Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 – Desiring a Better Country

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old-and Sarah herself was barren-because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

13All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes focusing on the Breath.
  • Bring your attention to God’s faithfulness.
  • Remember a time God’s faithfulness carried you through your doubt.
  • Embrace words and feelings that arise.
  • Name the grace you received.
  • Rest in the peace that accompanied it.  You are home with God.
  • Now bring your attention to the part of you that is doubting and wants your attention today.
  • Sit with this doubt as you sit at home with God.  Let this doubt in you speak and embrace the words and feelings that come as a guide from beyond. 
  • Be a friend to the doubt and listen to the lesson it has to teach you about yourself.
  • Continue to seek the homeland and the message of strength God has for you.
  • What is the truth God desires for you to embrace?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Reply as you feel led in the box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 11, 2019, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 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 certification, 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.

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