Christmas Eve: Training Us to Renounce Impiety and Worldly Passions – Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes embracing the great light that shines before you.
  • As the birth of Jesus draws near, notice what arises in you.
  • Is there excitement?  Is there anxiety?  Perhaps both?
  • Hold all of these feelings before you as you consider who God chose to be born into the world in this way.
  • God chose to come into the world to free us from the things that don’t last: impiety and worldly passions.
  • Look at the feelings you are holding.  What impiety and worldly passion are you ready to let go?
  • In the new space created in the letting go, what new life does God have for you?
  • How do you desire for this new creation to be born?
  • How do you desire to give glory to God for the hope of this new creation?
  • What is God’s invitation for you today?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, December 24, 2020, Christmas Eve (Year B)
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

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 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.

Christmas Eve: He Is Coming to Love the Earth and All Its People – Psalm 96:1-13

PSALM 96:1-13

1   O sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2   Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3   Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4   For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
5   For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6   Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7   Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8   Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9   Worship the LORD in holy splendor;
tremble before him, all the earth.

10  Say among the nations, “The LORD is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
11  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12       let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13       before the LORD; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence five to fifteen minutes embracing the great light that shines before you.
  • Worship the Lord in holy splendor.
  • Let a new song arise within you.
  • Emmanuel, God with us, he is coming.
  • He is coming to love the earth.
  • Sing for joy!
  • What truth arises within you?
  • What is God’s invitation for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time of new life and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, December 24, 2020, Christmas Eve (Year B)
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96:1-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

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 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.

Those Who Want to Save Their Life Will Lose It: Matthew 16:21-28 –

Matthew 16:21-28

21From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Reflect on something that has become more important in your life than God.
  • Reflect on something in the world that defines who you are.
  • Reflect on a human thing that is keeping you from a divine thing.
  • What part of you do you need to lose so that you may return to God?
  • What new life does God desire to give you in it’s place?
  • Listen for this new life God has for you.
  • Listen.
  • 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, August 30, 2020, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

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.

Do Not Claim to Be Wiser than You Are: Romans 12:9-21

Romans 12:9-21

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Another hurricane is capturing our energy this week.
  • In the aftermath of the hurricane, seek God’s wisdom.
  • Do not claim to be wiser than you are.
  • Seek the wisdom of the Creator.
  • God’s wisdom will overcome evil with good.
  • Seek the wisdom of the Redeemer.
  • God’s wisdom will bring patience in suffering.
  • Seek the wisdom of the Sustainer, God with us.
  • 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, August 30, 2020, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

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.