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.

I Know You By Name

You know God by name.

God knows you by name.

As you begin your prayer today, prepare your own “Wordle” by name.  (And you can create your own for God if you wish).  Go to www.wordle.net/create.  Type in the box  labeled “Paste in a bunch of text” all of the names God calls you.  Then click on the “Go” button to create your Wordle.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation.
  • Pray the names you have before you.
  • First pray the names you call out to God.
  • What names stand out to you today?
  • What do you notice in you that needs to call out these names for God?
  • Spend time recognizing these needs and desires.
  • Next pray the names God calls out to you.
  • What names stand out to you today?
  • What do you notice in you that needs God to call out your name?
  • What name(s) does  God call out?
  • Are any names missing?
  • Spend time recognizing these needs and desires.
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Give thanks to God for the blessing of your name(s) and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Philippians 3:4b-14 Christ has made me his own

Philippians 3:4b-14

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

  • 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.
  • As you meditate on the text today, consider the gain you have been given in  Christ Jesus.  What freedom did you find there?
  • Consider the loss you have been given in Christ Jesus.  Did you find freedom in the loss?
  • Is there something binding you from gain given in Christ Jesus?
  • Where is this bound in your body?
  • If you can identify a place, focus on this place.  Ask your body to let go of whatever is binding you to that you can accept that which is given in Christ Jesus.
  • Savor this time of unbinding.
  • Give thanks to God for freedom in gain and in loss 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 2, 2011,  the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 20: 1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19: 1-14
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD