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)
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
1 John 3:1-3
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.