15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our 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 love.
- Exhale sin.
- Inhale love.
- Exhale fear.
- Inhale love.
- Exhale hate.
- Embrace your body as a holy temple.
- Embrace your body as a holy temple that holds both fear and love.
- What do you do that is the very thing you hate?
- Hold that hate in one hand.
- What love do you need from God?
- Hold that love in the other hand.
- How do you wish to invite God’s love to spread light to the hate?
- How does love ask you to let go of the hate?
- Lean into the desire to let go of the hate.
- See the love grow as the hate dies.
- 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, July 5, 2020, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
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.