Romans 13:8-14 – Put on the armor of light

Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)

8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. 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, September 4,  the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20
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.

Psalm 149: The Lord takes delight in his people

Psalm 149

1 Praise the LORD.  Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints. 

2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. 

3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. 

4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. 

5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. 

6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edgedsword in their hands, 

7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 

8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, 

9 to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.

  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Notice what is making music in you.
  • Where do you notice this in your body.
  • Notice what is dancing in you.
  • Where do you notice this in your body?
  • What message do you hear in the music and the dance?
  • Read the Psalm one more time.
  • Is there a call to action for you?
  • Give thanks for this time to praise God and for any new messages you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 4,  the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20
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.

Exodus 12:1-14 – The Passover

Exodus 12:1-14  The Passover  (NRSV)

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.  5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • As you consider this text today, notice what words bring you life.
  • Savor these words.
  • Is there a message or a call to action in these words?
  • Reread the text again, and notice what words take life from you.
  • Sit with these words.
  • Is there a message or a call to letting go in these words?
  • Give thanks to God for God’s provision and any new messages you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 4,  the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149
Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20
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.

Praying for surrender: Matthew 16:9-21

God of Creation, we surrender to you.

You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Moses and David, and you are our God. We are proud to call you Creator, and your Word tells us that you delight to call us your sons and daughters — your adopted children who are your very own special treasure.

O God, even as your children, we run and hide from you, and it is your grace that sustains us and calls us to deny ourselves and follow you. Your Word also says that when we return, you lead heaven in celebration — like a shepherd who has found a lost sheep, or a woman who has found a lost coin, or a father who has found his wayward child. Teach us as You did Moses, to walk by faith, each day searching for your presence, glory, and direction.

For we are yours alone.

Jesus Christ, Lord of All, we surrender to you.

You came to earth and walked in our shoes.  You know what tension we encounter.  We turn to you when we have no where else to go — you alone have the words of eternal life. Please start our faith anew and continue it until it is complete. We look forward to the day when all creation will bow at your name — the name that is above all things in heaven and on earth, and under the earth.

For we are yours alone.

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, we surrender to you.

Come now and hover above and around us and within us, and create in us clean hearts; renew our spirits, so that we may hunger and thirst after righteousness and not after the things of this world. Tomorrow will come, and we will face temptations from the world, the flesh, and the darkness. Help us not to fear, but to remember that you are within us to give us power to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Fill us, we pray, with your holy presence and mighty power so that we may walk in a manner worthy of our calling that overcomes any darkness.

For we are yours alone.

Amen.

Matthew 16:9-21

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath.
  • Read this prayer aloud.
  • What word or phrase captures your attention?
  • Spend 3 to 5 minutes meditating on this word or phrase.  Notice what meaning comes to you.
  • Read this prayer aloud again.
  • What message to you hear from God in this prayer?
  • Spend 3 to 5 minutes meditating on this message.
  • Read this prayer aloud a third time.
  • What call to action do you hear from God?
  • Savor any response you hear.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer, and any new messages you have received today.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.


Praying with Art: “The Beautiful Mess”

Painting Status: This painting belongs to Woodland Hills Church of St. Paul, MN. It was inspired by a sermon by its Pastor Greg Boyd Phd.

Matthew 16:9-21

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath and listening to Jesus say over and over, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
  • Pray with this piece of art in the way of Lectio Divina.
  • Spend the first 3 to 5 minutes listening to the piece of art.  What image captures your attention?  What meaning do you attach to this image for you?
  • Spend another 3 to 5 minutes engaged with this piece of art.  What do you see more deeply?  What is God’s message for you in this message?
  • Spend a third 3 to 5 minutes with “The Beautiful Mess.”  What cross are you bearing today?  Listen for a call to action from God.
  • Give thanks to God for the expression of art, imagination, and any new messages you have received today.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.


Praying with Art: Moses and the Burning Bush

http://www.stainedglassphotography.com/ Sacred_Heart_Jersey_City/slides/ Moses%20and%20the%20Burning%20Bush.html

Exodus 3:1-15

 

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath.
  • Pray with this piece of art in the way of Lectio Divina.
  • Spend the first 3 to 5 minutes listening to the piece of art.  What image captures your attention?  What meaning do you attach to this image for you?
  • Spend another 3 to 5 minutes engaged with this piece of art.  What do you see more deeply?  What is God’s message for you in this message?
  • Spend a third 3 to 5 minutes with Moses and the Burning Bush.  Listen for a call to action from God.
  • Give thanks to God for the expression of art, imagination, and any new messages you have received today.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:1-9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.


Matthew 16: 21-28 Take up your cross and follow me

Matthew 16:21-28

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the breath.
  • Remember a time when you have been a stumbling block.
  • Where do you feel this stumbling block in your body?
  • Send your energy to soften this place in your body.
  • Invite God’s forgiveness and healing in this place.
  • Take time to forgive yourself, accepting the forgiveness and love of God.
  • Invite yourself to soften this place in your body gently to it might become more open and free.
  • In this experience what cross do you bear?
  • What do you lose?  What do you gain?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer, embracing the stumbling block(s), and inviting new opening(s).
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:1-9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.

Romans 12: 9-21 – Overcome evil with good

Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  • 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.
  • Notice the word of phrase that captures you.
  • Meditate on this word or phrase for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Read the text a second time.
  • What word or phrase stands out for you?  Is it the same or different?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Read the text a third time.
  • What call to action to you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and opening.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:1-9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.

Psalm 105: Seek his presence continually

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c

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.

23  Then Israel came to Egypt;
Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.
24  And the LORD made his people very fruitful,
and made them stronger than their foes,
25  whose hearts he then turned to hate his people,
to deal craftily with his servants.

26  He sent his servant Moses,
and Aaron whom he had chosen.

45cPraise the LORD!


  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Notice how you seek God.
  • The psalmist gives thanks, sings, praises, seeks presence, seeks strength, remembers.
  • In this time of prayer, seek God in a new way.  If you never sing, sing today.  If you don’t sit in silence, sit in silence today.  Somehow, seek God in a new way.
  • Allow yourself freedom in this new seeking to be uncomfortable.
  • It is as important to know what makes you uncomfortable as it is to know what makes you comfortable.
  • Sometimes, allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable will lead to new growth.
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • What peace did you notice?
  • Where do you find your strength?
  • What do you remember?
  • Throughout the day, allow yourself to come back to this time and try something new.  (If you are stuck in prayer, trying something new can lead to new life in prayer)
  • What praise comes to mind as a result of this time in prayer?
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:1-9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.

Exodus 3:1-15 – I have heard the cry of my people

Exodus 3:1-15 (NRSV)

1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.&dquo; 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:
This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.”


  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Remember a time God captured your attention like the burning bush.
  • Take off your sandals and let your feet feel the holy ground on which you stand.
  • As you feel the ground, allow that strength to move up through your body as if you are become rooted into the earth.
  • From this place of strength, invite yourself to explore a place where you are suffering.  What do you cry out to God? What taskmasters have hold of you?
  • What prayer emerges from this place?
  • God says, “I will be with you.”
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • God says, “I will be with you.”
  • What call to action do you receive?
  • God says, “I will be with you.”
  • Give thanks to God for this opportunity to seek strength in the midst of suffering.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 28, 2011,  the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:1-9-21
Matthew 16:21-28
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.