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.

Praying with Art: The Return by Jim Janknegt

"The Return" by Jim Janknegt

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit three to five minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the breath.
  • Study this painting, The Return, for three to five minutes.  Envision this time to be a visual prayer.
  • What phrase or image captures your attention?
  • Spend another three to five minutes in prayer with this painting.  Allow the phrase or image to grow in you.
  • Where does the word or image take you? What is growing there?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Spend another three to five minutes in prayer with this painting seeking a call to action.
  • What is God calling you to do?
  • Give thanks for this time in prayer to listen to God’s message 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 30, 2011, Christ the King Sunday Year A
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Joshua 24: Choose this day whom you will serve

JOSHUA 24:1-3A, 14-25

1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors — Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor — lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 3aThen I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many.

14“Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

19But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” 21And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!” 22Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” 24The people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silent meditation for 5 to 15 minutes, paying attention to the breath.
  • What idol(s) are you worshiping today?
  • How do these idols bring your freedom?
  • How do these idols bring you bondage (unfreedom)
  • What do you need to let go?
  • Invite God into this place where you need to let go.
  • In this midst of this repentance, feel God’s forgiveness wash over you.
  • Feel God’s love embrace you.
  • See God’s path before you.
  • Step out upon this path that have been prepared for you by God.
  • How do you serve the Lord on this path?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognized idols, to repent, to receive forgiveness, and to step out on a path that gives glory to God.  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, November 6, 2011,  the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
I Thessalonians: 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 22: 34-46 Which commandment in the law is the greatest?

GOSPEL MATTHEW 22:34-46

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39and a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44  ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silence 5 to 15 minutes paying attention to the breath.
  • Name the ways that you love God with your heart.
  • Name the ways that you love God with your soul.
  • Name the ways that you love God with your mind.
  • Love the ways you love your neighbor as yourself.
  • What do you notice is missing from the love you share?
  • Who needs the love you share?
  • Give thanks to God for this time celebrate Gods love for you and your love for God.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 23, 2011,  the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Deut 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
I Thessalonians: 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 99:1-9 Worship at his footstool

PSALM 99:1-9

1   The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2   The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3   Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Holy is he!
4  Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5   Extol the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool.
Holy is he!

6   Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.
7   He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
they kept his decrees,
and the statutes that he gave them.

8   O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9   Extol the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in meditation, paying close attention to the breath.
  • How do you worship God at God’s footstool?
  • Where do you recognize this in your servant heart?
  • Is there tension or freedom in this worship?
  • Remember those saints that have come before you that have worshipped at the footstool of the Lord.  Who comes to your mind?
  • What pillar of cloud did they follow in worship?
  • Is there a message from God in this remembrance?
  • God invites you to worship at a holy mountain.  Go there and meet the Lord.
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for God’s faithfulness, for the pillar of cloud to follow, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 16, 2011,  the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD