John 6:56-69 – We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God

John 6:56-69

56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

  • 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.
  • Many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with Jesus.
  • Remember a time you turned away from Jesus.
  • What was it that made you repent and return to him?
  • How did the Bread of Life capture your attention and nourish you?
  • How are you turned today?
  • How will the Holy One of God give you life?
  • Is there something you need to let go to be fully turned toward Christ?
  • 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, August 26, 2012, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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

Ephesians 6: 10-20 Put on the whole armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

  • 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 breathe, begin to put on the armor of God.
  • First, discern what God will help you stand against.
  • Second, discern what God will help you stand for.
  • Imagine yourself putting on each piece of the armor.
  • Begin with the belt of truth.
  • Name truth.
  • Add the breastplate of righteousness.
  • Name righteousness.
  • Add the shoes that will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
  • Name the peace.
  • Take up the shield of faith.
  • Name faith.
  • Put on the helmet of salvation.
  • Name salvation.
  • Hold the sword of the Spirit.
  • Name the word of God that comes to mind.
  • Spend several minutes paying close attention to the close breath as you feel God’s armor
  • What message is God preparing you to speak boldly?
  • 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 26, 2012, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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 84 – How lovely is your dwelling place

Psalm 84:1-12

1How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.
Selah
5Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Selah
9Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
10For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in 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.
  • Better is one day in the house of the Lord than thousands elsewhere.
  • Imagine one day in the house of the Lord.
  • Where are you?
  • Who is with you?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you feel?
  • Stay as long as you desire and be filled with the goodness of God.
  • How will you carry the house of the Lord with 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, August 26, 2012, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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 Kings 8 – There is no God like you

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43

1Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

6Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

10And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

22Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23He said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25Therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.

27“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.”

41“Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42 — for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm — when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, 43then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.”

  • 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 turn toward Christ, feel the mighty hand and outstretched arm of God enfold you.
  • Remain here in the arms of  God, and gain strength from God.
  • Offer your pleas, let go of your burdens, and drink in the forgiveness God has for you.
  • Invite God into places that need healing and wholeness.
  • Be bathed in the light of forgiveness.  Feel the warmth penetrate you.
  • Who else needs to be bathed in the light of love?
  • 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, August 26, 2012, the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11) 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84:1-12
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6: 56-69

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

John 6:51-58 – The Bread that came down from heaven

John 6:51-58

51“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

  • 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.
  • The bread of life came down from heaven for you.
  • What bread have you received recently?
  • How does this bread give you life?
  • How does this bread give life to the world?
  • What bread do you need today?
  • What bread does the world need today?
  • Give thanks to God for God’s abiding love 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 19, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6: 51-58

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

Ephesians 5:15-20 Giving thanks to God at all times

Ephesians 5:15-20

15Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 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 breathe, consider your day yesterday.
  • Which parts of the day were filled with God’s wisdom?
  • Which parts of the day did you control?
  • What do you need to let go for the entire day to be filled with God’s wisdom?
  • Consider the day ahead of you today.
  • Where do you need help letting go of control so that God’s wisdom will shine through?
  • Invite the Holy Spirit into these places.
  • Invoke the Holy Spirit before you speak and act.
  • Listen for God’s wisdom to shine through.
  • 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 19, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:35, 51-58

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 111- I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart

2 Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.

Psalm 111:1-10

1Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

  • 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 the breath, feel the breath reach all parts of your body: to the top of your head, to the tips of your fingers, to the soles of your feet.
  • Feel the breath restore you.
  • Let your attention come to your heart.
  • Notice all the things in your heart that give glory to God.
  •  Is there anything in your heart that is keeping you from giving your whole heart to God?
  • Imagine taking out anything keeping you from God so that your whole heart delights in the Lord.
  • Allow the warmth of this fullness to shine in you.
  • Where does the warmth travel in your body?
  • Where does the warmth travel beyond your body?
  • Is there someone that needs to feel this warmth of God that shines through 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, August 19, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:35, 51-58

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 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 – Understanding to discern what is right

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14

10Then David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. 11The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.

3:3Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.

4The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.

9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” 10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

13I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”

  • 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, consider the discernment with which you wrestle.
  • Ask the question out loud or, perhaps, write it down.
  • What do you need from God?
  • Come up with a tentative answer.
  • How does this answer fit you?
  • How does this answer fit your community?
  • Continue to pray about the answer during the day.
  • Share your answer with a trusted advisor.
  • Does the answer continue to fit you?
  • Do you find freedom in the answer?
  • Consider the mind of Christ.
  • Does the answer bring glory to God?
  • 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, August 19, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14
Psalm 111:1-10
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:35, 51-58

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

John 6:35, 41-51 – I am the bread of life

John 6:35, 41-51

35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

41Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

  • 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 manna from the wilderness have you consumed?
  • Did this manna fill you?
  • For what did you still hunger?
  • How does the Bread of Life fill you completely?
  • Do a quick survey of your mind and body.
  • For what do you hunger?
  • How will Christ feed 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, August 12, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

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

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 – Be imitators of God

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

25So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

  • 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 the breath, consider ways you are an imitator of God.
  • What have you put away to be kind and forgiving to one another?
  • Is there something you need to put away now?
  • As you pay attention to the breath, consider ways your community is an imitator of God.
  • What has the community put away to be kind and forgiving to one another?
  • Is there something your community needs to put away now?
  • 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, August 12, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

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