Advent: Abound in Hope- Romans 15:4-13

Romans 15:4-13

4For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
     “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles,
          and sing praises to your name”;
10and again he says,
     “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”;
11and again,
     “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
          and let all the peoples praise him”;
12and again Isaiah says,
     “The root of Jesse shall come,
          the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
     in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Bring your attention to a place where you feel welcome.
  • Notice the compassion that accompanies welcome.
  • What other words, feelings, senses emerge?
  • Embrace welcome.
  • Bring your attention to a place where you feel unwelcome.
  • What is the obstacle to compassion?
  • How is God inviting you to respond with hospitality?
  • Embrace and welcome any feelings that come.  
  • Listen to them as a gentle and loving voice from beyond.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and any discoveries that have emerged.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 8, 2019, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 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.

Advent: Put on the Armor of Light – Romans 13:11-14

Romans 13:11-14

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Imagine putting on the armor of light.
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What do you notice in your body as you wear the armor of light?
  • Is there something unexpected?
  • What is Christ’s message for you?
  • Imagine engraving Christ’s message in the armor.
  • What do you notice as you wear the message?
  • Do you hear a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for the armor of light and this time in prayer.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 1, 2019, the First Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 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.

Psalm 107: Redeemed from Trouble

Psalm 107:1-9, 43

1O give thanks to the LORD,

for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

those he redeemed from trouble

3and gathered in from the lands,

from the east and from the west,

from the north and from the south.

4Some wandered in desert wastes,

finding no way to an inhabited town;

5hungry and thirsty,

their soul fainted within them.

6Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,

and he delivered them from their distress;

7he led them by a straight way,

until they reached an inhabited town.

8Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

9For he satisfies the thirsty,

and the hungry he fills with good things.

43Let those who are wise give heed to these things,

and consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silent meditation 5 to 15 minutes paying attention to the breath.
  • What do you cry out to God today?
  • How does this cry reflect God’s desire for you?
  • Sit with God’s desire for you.
  • How does your desire and God’s desire for you meet?
  • What fruit is growing?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to consider God’s desire for you and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 4, 2019, the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Hosea 11:1-11
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Colossians Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2019 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.

Matthew 25:31-46 – Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 25:14-30 – To all those who have more will be given

GOSPEL MATTHEW 25:14-30

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation, paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What account do you need to settle with your Master?
  • What is it that you have been given.
  • How have you grown this gift?
  • What abundance do you notice?
  • What freedom has grown with the gift?
  • What unfreedom have you discovered?
  • What new growth is your Master calling you to tend?
  • What do you need from your Master to move toward this new growth?
  •  Give thanks to God for this time to consider the gifts you have been given and the growth that has occurred with these gifts.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 119:1-8 – O that my ways may be steadfast

119:1-8

1   Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
2   Happy are those who keep his decrees,
who seek him with their whole heart,
3   who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways.
4   You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
5   O that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
6   Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7   I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
8   I will observe your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Imagine your Christian community is with you in your meditation today.
  • Notice how you are walking together in the way of the Lord.
  • Notice how you seek God together with your whole heart.
  • Notice how you feel an intimate connection to your Christian community and to God.
  • Savor the blessing of your community.
  • In he midst of the community that embraces your true self, how do you wish enter into a deeper relationship with God?
  • How do you need your community to help you in this journey?
  • Is there a trusted advisor you may call upon to help you?
  • Notice your desire and God’s desire for you.
  • 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, February 12, 2017, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD