Mark 10:35-45 – Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

  • 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.
  • Consider those lording it over you today.
  • How do you respond?
  • Is there a way to show glory for God in your response?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Consider those you lord over today.
  • How do you lead?
  • Is there a way to show glory for God in your leading?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Consider the disciples you encounter today.
  • How will you serve them?
  • How will you be slave to all?
  • How do you show glory for God in your actions and reactions?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Open your heart and your mind to encounter these places today.
  • Look for 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, October 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

Posted in Breathe, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Love, Mark, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hebrews 5:1-10 – He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness

Hebrews 5:1-10

1Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; 3and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

  • 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 your breath today, open yourself in submission.
  • As you inhale, say to yourself, “I am yours.”  Consider those things that are gifts from God, and embrace these on the inhale.
  • As you exhale, say to yourself, “I am only yours.”  Consider those things that keep you from God, and let go of these on the exhale.
  • Continue this practice until you are as free as you can be.
  • In this safe place where you are held by God, consider obedience you have learned through your suffering.
  • Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.
  • In this safe place where the world is held by  God, consider obedience the world has learned through the world’s suffering.
  • Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.
  • Is there a message for you 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.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

Posted in Faith, Freedom, Grace, Hebrews, Hope, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Suffering | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c – You make the wind your messengers

Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c

1Bless the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
3you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
4you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
5You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
6You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7At your rebuke they flee;
at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
8They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
to the place that you appointed for them.
9You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
24O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
35Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD!

  • 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 settle into the breath, consider how God is very great.
  • Which description of God stands out for you?
  • How has God revealed this to you in your life?
  • Savor knowing God’s greatness in your life.
  • God continues to create in the world and in you.
  • Consider how you are keeping God from working greatness in your life.
  • What prayer arises in you as you consider this.
  • Offer your prayer to God.
  • Invite the greatness of God to break through into this place.
  • 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, October 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

Posted in Breathe, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Prayer, Psalm, Surrender, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job 38:1-7 (34-41) – Then the LORD answered Job

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)

1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements — surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone 7when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

34“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? 35Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? 36Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? 37Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together?

39“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? 41Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?”

  • 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 your soul to God’s provision.
  • How has God provided for you through answered prayer?
  • Who did God send?
  • What did God give you?
  • What did God release from you?
  • Rest in provision.
  • Return to the breath.  As you follow the breath throughout your body, notice what provision you need from God today.
  • Pray for this provision.
  • Remain open and free as you wait for God’s answer.
  • 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, October 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

 

Posted in Blessing, Breathe, Burdens, Faith, Hope, Job, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark 10:17-31 – We have left everything and followed you

Mark 10:17-31

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions — and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

  • 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.
  • Continue to focus on the breath and notice the freedom that opens within you.
  • Rest in the freedom.
  • What possession is keeping you from God?
  • Why is your hold so tight?
  • What do you need to let go to drop this possession?
  • How does this possession have hold of you?
  • What mercy do you need from God for this possession to let go of you?
  • Pray for mercy, and be held in this prayer with God.  Be held.
  • 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, October 14, 2018, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

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

Posted in Burdens, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Mark, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hebrews 4:12-16 – Let us approach the throne of Grace with boldness!

Hebrews 4:12-16

12Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

14Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • 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.
  • Scan your mind and your body.
  • Notice where you need mercy and grace.
  • Be compassionate with yourself as you approach the throne of grace with boldness.
  • Lift your face and let the light of grace and mercy shine upon you.
  • Let the light bathe you.
  • Let the light warm you.
  • Let the light nurture you.
  • Be held in the light as long as you need to be held.
  • 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, October 14, 2018, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

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

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Psalm 22:1-15 – Commit your cause to the Lord

Psalm 22:1-15

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8“Commit your cause to the LORD; let him deliver —
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
9Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

  • 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.
  • What cause do commit to the Lord today?
  • What do you need to let go to commit the cause fully to the Lord?
  • As you exhale, let go what is keeping you from committing the cause fully to the Lord.
  • Let go.
  • Be with the breath.
  • The Lord is near.
  • Rest in the breath.
  • Wait for the Lord to rescue 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, October 14, 2018, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

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

Posted in Christian, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job 23:1-9, 16-17 – My complaint is bitter

Job 23:1-9, 16-17

1Then Job answered: 2“Today also my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy despite my groaning. 3Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his dwelling! 4I would lay my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5I would learn what he would answer me, and understand what he would say to me. 6Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; but he would give heed to me. 7There an upright person could reason with him, and I should be acquitted forever by my judge.

8“If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; 9on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.

16God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; 17If only I could vanish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face!

  • 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 open yourself to the Breath, notice where God is distant from you.
  • What taste corresponds to this distance from God?
  • What smell corresponds to this distance from God?
  • What feeling corresponds to this distance from God?
  • Look ahead of you.  What do you see?
  • Look to the left of you.  What do you see?
  • Look to the right of you.  What do you see?
  • Look behind you.  What do you see?
  • Come back to the Breath.
  • Inhale the Breath of God.  Know that God is present.  You may not be able to see, hear, taste, smell, or touch God at this moment.  Find comfort in knowing you breathe the Breath of God.  May this sustain you until the distance is lifted.
  • 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, October 14, 2018, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

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

Posted in Breathe, Burdens, Faith, Hope, Job, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark 10:2-16 – Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it

Mark 10:2-16

2Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

  • 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.
  • Let go of any tension in your shoulders.  Be opened by the Breath.  Seek freedom.
  • Place your hands palms up in your lap.
  • Imagine holding a ball.
  • What does the ball look like? Is it large or small?  What color is the ball?
  • How do you desire to play with the ball?
  • Imagine playing with the ball.
  • What do you feel when you play with the ball?
  • Is there someone playing with you?  Or are you alone?
  • What are you playing?
  • Notice your surroundings.  Where are you?
  • Be open to Christ.  Where do you find Christ?
  • What playfulness do you encounter?
  • What is Christ’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, October 7, 2018, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Psalm 26:1-12
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

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

Posted in Christ, Christian, Lectionary, Mark, Praise, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 – Perfect through sufferings

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12

1Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

2:5Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6But someone has testified somewhere, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? 7You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, 8subjecting all things under their feet.” Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 12saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

  • 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 bring your attention to the breath, consider the sufferings of Christ Jesus:
  • one who carried heavy burdens no one else understood.
  • one who was betrayed.
  • one who was denied.
  • one who was stripped and beaten.
  • one who was unjustly sentenced.
  • one who was deserted.
  • one who was crucified.
  • What burdens and sufferings do you bring to Christ Jesus today?
  • The one who suffered will listen to you, understand you, comfort you, and shower you with peace.
  • The one who suffered will call you brother and sister.
  • The one who suffered will call you friend.
  • Hear God’s message for you.
  • Give thanks and praise 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, October 7, 2018, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Psalm 26:1-12
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

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

Posted in Burdens, Faith, Hebrews, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment