life of United Methodists seeking to grow nearer to God and neighbor. Read More

Means of Grace: Offering mercy, receiving grace

John Wesley preached works of mercy as one of the means of grace — ways in which people served and those serving experience the grace of God. Read More

Means of Grace: Christian conferencing

As people of God, United Methodists are called to participate in Christian conference — one of John Wesley's means of grace. Read More

Artist's drawing shows sinners seeking repentance at an early Methodist camp meeting. Image in the public domain.

Methodist History: The Mourner’s Bench

Historians say a piece of plain, rustic furniture in early Methodist churches was actually a sacred place of transformation. View

Bishop Elaine Stanovsky gives ashes to a visitor to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site as part of an act of repentance. File photo by Ginny Underwood.

10 ideas for a more meaningful Ash Wednesday

With a little creativity, you can find ways to observe this holy day that begins Lent in the midst of your ordinary weekday routines. Read More

The Holy Women at the Sepulchre by Peter Paul Rubens currently hangs in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Women’s edition of Bible offers new light

An eighty-member, all-female team, including United Methodists, provided editing, commentary on new edition that emphasizes women and social issues in Scripture. Read More

Get your spirit in shape with UMC.org podcasts! Artwork courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape podcast

United Methodist podcast offers tools, tips and thoughts to help us live our faith more fully. Listen to individual episodes or subscribe. More

A Christmas song teaches that peace comes when we live for Jesus. Image by Kathryn Price, United Methodist Communications.

“Peace upon earth be restored!” A Christmas hymn devotion

A lesser-known Charles Wesley song teaches us the peace we desire in a world of division is experienced only when we allow Christmas to happen within us. Read More

Mike McHargue is the author of ‘Finding God in the Waves,’ and host of podcasts, ‘Ask Science Mike’ and ‘The Liturgists Podcast.’ Photos courtesy of Mike McHargue.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: How Science Led from Atheism to Faith

“There’s always more to learn about God.” Author and podcaster Mike McHargue shares his journey from belief to atheism, then back to a question-welcoming faith. Listen

Author and professor Paul Chilcote has written a devotional using the Advent and Christmas hymns of Charles Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Singing our Faith at Christmas

We celebrate Christmas with singing. In this podcast episode, we look at Wesley’s hymns for the season with United Methodist scholar Paul Chilcote. Listen

The Rev. Ken Sloane invites us to see generosity as an opportunity for joy. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Generosity is Good for the Soul

In this podcast episode, we talk about generosity as a way to experience joy through blessing another and connecting with God. Listen

Many wear a sticker to indicate they have voted. Voting is a way Christians can give a voice to their beliefs in government. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Prayer for After Election Day

Now that the ballots in the U.S. presidential election have been counted, here's a prayer from the United Methodist Book of Worship to reflect upon and pray. Read More

Youth of Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles serve a meal during their annual

Easy ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving

Find creative ideas to make this season of thanks more about giving than receiving. Read More

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs by Fra Angelico (15th Century), National Gallery, London. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

All Saints Day: A holy day John Wesley loved

The day after Halloween was a time encouraged by Wesley for Methodists to remember and give thanks for saints gone to glory and those still living. Read More

Shirley Bachelder, 95, shares in an episode of our podcast how she stays in constant communication with God. Photo by Fran Walsh, United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Life lessons from a 95-year-old United Methodist

Shirley Bachelder shares thoughts about faith, friendship, prayer, gratitude, and love. Her wisdom will encourage and inspire you. Listen

The window at Lincoln College in Oxford features a depiction of the story of Jonah (2nd from the right) that influenced John Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Discovering God’s will: John Wesley’s difficult decision

John Wesley set sail for America on October 21, 1735, after a discernment process that included a Bible story and a stained glass window. Read More

Children's Sabbath includes times of celebrating children and reaching out to meet their needs. File photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Why United Methodists observe Children’s Sabbath

Churches mark the Children's Sabbath as a time to renew our commitment to care, protect, and advocate for all children. Read More

World Communion Sunday is celebrated by United Methodists and others all across the globe. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

World Communion Sunday: A celebration of unity and service

This weekend United Methodists in churches around the world will take part in a special Sunday. Here's what you need to know to be ready. More

A statue of John Wesley greets visitors to The New Room in Bristol, England. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

The method of Methodism expands: Societies and the New Room

Series continues a look at what happened after the Wesleys left Oxford. See how the small group model shaped the Methodist movement. Part 2 of 3. Read More

Sheila Bates joined us in our studio to record an episode of Get Your Spirit in Shape. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: College, Church and Faith

In this podcast episode, the Rev. Sheila Bates shares ideas to help students connect to a faith community in college. Listen

Children who are part of a Covenant Discipleship group find support that can last a lifetime. Photo courtesy of Melanie Gordon, Discipleship Ministries.

