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 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 Wednesday, March 2, 2022, Ash Wednesday (Year C)
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
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) 2022 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.