Who Can Stand Before His Cold – Psalm 147:12-20

Psalm 147:12-20

12  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
          Praise your God, O Zion!
13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
          he blesses your children within you.
14  He grants peace within your borders;
          he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15  He sends out his command to the earth;
          his word runs swiftly.
16  He gives snow like wool;
          he scatters frost like ashes.
17  He hurls down hail like crumbs —
          who can stand before his cold?
18  He sends out his word, and melts them;
          he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19  He declares his word to Jacob,
          his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20  He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
          they do not know his ordinances.
     Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to a part of you that desires to praise God.
  • Be melted by God’s love.
  • Praise God!
  • Let your attention shift to a part of creation that you see praising God.
  • Be melted by God’s peace.
  • Praise God with creation!
  • Let your attention shift to a part of your community that desires to praise God.
  • Be melted by God’s hope for us.
  • Praise God with your community.
  • What is God’s message 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, January 5, 2020, the Second Sunday after Christmas (Year A)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
John 1:(1-9) 10-18

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.

Life Shall Become Like a Watered Garden – Jeremiah 31:7-14

Jeremiah 31:7-14

7   For thus says the LORD:
     Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
          and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
     proclaim, give praise, and say,
          “Save, O LORD, your people,
          the remnant of Israel.”
8   See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
          and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
     among them the blind and the lame,
          those with child and those in labor, together;
          a great company, they shall return here.
9   With weeping they shall come,
          and with consolations I will lead them back,
     I will let them walk by brooks of water,
          in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
     for I have become a father to Israel,
          and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10  Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
          and declare it in the coastlands far away;
     say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
          and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.”
11  For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
          and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12  They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
          and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
     over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
          and over the young of the flock and the herd;
     their life shall become like a watered garden,
          and they shall never languish again.
13  Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
          and the young men and the old shall be merry.
     I will turn their mourning into joy,
          I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14  I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
          and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
                                                                           says the LORD.

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to the part of you that has been exiled and feels far away.
  • God is looking for you.
  • Where does God find you?
  • Hear God’s promise that God will find those from the farthest parts of the earth.
  • Hear God’s promise that you shall be like a watered garden, flourishing.
  • What obstacle is keeping you from accepting God’s embrace and promise?
  • With love and tenderness, listen to this obstacle.
  • How can God help you with your desired freedom from this obstacle?
  • With anticipation, notice the water and nourishment God has for you.
  • What is God’s message 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, January 5, 2020, the Second Sunday after Christmas (Year A)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
John 1:(1-9) 10-18

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.

Refugees Flee to Egypt, then Nazareth – Matthew 2:13-23

Matthew 2:13-23

13Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

16When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18  “A voice was heard in Ramah,
          wailing and loud lamentation,
     Rachel weeping for her children;
          she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

19When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20“Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to a part of you that is fleeing from danger.
  • Let the Suffering One, Jesus Christ, embrace you as you tell your story of suffering.
  • Hear Jesus remind you of the suffering of the innocents.
  • Invite Jesus to show you how to hold suffering and joy at the same time.
  • Seek places of light that point you to blessing and healing.
  • What is God’s message 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, December 29, 2019, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year A)

Isaiah 63:7-9
Psalm 148
Hebrews 2:10-18
Matthew 2:13-23

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.

He Himself Was Tested by What He Suffered – Hebrews 2:10-18

Hebrews 2:10-18

10It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12saying,
     “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
          in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
13And again,
     “I will put my trust in him.”
And again,
     “Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”

14Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to a part of your faith that is being tested.
  • Invite Jesus to sit next to you and listen to your story.
  • See his eyes of love that greet you, the warmth of his embrace that enfolds you, and the tender mercy that encourages you to wrestle with this part of your journey.
  • Jesus remembers both the light and dark in the journey.
  • What questions do you have for Jesus?
  • What part of his journey is important to remember today?
  • What is God’s message 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, December 29, 2019, the First Sunday after Christmas (Year A)

Isaiah 63:7-9
Psalm 148
Hebrews 2:10-18
Matthew 2:13-23

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.