Ash Wednesday: Where Your Treasure Is There Your Heart Will Be – Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

1“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice how the space around you creates a safe a holy space for you.  How is God present in this space with you today?
  • In the privacy of this space set apart for your time of prayer today, how do you wish to recognize your relationship with God?  Do you want to sing and dance?  Do you want to write a love letter to God?  Do you want to paint your treasure?
  • In this safe space, thieves cannot come in and steal these holy treasures.
  • During Lent, you are invited to notice how you authentically desire to respond to God in relationship.
  • Savor these treasures.  Take mental pictures of them so that you may call upon the memories when you need to be reminded of your heavenly treasures.
  • Savor this time in prayer.
  • 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 Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday Year B

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 30:1-12- Joy comes with the morning

PSALM 30:1-12

1   I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2   O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3   O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4   Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5   For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6   As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7   By your favor, O LORD,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8   To you, O LORD, I cried,
and to the LORD I made supplication:
9   “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10  Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”

11  You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12  so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Identify a part of you that is hidden from God.
  • Breathe into this place that is hidden.
  • Be gentle with yourself.
  • God is not hiding God’s face from you.
  • Turn toward God and reveal this place that is hidden.
  • Allow God to remove the sackcloth.
  • Be filled with the joy of God who loves us completely just as we are.
  • Allow this joy to bathe the place that has been hidden.
  • Praise God from this new place and be released from silence.
  • Listen from this place to hear God’s love for you.
  • Give thanks to God for wholeness in love and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, July 7, 2019, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
2 Kings 5:1-14
Psalm 30:1-12
Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

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

1 Samuel 3 – Your Servant Is Listening

1 SAMUEL 3:1-10 (11-20)

1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

2At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 17Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

19As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • God is calling your name.  What name do you hear?
  • When you hear God call your name, what feelings arise?  What senses do you notice?
  • How do you respond?
  • Pray that you are hearing God’s call correctly.
  • Do your desires match God’s desires for you?
  • Hear yourself say, “Here I am, LORD!”
  • How are you ready to respond to God’s call?
  • 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 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Genesis 17 – Walk before me and be blameless

Shkolnik, Dmitry, 1960-. Icon of Abraham, Sarah, and Moses, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55123 [retrieved February 27, 2012

GENESIS 17:1-7, 15-16

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”

15God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Consider using  a breath prayer as you sit in silence.  Inhale with the word “everlasting,” and exhale with the word “covenant.”  Everlasting…covenant.  Allow these words to cover you outside and inside as you breathe.
  • How has God been faithful to you as he was with Abraham and Sarah?
  • How have you been faithful to God?
  • How do you need to see God’s faithfulness?
  • How is God calling you to be faithful in a new way?
  • 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 25, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD