Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 – Gathered in

Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37

1   O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2   Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3   and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

4   Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5   hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7   he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.

33  He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34   fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35  He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36  And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
37  they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Once you have found freedom with the Breath, do a quick scan of your body.
  • What places in you are wounded and in need of attention?
  • Invite God to gather these places together as God embraces you with love and compassion.
  • Is there a river that needs to stop to that you can cross the dry land?
  • Is there dry land that needs to be quenched with springs of water?
  • Is there a place of hunger that God will  nourish while the fields are established?
  • Is there fruit to harvest and celebrate?
  • In all things give praise and glorify God for God is in all things.
  • 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, November 5, 2017, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 3:7-17
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Matthew 23:1-12

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

Joshua 3:7-17 – Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God

Joshua 3:7-17

7The LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses.8You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’”9Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God.” 10Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: 11the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. 12So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”

14When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. 15Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest. So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, 16the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Let your attention be with the long-awaited anticipation you are holding in you.
  • How is God preparing you to enter into the promise of this anticipation?
  • Draw near and hear the words of the Lord your God.
  • Without fail God will be with you as you drive out your enemies.
  • Without fail God will guide you.
  • Without fail the covenant promises of God will come.
  • Let go of any tension that arises.  Return to the Breath.
  • 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, November 5, 2017, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 3:7-17
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Matthew 23:1-12

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 22:34-46 – Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?

Matthew 22:34-46

34When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39and a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42“What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
44  ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Inhale the greatest commandment.  Exhale anything any obstacles keeping you from embracing the greatest commandment and the one like it.
  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart.
  • Love the lord your God with all your soul.
  • Love the Lord your God with all your mind.
  • Love your neighbor.
  • Love yourself.
  • Hear Christ say these commandments before your enemies.
  • Pray that their hearts will be softened and that they will see and know why is was so important for God to walk side-by-side humanity again and teach them, again, the greatest commandment.
  • How is God walking side-by-side you today teaching you/us, again, the greatest commandment?
  • 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, October 29, 2017, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

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

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 – We had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

1You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Expand your focus to the community of Christ gentle around you, like a nurse tenderly caring for you.
  • Describe the deep caring and compassion in the breath that connects you to the earth and to one another.
  • Notice how you desire to be held in this community.
  • And notice how the desire arises in you to share this caring, compassion and gospel with others.
  • 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, October 29, 2017, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

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 90:1-6, 13-17- Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

1   Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
2   Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3   You turn us back to dust,
and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
4   For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.

5   You sweep them away; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6   in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

13  Turn, O LORD! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!
14  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15  Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
and as many years as we have seen evil.
16  Let your work be manifest to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17  Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands —
O prosper the work of our hands!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • The time in which we live is just a few seconds in the comprehensive story of God.
  • How much of this time are you rejoicing with God?
  • The space in which we live is just a small dot in the vast universe of God.
  • When and where do you dwell with God in creation?
  • Be present in this moment.
  • How will you be at work for God in this moment? In this day?
  • Embrace the steadfast love of God.  Rejoice and be glad!
  • 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, October 29, 2017, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

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

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 – Full of the spirit of wisdom

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

1Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the LORD showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3the Negeb, and the Plain — that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees — as far as Zoar. 4The LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5Then Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. 8The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

9Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the LORD had commanded Moses.

10Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. 11He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, 12and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Moses laid hands upon Joshua and anointed him with the spirit of wisdom.
  • Let your focus today be with the ones who have anointed you with the spirit of wisdom.
  • Remember how it feels for someone to lay hands upon you.  Describe the energy shared and the trust imparted to you.
  • What desire does the spirit of wisdom stir in you?
  • How does God desire for you to lead God’s people with this spirit of wisdom?
  • 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, October 29, 2017, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46

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 22:15-22 – Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?

Matthew 22:15-22

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?“ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • In a place of freedom, let your focus move to a place where you are being tested by hypocrites.
  • Notice how you feel.
  • Describe the details.
  • Hold these in one hand.
  • Now consider how you are testing others as a hypocrite.
  • Notice how you feel.
  • Describe the details.
  • Hold these in the other hand.
  • Invite one hand to speak to the other hand.
  • What conversations need to take place?
  • What are you learning about yourself?
  • Give to the world what is the world’s.
  • Give to God what is God’s.
  • 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, October 22, 2017, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

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

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 – In spite of persecution you received the Word with joy

Matt Herron Selma-Montgomery, Alabama 3/21/1965March leaders (wearing leis) prepare to leave Selma at the start of the third march. From left to right: John Lewis, a nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today is a new beginning.
  • Today is a new beginning for the church.
  • Hear the good news proclaimed, the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Yet, there are those in your circles of influence who persecute in the name of God and tempt you to return to other idols.
  • Remember anew why you turn to God in Christ.
  • Remember anew the hope you carry.
  • Remember anew the vision of a world at peace.
  • Remember anew the love within.
  • 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, October 22, 2017, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

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 99:1-9 – Worship at God’s holy mountain

Psalm 99:1-9

1   The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2   The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3   Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Holy is he!
4  Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5   Extol the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool.
Holy is he!

6   Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.
7   He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
they kept his decrees,
and the statutes that he gave them.

8   O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9   Extol the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Sit at God’s footstool.
  • Worship at God’s holy mountain.
  • Worship with God on the holy mountain.
  • Notice the view and all that you can see.
  • Invite the question you desire God to answer today.
  • Be in God’s presence to listen, to hear, to see, to taste, to touch, to know.
  • Notice the view and all that you can sense.
  • Sit and be.  Let the words arise from within 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, October 22, 2017, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

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

Exodus 33:12-23 – My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest

Exodus 33:12-23

12Moses said to the LORD, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

17The LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” 19And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The LORD’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” 21And the LORD continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Once you find freedom, let your attention move to your faith.
  • Where do you struggle with your faith today?
  • Where to you need God to show you whom God will send with you?
  • How will these people see God’s favor in you?
  • How do you need to experience God’s glory?
  • As you explore these questions, where do you notice tension in your body?
  • With each breath, inhale the goodness of God moving before you.  Allow the goodness in each breath to release the tension you hold.
  • Experience God’s grace and God’s mercy.
  • Name the freedom God is giving 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, October 22, 2017, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99:1-9
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

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