Anointed to Bring Good News: Luke 4:14-21

Luke 4:14-21

14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Focus on each phrase of the scripture as Jesus reads it to you today. Listen deeply for an invitation in each message:
    • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me [pause and listen]
    • Because he has anointed me [pause and listen]
    • To bring good news to the poor [pause and listen]
    • He has sent me [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim release to the captives [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim recovery of sight to the blind [pause and listen]
    • To let the oppressed go free [pause and listen]
    • To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor [pause and listen]
  • Which statement of good news captures your attention the most today?
  • What is your invitation 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.

As we embrace a new beginning in the United States of America today, may we be blessed to remain grounded in our faith and to respond to our neighbors with Good News as it is revealed in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Be the peace.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

In Memory Martin Luther King, Jr: In Spite of Persecution You Received the Word with Joy: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matt Herron Selma-Montgomery, Alabama 3/21/1965: March leaders (wearing leis) prepare to leave Selma at the start of the third march. From left to right: John Lewis, a nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today is a new beginning.
  • Today is a new beginning for the church.
  • Hear the good news proclaimed, the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Yet, there are those in your circles of influence who persecute in the name of God and tempt you to return to other idols.
  • Remember anew why you turn to God in Christ.
  • Remember anew the hope you carry.
  • Remember anew the vision of a world at peace.
  • Remember anew the love within.
  • 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.

As we remember Dr. King today, can you see the dream? 

Be the dream.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

Christmas: Grace and Truth: John 1:(1-9) 10-18

John 1:(1-9) 10-18

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What light captures your attention?
  • Stay with the light.
  • Savor the light.
  • What life do you feel in the light?
  • What grace do you feel in the light?
  • What truth do you feel in the light?
  • What life needs to be awakened in you?
  • Allow the light into this place that needs to be awakened.
  • Feel the light slowly warming up this place that needs to be awakened.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for the light and for awakening.  Give thanks to God for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 3, 2021, the second Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
 John 1:(1-9) 10-18

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2021 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.

Christmas: Destined for Adoption: Ephesians 1:3-14

Ephesians 1:3-14

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

  • 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 pay attention to the breath, remember the breath of life that has been given to you.
  • Allow this breath to permeate every inch of you.
  • Give thanks to God for the breath of life.
  • Consider the redemption and forgiveness for you given through the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Give thanks to God for Christ and the gift of new life.
  • Consider what this inheritance means for you.
  • How do you live with this inheritance?
  • Do you hoard your inheritance or share it?
  • Do you appreciate your inheritance or take it for granted?
  • Do you stand up for your inheritance or do you deny it?
  • What is  God’s message for you in your inheritance?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • 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 3, 2021, the second Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
 John 1:(1-9) 10-18

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.

Christmas: Who Can Stand Before His Cold? Psalm 147:12-20

Psalm 147:12-20

12  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
          Praise your God, O Zion!
13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
          he blesses your children within you.
14  He grants peace within your borders;
          he fills you with the finest of wheat.
15  He sends out his command to the earth;
          his word runs swiftly.
16  He gives snow like wool;
          he scatters frost like ashes.
17  He hurls down hail like crumbs —
          who can stand before his cold?
18  He sends out his word, and melts them;
          he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
19  He declares his word to Jacob,
          his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
20  He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
          they do not know his ordinances.
     Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to a part of you cold or frozen that desires to praise God.
  • Be melted by the warmth of God’s love.
  • Praise God!
  • Let your attention shift to a part of creation that is cold or frozen that desires to praise God.
  • Be melted by God’s peace.
  • Praise God with creation!
  • Let your attention shift to a part of your community that is cold or frozen that desires to praise God.
  • Be melted by God’s hope for us.
  • Praise God with your community.
  • 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 3, 2021, the second Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
 John 1:(1-9) 10-18

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.

Christmas: Life as a Watered Garden: Jeremiah 31:7-14

Jeremiah 31:7-14

7   For thus says the LORD:
     Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
          and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
     proclaim, give praise, and say,
          “Save, O LORD, your people,
          the remnant of Israel.”
8   See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
          and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
     among them the blind and the lame,
          those with child and those in labor, together;
          a great company, they shall return here.
9   With weeping they shall come,
          and with consolations I will lead them back,
     I will let them walk by brooks of water,
          in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
     for I have become a father to Israel,
          and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10  Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
          and declare it in the coastlands far away;
     say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
          and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.”
11  For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
          and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12  They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
          and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
     over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
          and over the young of the flock and the herd;
     their life shall become like a watered garden,
          and they shall never languish again.
13  Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
          and the young men and the old shall be merry.
     I will turn their mourning into joy,
          I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14  I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
          and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
                                                                           says the LORD.

  • Light a candle to remember the light of Christ with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let your attention shift to the part of you that has been exiled and feels far away.
  • God is looking for you.
  • Where does God find you?
  • Hear God’s promise that God will find those from the farthest parts of the earth.
  • Hear God’s promise that you shall be nourished like a watered garden, flourishing.
  • What obstacle is keeping you from accepting God’s embrace and promise?
  • With love and tenderness, listen to this obstacle.
  • How can God help you with your desired freedom from this obstacle?
  • With anticipation, notice the water and nourishment God has for you.
  • What is God’s invitation for you today?
  • 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 3, 2021, the second Sunday after Christmas (Year B)

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14
 John 1:(1-9) 10-18

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.