The method of United Methodism today: Covenant Discipleship

Series continues a look at how the small group model continues to shape United Methodism today. Part 3 of 3. Read More

As a fellow at Lincoln College, John Wesley would have had an office similar to this one dedicated to him. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

The method of early Methodism: The Oxford Holy Club

Beginning of a series about how disciple-making groups that form church leaders have been part of our Methodist heritage from the very start. Part 1 of 3. Read More

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Everyday Disciples

In this podcast episode, leaders at Discipleship Ministries discuss how sharing our faith in groups helps us grow as followers of Jesus. Listen

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Changing Pastors? It’s Going to be Okay

In this podcast, United Methodist pastor and author the Rev. Robert Kaylor offers tips on how you can help when your church gets a new pastor. Listen

The Rev. Tonya Elmore, pastor at Enterprise First United Methodist Church, takes communion from the Rev. Virginia Kagoro, pastor at Locust Bluff United Methodist Church. Holy Communion was part of the Service of Remembrance at the 2015 Alabama-West Florida Conference on June 1, where 33 clergy and clergy spouses were memorialized. Photo by Luke Lucas, Alabama-West Florida Conference

An open table: How United Methodists understand communion

The sacrament is such a common part of our worship that its uncommon richness can get lost. Learn more about The Lord's Supper. Read More

Get Your Spirit in Shape: We Believe in Prayer

Several bishops share about their prayer initiatives at General Conference, and how prayer enriches our lives every day. Listen

During the breaks at General Conference 2016, United Methodist bishops like Bishop Minerva Carcaño (center) pray with delegates. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

We believe in prayer: Bishops emphasize prayer at General Conference

As spiritual leaders of the church, United Methodist bishops lead several prayer ministries before and during General Conference. Read More

Hannah Foust has raised enough money to build 3 wells in West Africa, and has inspired others to build 13 more. #UMCGC Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Get Your Spirit in Shape: Called to Serve

Hannah Foust has raised enough money to build 3 wells in West Africa, and has inspired others to build 13 more. And Hannah is just 14 years old. Listen

Hands in dialogue: sharing and listening. Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

What Christian conferencing is and isn't

The practice encourages listening and learning from one another, with a focus on mutual understanding. There are no winners or losers. Read More

Intercessory prayer brings people of all ages together. Photo courtesy of Bob Dickson and his daughter Rachel, Madison (Ga.)First United Methodist Church.

“All is prayer”: How words and actions serve God and others

United Methodist ministries prove that intercessory prayer makes a difference for others and in our own spiritual journeys. Read More

Tips for using social media for spiritual growth

In this podcast episode, the Rev. R. Scott Miller shares how we can use social media to grow spiritually and share our faith journeys. Listen

These Protestant prayer beads were made by United Methodist artisan and author Kristen Vincent. Photo courtesy of Kristen Vincent, Prayerworks Studio.

Prayer Beads for United Methodists

United Methodist artist says anyone can find focus and improve their prayer life with beads. View

Raphaël Aboua (right) helps serve Holy Communion at Ebenezer Beago United Methodist Church in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by Isaac Broune, United Methodist News Service.

Sacraments, Rites and Rituals

Explore how United Methodists understand baptism, communion, rites and rituals other Christian churches view as sacraments. More

At ordination, United Methodist clergy are prayed over, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and authorized by the church for their life and work. Photo by Emily Green, Indiana Conference.

Spirit empowered, church authorized: United Methodist ordination

What does The United Methodist Church teach about ordination? Learn more about the steps and blessings to become a deacon or elder. Read More

Episcopalians and United Methodists share Communion at the U.S. National Cathedral. Photo Melissa Lauber, courtesy the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

United Methodist sacraments, rites and rituals

Some churches recognize 7 sacraments; United Methodists only 2. This series of articles explores each of these important acts in the life of a Christian. More

On Easter Sunday, many United Methodist congregations gather at sunrise to celebrate the resurrection. Photo by Joe Iovino, United Methodist Communications.

Easter sunrise services: A celebration of resurrection

Many United Methodists attend special outdoor worship services early on Easter morning. These celebrations date back to the 1700s, and maybe earlier. Read More