Genesis 32:22-31 – Wrestling with God

Genesis 32:22-31

22The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Like Jacob, we wrestle with God.
  • Notice how your body desires to wrestle with God today.
  • What words come to you in the struggle?
  • Which joint is out of socket for you?
  • Allow your attention to go to this disjointed place.
  • What does this disjointed place need to say?
  • How do you wish to respond and connect to the conversation with this disjointed place?
  • Invite God’s healing into this place.
  • What blessing do you receive?
  • 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 6, 2017, the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 17:1-7, 15
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:13-21

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

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 – Bring out of your treasure what is new and what is old

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

31He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Imagine you are a scribe at the feet of Jesus training for the kingdom of heaven.
  • Select one of the parables above to be your guide.
  • Read the parable aloud to the others seated around you.
  • Sit and listen.
  • Read the parable aloud as if you are a teacher of preschool children.  What picture/visual comes to mind to go along with the parable?
  • Sit and listen.
  • Read the parable aloud so that you may hear more clearly.  What words resonate with you?
  • Sit and listen.
  • 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, July 30, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Psalm 128:1-6
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

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

Romans 8:26-39 – Nothing can separate us from the love of God

Romans 8:26-39

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
    • Rien ne peut nous séparer de l’amour de Dieu en Jésus-Christ.
    • Nada puede separarnos del amor de Dios en Cristo Jesús.
  • 沒有什麼可以使我們脫離基督耶穌對上帝的愛
  • Nichts kann uns von der Liebe Gottes in Christus Jesus trennen.
  • 그리스도 예수 안에서 우리를 하나님의 사랑에서 분리시킬 수있는 것은 없습니다.
  •  لا شيء يمكن أن يفصلنا عن محبة الله في المسيح يسوع.
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
  • 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, July 30, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
Psalm 128:1-6
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

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

    Psalm 128:1-6 – It shall go well with you

    Psalm 128:1-6

    1Happy is everyone who fears the LORD,

    who walks in his ways.

    2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;

    you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

    3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine

    within your house;

    your children will be like olive shoots

    around your table.

    4Thus shall the man be blessed

    who fears the LORD.

    5The LORD bless you from Zion.

    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem

    all the days of your life.

    6May you see your children’s children.

    Peace be upon Israel!

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • Do an Examen of your day yesterday.
    • What gave you life?
    • Notice the fruit of labor, the fruitful vine, the happiness, the prosperity, the peace.
    • What took life away from you?
    • Notice the failed harvest, the withering vine, the desolation, going through the motions, the anxiety.
    • Hold both of these before you: those things that gave you life and those things that took life away from you.
    • Invite God in these things that you hold before you.
    • Seek the fruit of the Spirit in these things that you hold in your hand:  love, joy, peace, patience, calmness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.
    • 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, July 30, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 29:15-28
    Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
    Psalm 128:1-6
    Romans 8:26-39
    Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

    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

    Genesis 29:15-28 – Deception

    Genesis 29:15-28

    15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. 18Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

    21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. 23But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. 24(Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) 25When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26Laban said, “This is not done in our country — giving the younger before the firstborn. 27Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

    • 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 the recipient of deception.
    • Where does do you feel this pain in your body?
    • As you remember it today, let your focus go to this pain.  Invite God into the space.  Listen.
    • What new healing does God have for you?
    • Remember a time when you were the agent of deception.
    • Where does do you feel this pain in your body?
    • As you remember it today, let your focus go to this pain.  Invite God into the space.  Listen.
    • What new healing does God have for you?
    • Hold the new healing in your hands.
    • 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, July 30, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 29:15-28
    Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
    Psalm 128:1-6
    Romans 8:26-39
    Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

    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

    Psalm 105:1-11, 45b – Call on his name

    Psalm 105:1-11, 45b

    1O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name,

    make known his deeds among the peoples.

    2Sing to him, sing praises to him;

    tell of all his wonderful works.

    3Glory in his holy name;

    let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

    4Seek the LORD and his strength;

    seek his presence continually.

    5Remember the wonderful works he has done,

    his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,

    6O offspring of his servant Abraham,

    children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

    7He is the LORD our God;

    his judgments are in all the earth.

    8He is mindful of his covenant for ever,

    of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

    9the covenant that he made with Abraham,

    his sworn promise to Isaac,

    10which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

    to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

    11saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan

    as your portion for an inheritance.”

    45bPraise 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.
    • As you settle into your breath, what name of God is close to you today?  (Use this name of God which is close to you for the remainder of the meditation today.)
    • Call upon _____.
    • How do you desire to sing praise to _____?
    • How do you see _____’s glorious works today?
    • Seek ____: ____’s strength and ____’s presence.
    • Seek ____ in all things.
    • What do you desire from ____ today?
    • How do you desire to honor ____’s covenant with you today?
    • How do you desire to honor ____’s covenant with the world today?
    • How do you desire to embrace _____’s inheritance with you today?
    • How do you desire to embrace ____’s inheritance with the world today?
    • What is your message from _____?
    • Give thanks to _____ 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, July 30, 2017, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 29:15-28
    Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
    Psalm 128:1-6
    Romans 8:26-39
    Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

    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

    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 – Did you not sow good seed in your field?

    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

    36Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • Imagine yourself in the field.
    • Notice the people of good sown seed around you.
    • Notice the joy these people bring!
    • Give thanks to God for these beloved people.
    • Notice the people of weed sown seed around you.
    • With faith, hope, and love, share your joy with these people.
    • Give thanks to God for these beloved people.
    • 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, July 23, 2017, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 28:10-19a
    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
    Romans 8:12-25
    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    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

    Romans 8:12-25 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God

    Romans 8:12-25

    12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

    18I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • Notice hope in you.
    • What hope do you see?
    • Expectant hope.
    • Let your attention go to your body.  Where is your body groaning inwardly?
    • Describe this place of groaning.
    • What unseen hope does this place  in you desire?
    • Invite the unseen hope into the place of groaning.
    • What do you notice?
    • Invite expectant hope to heal this place of groaning.
    • 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, July 23, 2017, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 28:10-19a
    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
    Romans 8:12-25
    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    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

    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 – You hem me in

    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

    1   O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
    2   You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
    3   You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
    4   Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O LORD, you know it completely.
    5   You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
    6   Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

    7   Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
    8   If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
    9   If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
    10  even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.
    11  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
    12  even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

    23  Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
    24  See if there is any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • As you inhale, allow the Breath to search you.
    • As you exhale, allow the Breath to eliminate the wicked way.
    • As you continue this practice, are there any secrets hidden in you for the Breath to unbind and free you?
    • Allow the Breath to create as much freedom in you as possible today.
    • How do you desire to be led to the way everlasting?
    • Sit and listen.  Let the Breath guide 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, July 23, 2017, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 28:10-19a
    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
    Romans 8:12-25
    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    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

    Genesis 28:10-19a – Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!

    Genesis 28:10-19a

    10Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And the LORD stood beside him and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place — and I did not know it!” 17And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

    18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19aHe called that place Bethel;

    • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
    • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
    • Dreams are windows to the soul.
    • We must take time to tend the soul and to tend our dreams.
    • Seek the fruit of the Spirit in your dreams.
    • God desires for you to find a place of promise and peace.
    • There is a place you will encounter God, a place you did not know you will find God.
    • Do you have a sense of this place?
    • Stay alert in your dreams and your day dreams.
    • God has something new for you to hear.
    • Sit and listen.
    • 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, July 23, 2017, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

    Genesis 28:10-19a
    Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
    Romans 8:12-25
    Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    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