Advent – 2 Peter 3 – We wait for new heavens and a new earth…

2 PETER 3:8-15A

8But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

11Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What fire is consuming you in the midst of waiting?
  • What is the fire burning?
  • How can the fire be contained?
  • Allow the charred remains to settle, and let them go.
  • What new thing are you able to hold now that you have let go?
  • Allow God to nurture this new thing.
  • Growth will rise in the charred remains.
  • What hope do you have in this new growth?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be in the fire, to let go, and to consider new growth.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

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 85- The hope of God’s touch…

PSALM 85:1-2, 8-13

1   LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2   You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you pardoned all their sin.                                              Selah

8   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10  Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11  Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12  The LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13  Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Where do you notice God’s touch…
  • in the world?
  • in the people around you?
  • in creation?
  • in you?
  • As you consider all of these places where God touches God’s creation, what similarities to you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Where do you need to feel God’s touch?
  • Pray for you to be open to receive God’s touch in God’s time.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to reflect on the ways God interacts in the world and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

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

Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort my people

ISAIAH 40:1-11

1   Comfort, O comfort my people,
says your God.
2   Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord”s hand
double for all her sins.

3   A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4   Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5   Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

6   A voice says, “Cry out!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7   The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people are grass.

8   The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.
9   Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10  See, the Lord GOD comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11  He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.

  • 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 is withering and fading as you wait this advent season?
  • Is this your desire?
  • Is this God’s desire?
  • What word of God stands forever for you today?
  • Do you notice any comfort in these words?
  • Savor the comfort.
  • What hope do you see?
  • Embrace this hope.
  • Allow God to embrace you as you hold on to the hope.
  • As you leave God’s arms, hold this hope lightly.
  • Share this hope with someone today.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in hope and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

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

The Need for Silence

“The Need for Silence” by Richard Rohr

We don’t know how to take joy in simple things anymore because, frankly, we are sated. You and I have had so much thrown at us! Unless we choose to deliberately under-stimulate ourselves, I don’t think we can reasonably talk about spirituality. We don’t really taste, suffer, enjoy, feel the images that come our way. Westerners have a mania for experience.

Descartes said, I think, therefore I am.

For us it is I experience, therefore I am.

But I’m pretty much convinced experiences don’t change people; realization does. I think of all the powerful experiences that I’ve had. But only when I taste my experiences enough so they become realizations, do I change. That takes time and space. Put time and space together and you have a new definition of silence. We’ve got to create some kind of space so our images can become realizations.

Unless we choose silence, I don’t think a lot of this is going to happen. I don’t think were going to become willing people. We become, instead, willful people, trying to make the world fit our needs. Will triumphs instead of the Spirit. Silence alone is spacious enough to allow Spirit and to let go of will-fullness. Silence makes us willing instead of willful.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Notice the silence.
  • What do you need to put aside to be silent?  Write it down if you need to help let go of it.
  • What experience within you needs time and space?
  • Allow this experience into your focus.
  • Savor the experience.
  • What new thoughts do you have about the experience?
  • Where is God in the experience?
  • How has time and space given you more realization?
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to deepen the experience 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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

Mark 13:24-37 Keep Awake

GOSPEL MARK 13:24-37

24“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25  and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What needs to be kept awake in you today?
  • What is making you sleepy?
  • Invite God into this place making you sleepy.
  • Ask God to keep you awake.
  • Do you notice any new freedom?
  • Is there new space created in you?
  • Tap into the energy that is keeping you awake?
  • Savor the energy.
  • Notice how to return to this energy.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be fully awake 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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

1 Corinthians 1: 3-9 God is faithful

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus,5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind — 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you — 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • How you are waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • Read through the text a second time.
  • How are you waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed in you?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • Read through the text a third time.
  • How are you waiting for Jesus Christ to be revealed in the world?
  • How will this continue to strengthen you?
  • How will you respond?
  • 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, November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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

Thanks be to God for God’s indescribable gift!

2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-15

6The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

  • A morning reflection:
  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • With each inhale recognize something for which you are thankful.
  • With each exhale let go of anything that is keeping you from Christ’s presence with you.
  • What seed have you been supplied?
  • How has this seed multiplied?
  • Describe the harvest.  How is God present in the harvest?
  • Give thanks for the harvest and for God’s presence with you.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

GOSPEL LUKE 17:11-19

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

  • An evening reflection:
  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • In the midst of thanksgiving, what affliction has hold of you?
  • As you feel led, prostrate yourself before Jesus, asking for healing.
  • How does Jesus heal you?
  • Savor this time at Jesus’ feet giving thanks.
  • How does Jesus restore you with himself?
  • How does Jesus restore you with yourself?
  • How does Jesus restore you with your community?
  • Notice how your faith has made you well.
  • 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 Thursday, November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving Day, Year A 
Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-16
Luke 17:11-19

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

Eve of Thanksgiving – How will you give thanks to God?

DEUTERONOMY 8:7-18

7For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, 8a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. 10You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.

11Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the breath.
  • Where do you notice God’s power within you?
  • Focus on this place within you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that leads you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that holds you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that comforts you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that strengthens you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that loves you unconditionally.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that transforms you.
  • Give thanks for this power of God that sustains you.
  • Rest in the power of God.
  • Feel this power and presence of God grow within you.
  • Move anything out the way that threatens this growth.
  • How is God calling you to share this growth?
  • Give thanks to God always!  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

PSALM 65

1   Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2        O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3   When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
4   Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.

5   By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
6   By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
7   You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
8   Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

9   You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10  You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11  You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12  The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13  the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, November 24, 2011, Thanksgiving Day, Year A 
Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-16
Luke 17:11-19

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 80 – Restore us, O God

Break through...

PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19

1   Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2        before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!

3   Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

4   O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5   You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6   You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.

7   Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

17  But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18   Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.

19  Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Look into the light of the candle.
  • Or if you are sitting next to a window, look at the light that dances on the landscape.
  • Seek God in the light.
  • How is the face of God reaching out to you in the light?
  • Allow the light to shine upon your face.
  • Allow the light to penetrate you with warmth and love.
  • Embrace this warmth and love.
  • See God’s face shining upon you.
  • Embrace God’s saving grace that is a gift for you.
  • Carry this light and this gift with you throughout the day.
  • Share this gift with those you encounter.
  • At the end of the day, spend some time to reflect upon the ways you are able to let God shine through you.
  • Give thanks to God for this day to share in the light 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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

Isaiah 64:1-9 – Breaking through to us…

ISAIAH 64:1-9

1   O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —
2   as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence
3   When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4   From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5   You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6   We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7   There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity
8   Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9   Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you read through this passage from Isaiah, consider a time you did not call upon the name of the Lord.
  • What do you remember about this time?
  • Notice any tension you feel in your body.
  • Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.
  • Read through the passage a second time.
  • How did God break through to you?
  • In what way(s) did God remold and reshape you?
  • If there is still tension in your body, invite God into this tension.
  • Offer a cry for forgiveness.  Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.  Breathe in the breath of God.  Breathe out the tension.
  • Allow God to heal this tension in you and to give you freedom in its place.
  • Breathe in freedom.  Breathe out tension.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in reconciliation 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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