1 Corinthians 9:16-23 – I do it all for the sake of the gospel.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-23

16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

19For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to you breath, notice what you have done for the sake of the gospel.
  • What gifts did God use in you?
  • How were you a vessel for God?
  • What did you let go so that you could accept this call?
  • What gift did God have for you?
  • Savor this gift.  Linger here to recognize the presence of God in this experience.
  • How is God calling you today for the sake of the gospel?
  • What gifts will God use in you?
  • How will you be a vessel for God?
  • What will you let go to answer this call?
  • What gift will God have 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, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 147 – Gathered and healed

PSALM 147:1-11, 20C

1   Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2   The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4   He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5   Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6   The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9   He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10  His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11  but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

20c  Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How does God’s grace gather you in?
  • Where did God find you to bring you home?
  • What wounds did God bind to lead you toward wholeness?
  • How does God show God’s delight with your hope?
  • What is God’s message for you today?
  • How does God gather us in?
  • Where did God find us to bring us home?
  • What wounds did God bind to lead us toward wholeness?
  • How does God show God’s delight with our hope?
  • What is God’s message for us today?
  • Praise the Lord!  Give thanks for this time to be gathered in and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Isaiah 40:21-31 – Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength

ISAIAH 40:21-31

21  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22  It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23  who brings princes to naught,
and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25  To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26  Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29  He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30  Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31  but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What word or words capture your attention in the text above?
  • Sit with these words and let them wash over you.
  • Read the text again.
  • What is God’s message for you in these words?
  • Savor these words and this message and let them become part of you.
  • Where do they settle?
  • Notice any freedom that comes with this message.
  • Where is God in the freedom?
  • Notice any tension that comes with this message.
  • Where is God in the tension?
  • Read the text one more time.
  • Is there a call to action from God?
  • 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, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Mark 1:21-28 A new teaching with authority

MARK 1:21-28

21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Remember a time when Jesus taught you with authority.
  • Remember the thought and feeling that overcame you.
  • Remember that thin space knowing you were in the presence of the Holy One.
  • Savor this thin space.
  • Believe that you will encounter Jesus Christ today.  Be open to knowing the encounter.  Be aware in mind, body, and spirit.
  • Live today in this expectancy.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on the people and the places you encountered Jesus Christ.
  • Notice any similarities of differences to the thin space you encountered in this prayer.
  • Give thanks to God for thin places, for encounters, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 28, 2018, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD