1 Corinthians 1: 3-9 – God is faithful…we are called into fellowship

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, December 3, 2017, 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.  (c) 2017 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, December 3, 2017, 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.  (c) 2017 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, December 3, 2017, 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.  (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Matthew 25:31-46 – Are you feeding the hungry?

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

  • 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 have you been blessed by God?
  • How have you been a blessing to others?
  • What new blessings are you called to give to others?
  • How is your hunger fed, your thirst quenched?
  • Who feeds you?
  • Who welcomes you?
  • Who are you to welcome?
  • What is the message from God?
  • What call to action do you hear?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to recognize blessings 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 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

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

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 – Thanksgiving Day! 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 23, 2017, 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 (c) 2017 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 23, 2017, 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 (c) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Ephesians 1 – Christ head over all things for the church…

“The Return” by Jim Janknegt

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Find the eyes of your heart within you.
  • What enlightenment is waiting to be revealed to you?
  • To which hope is Christ calling you?
  • Allow these visions of your heart to rise up within you.
  • How do these visions shine forth from you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for the eyes of your heart, the visions you see, the light that shines forth, and all new things revealed to you.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

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 100 – Listen for a joyful noise…

PSALM 100:1-5

1   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
2        Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

3   Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4   Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5   For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Listen for a joyful noise.
  • What joyful noise do you hear?
  • How does this joyful noise resonate in you?
  • What joyful noise will you make in response?
  • What freedom does this create in you?
  • Notice your breath.
  • How do the joyful noise and your breath intertwine?
  • Does this bring to mind an image?
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time making joyful noise.  Give thanks for any new insights you have received.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

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

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 I will seek the lost…

EZEKIEL 34:11-16, 20-24

11For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

20Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.21Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • The Lord GOD is looking for you.
  • Are you hiding?
  • Do you want to be found?
  • Where will God find you?
  • What injuries to you need God to bind?
  • What needs to be strengthened within you?
  • Imagine God places you in a pasture with food and nourishment.
  • What do you experience there?
  • Who do you encounter there?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be found, to be healed, and to be fed.  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, November 26, 2017, Christ the King (Reign of Christ) Sunday (Year A)
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100: 1-5
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

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 25:14-30 – To all those who have more will be given

GOSPEL MATTHEW 25:14-30

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation, paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What account do you need to settle with your Master?
  • What is it that you have been given.
  • How have you grown this gift?
  • What abundance do you notice?
  • What freedom has grown with the gift?
  • What unfreedom have you discovered?
  • What new growth is your Master calling you to tend?
  • What do you need from your Master to move toward this new growth?
  •  Give thanks to God for this time to consider the gifts you have been given and the growth that has occurred with these gifts.  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, November 19, 2017, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123:1-4
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Matthew 25:14-30

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