You Are My Rock and My Fortress: Psalm 71:1-6

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Psalm 71:1-6

1In you, O LORD, I take refuge;

let me never be put to shame.

2In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;

incline your ear to me and save me.

3Be to me a rock of refuge,

a strong fortress, to save me,

for you are my rock and my fortress.

4Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,

from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.

5For you, O Lord, are my hope,

my trust, O LORD, from my youth.

6Upon you I have leaned from my birth;

it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.

My praise is continually of you.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Let you focus shift to a situation in which you are ungrounded.
  • Set your feet on the floor, supported in a chair. Feel the chair hold you.
  • Notice how your feet desire to become grounded to the floor or in the earth.
  • Let this energy flow up through your body as you invite God’s refuge and strength to bring you grounding energy and courage.
  • Speak these words, In you, Lord, I take refuge.
  • Deliver me.
  • Rescue me.
  • Incline your ear to me.
  • Save me. 
  • Be my rock.
  • Be my hope.
  • Be my trust.
  • Today, I will live for you and in you and praise you continually.
  • 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, January 30, 2022, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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 Have Put My Words in Your Mouth: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10

4Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,

5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7But the LORD said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;

for you shall go to all to whom I send you,

and you shall speak whatever I command you,

8Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to deliver you,

says the LORD.”

9Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.

10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,

to pluck up and to pull down,

to destroy and to overthrow,

to build and to plant.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Let you focus shift to a situation in which you do not know how to speak or respond.
  • Seek freedom from your reaction, your fear, your anger, your anxiety. 
  • Sit in freedom and invite God to speak to you.
  • Hear these words, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I consecrated you. I anointed you.”
  • Invite God to give you the words to speak.
  • God’s words lead to fruit of the Spirit. If they are words that tear down or hurt others, keep seeking for the words that lead to the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Receive these words, and feel God place them on your lips. 
  • What is your invitation from God today?
  • 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 30, 2022, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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.

No Bad Parts: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot would say,”Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Do a scan of your body.
  • Notice the parts of your body that are weaker and need your attention.
  • Tell each part that is weak, “I love you, and I need you.”
  • Be grateful for your body.
  • Expand your focus to your community.
  • Tell each part that is weak, “I love you, and I need you.”
  • Be grateful for your community.
  • What is your invitation from God today?
  • 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 23, 2022, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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 Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

1all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had given to Israel. 2Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. 3He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.

5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

8So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Lift your face to the light. Bow down and worship. Prostrate your body, if you desire.
  • Imaging hearing holy words read aloud from the Book of the Law of Moses for the first time in many months.
  • Feel the dryness and hunger beginning to fall away.
  • Are there tears longing for release from the wilderness?
  • Are there tears anticipating the feast?
  • Imagine gathering to celebrate and feast together, glorifying God.
  • Let go of anything that is keeping you from embracing joy and strength in God.
  • Taste joy in each moment of the feast. Describe the taste of joy.
  • 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, January 23, 2022, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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.

Anointed to Bring Good News: Luke 4:14-21

Luke 4:14-21

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.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 23, 2022, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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.

Sweeter than Honey: Psalm 19

Psalm 19:1-14

1   The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2   Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3   There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4   yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5   which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6   Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hidden from its heat.

7   The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the LORD are sure,
making wise the simple;
8   the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9   the fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true
and righteous altogether.
10  More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.

11  Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12  But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13  Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Hear the words of the Psalmist, “Clear me from hidden thoughts.”
  • Listen to what you know in your head.  What hidden thoughts are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Listen to what you know in your heart.  What hidden feelings are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Listen to what you know in your gut.  What hidden intuitions are living there?  How do you desire to live the way of the Lord today?
  • Notice any consonance or dissonance.
  • What new thoughts/feelings/intuitions does this reveal in you?
  • 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.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 23, 2022, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2022 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.