Rooted and Grounded in Love: Ephesians 3:14-21

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Ephesians 3:14-21

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, allow your breath to reach all parts of your body, from head to toe, from finger to finger.
  • Sit in a chair and get comfortable, let your feet engage the floor.  Feel your feet connect with the floor.
  • Imagine roots growing from your feet into the ground.
  • Allow the roots to hold you there, to ground you, to sustain you.
  • As you begin to feel nourishment from the roots, allow the roots to grow, giving you more stability.
  • Begin to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love.
  • Love that enfolds you from above, nourishes you from below.
  • Consider the work that Christ has accomplished in you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • How has this work grown you?
  • What is God growing today?
  • What is God’s invitation for you today?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 25, 2021, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

Fools Say There Is No God: Psalm 14

Psalm 14

1Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
2The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
3They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
4Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the LORD?
5There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
6You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the LORD is their refuge.
7O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Imagine God is looking down upon humankind from heaven.
  • Who will God see is wise?
  • Lift your face to the Lord.
  • Seek God’s favor.
  • What do you need to let go so that you may be more available to God?
  • What wisdom arises in you?
  • What fear do you need to let go to be with the Lord?
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 25, 2021, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

Temptation: 2 Samuel 11:1-15

2 Samuel 11:1-15

1In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

2It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4So David sent messengers to fetch her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. 5The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

6So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. 8Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. 10When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his house”, David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?” 11Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.” 12Then David said to Uriah, “Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, 13David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

14In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Remember a time you gave in to temptation.
  • Recall your thoughts and feelings.
  • Did someone else know?  Did this intensify the thoughts and feelings?
  • Did you try to cover it up?  Were others hurt by your actions?
  • What might you have been doing instead?
  • Have these thoughts and feelings influenced you to make changes in your behavior?
  • What is tempting you today?
  • Do you have an advocate to help turn you away from this temptation?
  • Let Christ be your advocate through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Nothing can keep you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
  • Nothing can keep you from this gift of grace.
  • You are a beloved child of God.
  • Embrace this good news.  Face temptation with an advocate.
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 25, 2021, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 11:1-15
Psalm 14
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

All Who Touched It Were Healed: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

30The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • How do you recognize Jesus?
  • Who will you bring to touch the fringe of his cloak?
  • Imagine bringing them to Jesus.
  • What healing will occur?
  • Give thanks for the healing.
  • What healing do you need?
  • Imagine being brought to Jesus.
  • Reach out to touch the fringe of his cloak.
  • All who touch it are healed.
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 18, 2021, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

Christ Is the Cornerstone of Our Peace: Ephesians 2:11-22

Ephesians 2:11-22

11So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — 12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near;18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you breathe, name the ways you are a citizen of the household of God.
  • Consider how these ways are like the apostles and prophets.
  • Visualize Christ as the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to Christ the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to the apostles, the saints, the children of God, creation.
  • Describe the household of God.
  • Describe your place in the household.
  • Where in your body to you feel this peace Jesus comes to share?
  • Do you notice any tension in your body?
  • What does this tension represent?
  • What peace does Jesus have to give to you today?
  • Accept this peace, breathe into this place of tension, let go of anything keeping you from this peace.
  • What is God’s invitation for you today?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 18, 2021, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

The Moon Is an Enduring Witness in the Skies: Psalm 89:20-37

Psalm 89:20-37

20“I have found my servant David;

with my holy oil I have anointed him;

21my hand shall always remain with him;

my arm also shall strengthen him.

22The enemy shall not outwit him,

the wicked shall not humble him.

23I will crush his foes before him

and strike down those who hate him.

24My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;

and in my name his horn shall be exalted.

25I will set his hand on the sea

and his right hand on the rivers.

26He shall cry to me, “You are my Father,

my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”

27I will make him the firstborn,

the highest of the kings of the earth.

28Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,

and my covenant with him will stand firm.

29I will establish his line for ever,

and his throne as long as the heavens endure.

30If his children forsake my law

and do not walk according to my ordinances,

31if they violate my statutes

and do not keep my commandments,

32then I will punish their transgression with the rod

and their iniquity with scourges;

33but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,

or be false to my faithfulness.

34I will not violate my covenant,

or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

35Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;

I will not lie to David.

36His line shall continue for ever,

and his throne endure before me like the sun.

37It shall be established for ever like the moon,

an enduring witness in the skies.”

Selah

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Forever God will keep steadfast love for you.
  • As you follow the breath today, consider the Psalm you would write about God’s steadfast love for you.  (King David’s Psalm is set before you as an example.)
  • How is God strengthening you?
  • How is God tempering enemies?
  • How is God’s steadfast love raising you up?
  • Where is God setting your hand?
  • You cry out, “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!”
  • In Christ you are born again as a new creation.
  • God will forever keep steadfast love for you.
  • With which transgressions have you or your children forsaken God?
  • God will forever keep steadfast love for you.
  • Your identity in Christ endures like the sun and is a witness like the moon.
  • Rest in God’s peace.
  • Write down the words that come to you.
  • Allow these words to sing in your heart.
  • Forever God will keep steadfast love for you.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 18, 2021, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.