Go to the Lost Sheep – Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10:1Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts,10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food.11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.12As you enter the house, greet it.13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.

16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues;18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time;20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Seek the wisdom and compassion deep within you.
  • Jesus is sending you on a journey to find lost sheep in the world.
  • All you need for the journey is within you.
  • See yourself leaving the safety of the gates of the city.
  • Notice what you leave behind so that you may be fully present to the sheep?
  • Notice the peace that dwells within you.
  • Peace that will speak.
  • Peace that will comfort.
  • Peace that will heal.
  • When you encounter persecution, do not accept the words.  Let them bounce off of your armor of God.
  • When you notice the fruit of the Spirit, let the peace of God flow from you to another.
  • Christ is with you on the journey.  Stay awake.  You will encounter the Holy One.
  • 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, June 14, 2020, the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

The Spirit of Truth: John 14:15-21

John 14:15-21

15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

18“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • The Spirit of truth abides within you.
  • As you pay attention to the Breath, feel where the Spirit abides within you.
  • When you see Christ in the world, the Christ within you stirs.  Christ does not leave you orphaned.  Christ is here in the Spirit.
  • The Spirit of truth abides within you.
  • As you pay attention to the Breath, feel where the Spirit abides within you.
  • The Spirit of truth abides within us, the world
  • As you pay attention to the Breath, feel where the Spirit abides with in us, the world.
  • How does God need you to be the hands, feet, eyes, ears, voice of Christ today?
  • He came for all to see and to believe and for all to love through Him.
  • Again, how does God need you to be the hands, feet, eyes, ears, voice of Christ today?
  • 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, May 17, 2020, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Acts 17:22-31
Psalm 66:8-20
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

Gentleness and Reverence: 1 Peter 3:13-22

1 Peter 3:13-22

13Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit outside today or near a window where you feel part of God’s creation.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale the beauty of creation.
  • Exhale fear and intimidation.
  • Inhale the strength of creation.
  • Exhale fear and intimidation.
  • With gentleness and reverence, inhale the new life of creation as you feel the Breath of God breathe new life in you.
  • Exhale anything keeping you from being present to this new life.
  • Inhale all life that you sense around you.
  • Sit and be with the Holy One.
  • Feel what it is like to be alive in the Spirit.
  • Allow the Spirit to fill you with new life.
  • With gentleness and reverence, take a mental picture of this space filled with new life, and take it with you today.  Be reminded of being alive in the Spirit when you encounter unrighteousness so that you may be with the Spirit in righteousness.
  • 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, May 17, 2020, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Acts 17:22-31
Psalm 66:8-20
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.

Truly God Is Listening: Psalm 66:8-20

Psalm 66:8-20

8   Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9   who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10  For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11  You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12  you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

13  I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14  those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15  I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.                    Selah

16  Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17  I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18  If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19  But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

20  Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • What unsafe spaces have you encountered recently?
  • How did God accompany you in this unsafe space?
  • What was the shift that led you to safety?
  • How did God’s transforming love lead you to safety?
  • What unsafe spaces are you still encountering?
  • How do you need God to accompany you in this unsafe space?
  • Using your imagination what will make this space safe for you?
  • Offer this as a prayer to God.
  • Truly God has listened before and given heed to the words of your prayer.
  • God is listening today and will bring heed to the words of your prayer.
  • Speak for your God is listening.
  • 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, May 17, 2020, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Acts 17:22-31
Psalm 66:8-20
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 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.