When people ask me about The Upper Room, the aspect of the magazine that I am most eager to share is that the majority of meditations we publish are written by our readers. We take pride in the fact that we print the faith stories of ordinary people from a variety of walks of life around the world — people just like you.
If you are a regular reader of the magazine, you know that I have shared several of my own stories over the past few years, and now I want to offer you an invitation to submit a story from your own faith journey for consideration. Many of you already have, and for that I thank you. For those of you who might be hesitant — perhaps thinking that you have nothing to say or lacking confidence in your writing ability — let me reassure you. We believe that every person’s story is important, valuable, and can encourage others on their faith journey.; Here are some tips to help you get started.
Each meditation that we publish has three main elements: a personal story, a connection to scripture, and an application for the reader (or what we here at The Upper Room often call “the takeaway”).
The story you share may be about a profound or dramatic event, but it can also be about something small — a minor occurrence in your life that over time has shaped your faith and your relationship with God. Your story could be about some new insight you gleaned while taking a walk with a friend, a memorable encounter with someone at the grocery store, or a new prayer practice that you have recently started. Any of these ordinary events has the potential to be the beginning of a great meditation.
Once you have your personal story on paper, you will want to connect it to scripture. Here are some of the questions that you might answer in your writing: Whom or what from the Bible do I connect with this experience? Why this person or story in particular? How has scripture helped me understand my experience?
After you have your personal story and connection to scripture, it is then time to make sure your meditation has something of value to offer the reader. In one sense, this is the most important part. It is also the element that is most often missing from the submissions that we receive and one of the main reasons that we decline to publish many meditations. In the application element, you help the reader know what you want him or her to do after reading your meditation. What do you want others to come away with after reading your story? How do you want it to help them? What effect do you hope your story will have on others’ relationship with God?
Meditations are between 250 and 300 words in length. We accept meditations in the following ways:
through our online submission form: submissions.upperroom.org/en/meditations/new,
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and
through postal mail: Editorial Office, The Upper Room Magazine, P.O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203.
For more information, see devotional.upperroom.org/guidelines.
Each day The Upper Room editorial staff is fortunate enough to read meditations from many people around the world — people who want to share their stories of faith and trust, their challenges, and their questions. While we cannot publish everything that we receive, we are grateful to all those who are willing to send us their writing for consideration. Even if your piece is not selected for publication, please know that we read everything you send to us and that we are grateful to you for your willingness to share your story.
From all of us here at The Upper Room, thank you, and we look forward to reading your work.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”