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.

Advent – Psalm 25:1-10 – Lead me in your truth and teach me

Psalm 25:1-10

1To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
5Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
6Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
8Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

  • 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.
  • Push back your shoulders, opening your chest.  Lift your chest as high as you can when you inhale.  Feel yourself lifting your soul to God.
  • Continue this exercise opening yourself, lifting your soul to God, and trusting God with your full being.
    Offer your sins and transgression to God whom you trust with your full being.
  • Feel the forgiveness and love showered upon you.
  • God leads and teaches the humble.
  • For those who are truly sorry, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
  • On what path is God leading you today?
  • Are there temptations on the path?
  • How will God steer you away from temptation?
  • What instruction do you hear?
  • What do you need to let go to follow?
  • 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, December 2, 2018, the First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

  • Jeremiah 33:14-16 
  • Psalm 25:1-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Luke 21:25-36

Psalm 132 – I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one

Psalm 132:1-12 (13-18)

1O LORD, remember in David’s favor
all the hardships he endured;
2how he swore to the LORD
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3“I will not enter my house
or get into my bed;
4I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6We heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7“Let us go to his dwelling-place;
let us worship at his footstool.
8Rise up, O LORD, and go to your resting-place,
you and the ark of your might.
9Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your faithful shout for joy.
10For your servant David’s sake
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
11The LORD swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
12If your sons keep my covenant
and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, for evermore,
shall sit on your throne.”
13For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his habitation:
14“This is my resting-place for ever;
here I will reside, for I have desired it.
15I will abundantly bless its provisions;
I will satisfy its poor with bread.
16Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
and its faithful will shout for joy.
17There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
18His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
but on him, his crown will gleam.”

  • 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.
  • Open yourself to the dwelling place of the Lord.
  • Free yourself to worship at his footstool.
  • The Lord has prepared a lamp for you.
  • Allow the light of the lamp to brighten your face.
  • Notice how the flame dances.
  • Notice how the color moves.
  • What warmth do you feel?
  • What is gleaming within you?
  • What emanates from 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, November 18, 2018, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

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