Christian AA Days, the Upper Room, and Other Devotionals


The upper room was daily devoted to the widespread use of early Anonymous alcoholics. It was a quarterly and methodical publication. Its first issue dates back to 1935 just before the founding of AA. And how did it become part of the morning quiet weather and other daily traditions so common in the early Christian fellowship of AA, founded in Akron, Ohio in June 1935?

First, Dr. Bob co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous was exposed in his days as a youth in Vermont on the leisure time of Christian Endevor's society. Bob was very active in the Christian Endeavers Society in the Northern Congregational Church, St Johnsbury, Vermont, where he and his parents, grandmother and foster sister were regular visitors. The quiet hour had many defenders in the 1880s. Among the supporters was YMCA, which often called her "Morning Clock". Also the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, the evangelist FB Meyer and the leaders of Christian Endevor as Amos Wells and Dr. Francis Clark. And the essence of the practice was: (1) Reading the Scriptures. (2) Prayer. (3) Demand for God's guidance. (4) Study of the traditions and its verse and other matter for that day.

Second, many years later, both Bill W. and Dr. Bob were exposed to a bum, as presented by Dr. Frank ND Buchmann, founder of the Oxford Group. It was called Quiet Time, and many books and brochures were written about what is a quiet time and how it should be practiced. Then reverend Sam Shoemaker, rector of the Episcopal Church in Golgotha, New York, also became a supporter of the practice and wrote about it in several of his books and articles.

Third, when AA was founded in 1935, Dr. Bob Ann Smith's wife began the morning Tich Times at Smith's home in Akron. They were attended by AA and their families. Again, the format was the same reading of the Scriptures, prayer, seeking guidance from God and using prayers. (See Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Anonymous Alcoholics). These practices include the regular sharing Anne Smith made from the personal diary she kept between 1933 and 1939. (See Dick B., Ann Smith, 1933-1939, 3rd edition).

Now that we know the books that Ann Smith recommends and what he said about the quiet time, we see that there is more than one prayer in use. We also know from the excavation of the books in Dr. Bob's library exactly what these devotees are. (See Dick B., Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd Edition, and The Books they Read About Spiritual Growth, 7th Ed.). (See Dick B., Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous, 2nd Ed.)

And here are the basic prayers that were used at the beginning of the Acronic Alcoholics Anonymous: The Begacha Bible; The upper room; My greatest for His highest; Victorious life; Daily strength for everyday needs; and the meaning of prayer. The upper room appeared on the scene almost accidentally. "Mother G." will bring several copies to Dr. Bob's Home. And although books have not always been met with excitement (according to Dr. Bob's daughter); "Mother G." is a relative of Dr. Bob's daughter. The small quarter was very small, there was a call to the not-so-frequent readers and fit well in their back pockets. Here it is not only used with the other devotees; is often mentioned in AA's DR. Bob and Good Old Times. There seemed to be no special favorites. Dr. Bob often studied and circulated the Begacha Bible. "Mother G." spread the upper room. Henrieta Seiberling speaks of My greatest for His highest. In fact, victorious life is mentioned in one of the stories in the first edition of AA's great book. Frank Amos's report on ACRONAAA's original scholarly scholarship simply states that the necessary time for observation and reading is part of the scene. And AA's personal literature from the General Conference of the Common Services indicated that quiet time is "mandatory".

For a study devoted to this particular aspect of the early religious rites of AA, see Dick B., Good Morning !: Quiet Time, Morning Clock, Meditation, and Early AA