Blessed Are You When People Revile You and Persecute You – Matthew 5:1-12

Matthew 5:1-12

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  • 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 inhale, breathe in life
  • As you exhale, let go of things that suck the life out of you.
  • Continue this practice until you are at peace, feeling freedom.
  • Jesus reminds us that the Beatitudes are our guide to right living.
  • Turning away from the Beatitudes is false living.
  • We must look for God-centered moments in our lives.
  • It is a God-centered moment because God gives you new life.
  • Do a quick check-in with yourself and notice where a woe is keeping you from authentic life with Christ.
  • Name this woe and invite Christ into the woe.
  • Is there a Beatitude into which Christ invites you?
  • Dialogue with Christ to seek and embrace the new life Christ has for you.
  • How do you desire to seek freedom from the woe to be giving new life in Christ?
  • Name the new life Christ wants to give you.
  • Sit with new life and notice how this new life brings you Holy Love.
  • What is important about remembering this new life and Holy Love 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, February 2, 2020, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

God's Foolishness Is Wiser than Human Wisdom – 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
     “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
          and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale the wisdom of Christ.
  • Exhale the wisdom of the wise.
  • Inhale the wisdom of the Suffering One.
  • Exhale the wisdom of the wise.
  • Inhale the wisdom of the Compassionate One.
  • Exhale the wisdom of the wise.
  • Allow the wisdom of the Healing One arise within you.
  • Embrace the wisdom of the Healing One.
  • What is your message 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 2, 2020, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

Speak the Truth from the Heart: Psalm 15

Psalm 15

1   O LORD, who may abide in your tent?
          Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2   Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
          and speak the truth from their heart;
3   who do not slander with their tongue,
          and do no evil to their friends,
          nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4   in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
          but who honor those who fear the LORD;
     who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5   who do not lend money at interest,
          and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
     Those who do these things shall never be moved.

  • 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.
  • Let your attention shift to your heart.
  • Listen to your heart.
  • Part of your heart is strong and healthy and speaks truth.
  • Embrace the love, joy, and peace that accompanies the truth in your heart.
  • Let your heart speak.
  • Part of your heart is broken and hurting. This part of your heart is searching for the truth that has been hidden by pain and false accusations.
  • Sit with this part of your heart and be gentle as you listen for words of truth to emerge.
  • Listen to your heart.
  • Speak the truth.
  • Embrace the healing, love, joy, and peace God has for you as you are freed from the pain.
  • 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, February 2, 2020, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

Plead Your Case Before the Mountains: Micah 6:1-8

Micah 6:1-8

1   Hear what the LORD says:
          Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
          and let the hills hear your voice.
2   Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD,
          and you enduring foundations of the earth;
     for the LORD has a controversy with his people,
          and he will contend with Israel.

3   “O my people, what have I done to you?
          In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4   For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
          and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
     and I sent before you Moses,
          Aaron, and Miriam.
5   O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
          what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
     and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
          that you may know the saving acts of the LORD.”

6  “With what shall I come before the LORD,
          and bow myself before God on high?
     Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
          with calves a year old?
7   Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
          with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
     Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
          the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8   He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
          and what does the LORD require of you
     but to do justice, and to love kindness,
          and to walk humbly with your 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.
  • What need to please God do carry with you today that needs to be set aside as you sit with God?
  • Name this and set it aside. If there is more than one, repeat this exercise.
  • What justice are you doing?
  • What kindness are you loving?
  • What humble path are you walking with God?
  • Is there an invitation to something new 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, February 2, 2020, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.