Astounded at His Teaching: Mark 1:21-28

Mark 1:21-28

21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Remember a time when Jesus taught you with authority.
  • Remember the thought and feeling that overcame you.
  • Remember that thin space knowing you were in the presence of the Holy One.
  • Savor this thin space.
  • Notice where you desire Jesus to teach you something new, with authority, today.
  • Believe that you will encounter Jesus Christ today.  Be open to knowing the encounter.  Be aware in mind, body, and spirit.
  • Live today in this expectancy.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on the people and the places you encountered Jesus Christ.
  • Notice any similarities of differences to the thin space you encountered in this prayer.
  • Give thanks to God for thin places, for encounters, 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 31, 2021, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

Knowledge Puffs Up, Love Builds Up: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

1Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3but anyone who loves God is known by him.

4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as in fact there are many gods and many lords — 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.8“Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

  • 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 pay attention to your deep breath, notice which idol or idols are keeping you from Christ.
  • Remember you are in the presence of Christ.
  • Name the idol(s), repent, seek forgiveness, and hear the good news that Christ died for your sins.  You are forgiven.
  • Let go of the idol(s).  See Christ before you.  Breathe, and know you are forgiven.
  • Notice the freedom in your body.  Where do you feel lighter?
  • Take note of this lightening.
  • When you are faced with these idols again, seek Christ in this place of lightening.  Christ is always with you.
  • As you have time, notice an idol keeping the world from Christ.
  • Seek forgiveness for the world.
  • How are you called to spread the lightening in the world?
  • 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 31, 2021, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

The Works of Thy Hands Are Faithful and Just: Psalm 111:1-10

Psalm 111:1-10

1   Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2   Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3   Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4   He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5   He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6   He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7   The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8   They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9   He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What power of God’s works captures your attention in this Psalm?
  • How is this power present in your life?
  • How is this power present in the world?
  • What heritage is promised to you?
  • What heritage is promised to the world?
  • What redemption is sent for you?
  • What redemption is sent for the world?
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Allow this invitation to drench you.
  • Is there a call to loving action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be in God’s hands 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 31, 2021, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

I Will Raise Up a Prophet: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

15The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. 16This is what you requested of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the LORD my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” 17Then the LORD replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak — that prophet shall die.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on the inward voice.
  • Seek the truth of the Lord within you.
  • What word of Christ lives within you?
  • Savor this word of Christ.
  • What word of truth within you is Christ calling you to share?
  • Who will receive this word of truth?
  • What is Christ’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in seeking the Truth 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 31, 2021, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

Follow Me and Fish for People: Mark 1:14-20

Mark 1:14-20

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you begin to pay attention to your breath, allow the words “Follow me” to cover you.
  • Once you are completely covered with the words “Follow me”, breathe in the words “Follow me” allowing these words to fill you completely from the top of your head, to your fingertips to your toes.
  • As you continue to pay attention to the breath, how is God calling you to follow?
  • How will following God in this way help you fish for people?
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer, the breath, 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 24, 2021, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

This World Is Passing Away: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

1 CORINTHIANS 7:29-31

29I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

  • 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 read the text, consider what in your life has become more important than your relationship with God.
  • How has this affected your relationship with God?
  • What is binding you?
  • Offer this to God.
  • Invite God to free you from that which is binding 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 24, 2021, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.