Baptism of the Lord: Perseverance Through Doubt – Matthew 3:13-17

John the Baptist by Jesus Mafa

Matthew 3:13-17

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

  • 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.
  • Imagine Jesus coming to you, asking you for the very thing he needs for you to do. God created you for this.  Imagine what this may be.
  • What words of doubt do you hear?
  • Hear Jesus say these words to you, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to meet the desire of the one who created you and calls you Beloved.”
  • Allow these words of Jesus to douse the flames of doubt in you.
  • Notice the courage that arises in the billows of smoke that dance from the doused flames.
  • Letting go of doubt and fear, hear the voice of God, “This is my child, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”
  • 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 12, 2020, the Baptism of the Lord (Year A)

Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17

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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