14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
- Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
- Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
- Focus on each phrase of the scripture as Jesus reads it to you today. Listen deeply for an invitation in each message:
- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [pause and listen]
- Because he has anointed me [pause and listen]
- To bring good news to the poor [pause and listen]
- He has sent me [pause and listen]
- To proclaim release to the captives [pause and listen]
- To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind [pause and listen]
- To let the oppressed go free [pause and listen]
- To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor [pause and listen]
- Which statement of good news captures your attention the most today?
- What is your invitation 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.
As we embrace a new beginning in the United States of America today, may we be blessed to remain grounded in our faith and to respond to our neighbors with Good News as it is revealed in the Fruit of the Spirit.
Be the peace.
With a grateful heart,
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 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.