They Will Be Comforted: Matthew 5:1-12

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Matthew 5:1-12

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  • 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 inhale, breathe in life
  • As you exhale, let go of things that suck the life out of you.
  • Continue this practice until you are at peace, feeling freedom.
  • Jesus reminds us that the Beatitudes are our guide to right living.
  • Turning away from the Beatitudes is false living.
  • We must look for God-centered moments in our lives.
  • It is a God-centered moment because God gives you new life in the midst of grief and loss..
  • Do a quick check-in with yourself and notice where grief and loss are keeping you from authentic life with Christ.
  • Name this grief and loss and invite Christ into it.
  • Dialogue with Christ to seek and embrace the new life Christ has for you.
  • How do you desire to seek freedom from the grief and loss to receive new life in Christ?
  • Name the new life Christ wants to give you.
  • Sit with new life and notice how this new life brings you Holy Love.
  • What is important about remembering this new life and Holy Love today?
  • What is God’s invitation 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 29, 2023, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Revelation 7:9-17
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
1 John 3:1-3
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.

Speak the Truth from the Heart: Psalm 15

Psalm 15

1   O LORD, who may abide in your tent?
          Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2   Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
          and speak the truth from their heart;
3   who do not slander with their tongue,
          and do no evil to their friends,
          nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4   in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
          but who honor those who fear the LORD;
     who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5   who do not lend money at interest,
          and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
     Those who do these things shall never be moved.

  • 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.
  • Let your attention shift to your heart.
  • Listen to your heart.
  • Part of your heart is strong and healthy and speaks truth.
  • Embrace the love, joy, and peace that accompanies the truth in your heart.
  • Let your heart speak.
  • Part of your heart is broken and hurting. This part of your heart is searching for the truth that has been hidden by pain and false accusations.
  • Sit with this part of your heart and be gentle as you listen for words of truth to emerge.
  • Listen to your heart.
  • Speak the truth.
  • Embrace the healing, love, joy, and peace God has for you as you are freed from the pain.
  • 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 29, 2023, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.

Plead Your Case Before the Mountains: Micah 6:1-8

Micah 6:1-8

1   Hear what the LORD says:
          Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
          and let the hills hear your voice.
2   Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD,
          and you enduring foundations of the earth;
     for the LORD has a controversy with his people,
          and he will contend with Israel.

3   “O my people, what have I done to you?
          In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4   For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
          and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
     and I sent before you Moses,
          Aaron, and Miriam.
5   O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
          what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
     and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
          that you may know the saving acts of the LORD.”

6  “With what shall I come before the LORD,
          and bow myself before God on high?
     Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
          with calves a year old?
7   Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
          with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
     Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
          the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8   He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
          and what does the LORD require of you
     but to do justice, and to love kindness,
          and to walk humbly with your God?

  • 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.
  • What need to please God do carry with you today that needs to be set aside as you sit with God?
  • Name this and set it aside. If there is more than one, repeat this exercise.
  • What justice are you doing?
  • What kindness are you loving?
  • What humble path are you walking with God?
  • Is there an invitation to something new today?
  • 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 29, 2023, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.

Follow Me and Fish for People – Matthew 4:12-23

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • 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.
  • Scan your body.  Notice any tension that is binding you.
  • What is this division in you that is keeping you from being united with Christ?
  • Let the feelings of the division come.  Give the division a name.
  • Bring this division to the cross and invite Christ into this space.  Do not hide it any longer.  Let the Compassionate Christ remove this burden from you so that you may be freed for Christ in Christ.
  • Where do you feel the freedom in you?
  • How does Christ ask you to respond?
  • 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 22, 2023, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.

Let There Be No Divisions Among You – 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • 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.
  • Scan your body.  Notice any tension that is binding you.
  • What is this division in you that is keeping you from being united with Christ?
  • Let the feelings of the division come.  Give the division a name.
  • Bring this division to the cross and invite Christ into this space.  Do not hide it any longer.  Let the Compassionate Christ remove this burden from you so that you may be freed for Christ in Christ.
  • Where do you feel the freedom in you?
  • How does Christ ask you to respond?
  • 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 22, 2023, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.

You Have Broken the Yoke of Their Burden – Isaiah 9:1-4

Isaiah 9:1-4

1But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2   The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined.
3   You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
4   For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

  • 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.
  • Remember a time when you walked in darkness.
  • Using your senses, describe the darkness.
  • When did you first notice the light shine on the darkness?
  • Using your senses, describe the light as it shines on the darkness.
  • What grace was revealed in the hope shed by the light?
  • Hold this hope in front of you.
  • What darkness is hidden in you?
  • What hope do you need today?
  • How do you need God to shine light in this darkness?
  • Offer this prayer to God.
  • 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.

evised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 22, 2023, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2023 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.