Advent: Joy in the Midst of Sorrow: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

16Rejoice always, 

17pray without ceasing, 

18give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

19Do not quench the Spirit. 

20Do not despise the words of prophets, 

21but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 

22abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely;

and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Be present to any sorrow in you today.
  • How does the sorrow need your attention.
  • Invite God to be with you and hold you as you tend to sorrow in you.
  • Ask God to bless sorrow.
  • Invite the Breath to accompany you.
  • Breathe in the goodness of God in Christ Jesus.
  • Breathe out anything that is keeping you from joy today.
  • Breathe in hope and peace.
  • Breathe out doubt and fear.
  • Continue this pattern until you feel the freedom of joy within you as much as you can.
  • Rest in this place of joy.
  • Be with God in this place of joy.
  • Allow your body to remember this place of joy so you may come back to this place when you need to experience joy.
  • What new peace does God have to offer 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 13, 2020, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-1
Psalm 126:1-6
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Luke 1:46b-55

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.

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