Hebrews 11:29-12:2 – By Faith We Persevere

The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Hebrews 11:29-12:2

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented-38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes focusing on the Breath.
  • There are a lot of races set in the world today:  racism, immigration, gun violence, mental health, truth and integrity.  Which one (or name your own) wants your loving attention today?
  • Name the shame surrounding the race.
  • Honor the shame and listen to what it has to say.
  • Embrace and befriend the shame.
  • Set aside any fear.
  • Seek awe and wonder in the race.
  • Focus your energy on the way God is inviting you to run this race with joy.  
  • What is one step toward God you can take today?
  • 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 18, 2019, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Luke 12:49-56

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.

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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.