Psalm 124:1-8 – We have escaped

Psalm 124:1-8

1   If it had not been the LORD who was on our side
— let Israel now say —
2   if it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
3   then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4   then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5   then over us would have gone
the raging waters.

6   Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
7   We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.

8   Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice the freedom you receive from the Breath.
  • Let your attention go to a place where with God on your side you escaped from a broken snare.
  • What do you notice about being in the snare?  Describe the details.
  • God will bring new life in the midst of imprisonment.
  • As God walks by your side today, notice the provision God has for you.
  • What freedom does God’s provision create in you?
  • What is your message 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, August 27, 2017, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 1:8-2:10
Psalm 124:1-8
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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

Exodus 1:8-2:10 – Hope in a time of oppression

Exodus 1:8-2:10

8Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites. 14and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

15The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16“When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” 17But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. 18So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

1Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. 3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

5The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice the freedom you receive from the Breath.
  • Let your attention go to a place where you are oppressed today.
  • What do you notice about being oppressed?  Describe the details.
  • God will bring new life in the midst of oppression.
  • Imagine you are walking by the water and see the basket in the reeds.
  • What new life does God have for you to draw out of the water?
  • What is your message 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, August 27, 2017, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 1:8-2:10
Psalm 124:1-8
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Exodus, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Moses, Revised Common Lectionary, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28 -What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart

Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

10Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Words matter.
  • Do a quick Examen of the past 24 hours paying attention to the words that were spoken from your mouth.
  • Which words gave life?
  • Which words took life away?
  • How do you desire to respond?
  • Do a quick Examen of the past 24 hours paying attention to the words spoken by others.
  • Which words gave life?
  • Which words took life away?
  • How do you desire to respond?
  • What is your message 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, August 20, 2017, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133:1-3
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Contemplative, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Matthew, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romans 11:102a, 29-32 – Imprisoned All…Merciful to All

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2aGod has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

… 29for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • What is your image of God?
  • Name the details you see.
  • Paul invites us to expand our image of God.
  • Where do you see room for growth in your image of God?
  • What new thing(s) is God teaching you today?
  • All have been imprisoned so that God may be merciful to all.
  • What is your message 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, August 20, 2017, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133:1-3
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Genesis, Hope, Lectionary, mercy, Provision, Revised Common Lectionary, Romans | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 133:1-3 – There the LORD ordained his blessing

Psalm 133:1-3

1   How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
2   It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
3   It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the LORD ordained his blessing,
life forevermore.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a place you experienced recently where God ordained the blessing of life for you and others.
  • Describe the blessing with all of your senses:  what do you see, hear, smell, feel, taste?
  • How did you receive the blessing?
  • How do you see this blessing in others?
  • Where do you carry this blessing within you?
  • How does this blessing connect you?
  • What is your message 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, August 20, 2017, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133:1-3
Romans 11:102a, 29-32
Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Beloved, Community, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Provision, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Genesis 45:1-15 – God sent me before you to preserve life

Genesis 45:1-15

1Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

4Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there: since there are five more years of famine to come — so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ 12And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” 14Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Bring your attention to God’s provision in your life today.
  • Which of God’s provisions for you would you like to honor and savor today?
  • What thoughts and feelings come back to you?
  • Where was God at work in the experience?
  • What reconciliation did you experience?
  • Why is it important to remember this provision today?
  • Take a moment to savor this knowing.
  • What is your message 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, August 20, 2017, the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133:1-3
Romans 11:102a, 29-32
Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Benjamin, Faith, Genesis, Hope, Jacob, Joseph, Lectionary, Provision, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Matthew 14:22-33 -You of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 14:22-33

22Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.

  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Let the breath lead you to focus on your interior space.
  • Notice the storm brewing in you.
  • Describe the storm.
  • What fear/anxiety/worry is stirring with the storm?
  • When Jesus comes toward you, what is keeping you from knowing him?
  • Hear the words of Jesus, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
  • What proof do you still need to know Jesus is near?
  • Do you walk out on the water?
  • What doubts arise from within?
  • How do you need Jesus to save you?
  • What do you need to let go to embrace your faith?
  • What is your message 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, August 13, 2017, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Matthew, Patience, Peter, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romans 10:5-15 -One believes with the heart

Romans 10:5-15

5Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

14But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Breathe.
  • What is the word on your lips?
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Breathe into your heart space.
  • What is the word on your heart?
  • How do you wish to share this word today?
  • How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
  • What is your message 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, August 13, 2017, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Believing, Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary, Romans | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b – Difficult and unexpected encounters

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b

1   O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
2   Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
3   Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4   Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
5   Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
6   O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

16  When he summoned famine against the land,
and broke every staff of bread,
17  he had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18  His feet were hurt with fetters,
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19  until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the Lord kept testing him.
20  The king sent and released him;
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
21  He made him lord of his house,
and ruler of all his possessions,
22  to instruct his officials at his pleasure,
and to teach his elders wisdom.

45b  Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today, I invite you to wonder how God is at work in a difficult and unexpected encounter.
  • Sit with the encounter and examine all of the details.
  • Notice, name and set aside any judgment that arises.
  • Notice, name and set aside any fear that arises.
  • Describe what you know.
  • Be settled with what you don’t know.
  • Breathe.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Praise the Lord!
  • What else to you know?
  • What is your message 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, August 13, 2017, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Freedom, Genesis, Hope, Joseph, Joy, Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 – Betrayed and sold into slavery

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

1Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. 2This is the story of the family of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. 4But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

12Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “Here I am.” 14So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

He came to Shechem, 15and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16“I am seeking my brothers,” he said; “tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17The man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” 21But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him” — that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. 23So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; 24and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

25Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers agreed. 28When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time when you were betrayed by brothers or sisters.
  • What thoughts and feelings come back to you?
  • Where was God at work in the experience?
  • What reconciliation did you experience?
  • Do a quick scan of your body and notice if there is a remnant of pain or any tension that arises when you remember.
  • Is there an invitation to let go and accept new healing?
  • What is your message 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, August13, 2017, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Genesis, Hope, Jacob, Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment