1 Corinthians 9:16-23 – I do it all for the sake of the gospel.

1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-23

16If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

19For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

  • 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 pay attention to you breath, notice what you have done for the sake of the gospel.
  • What gifts did God use in you?
  • How were you a vessel for God?
  • What did you let go so that you could accept this call?
  • What gift did God have for you?
  • Savor this gift.  Linger here to recognize the presence of God in this experience.
  • How is God calling you today for the sake of the gospel?
  • What gifts will God use in you?
  • How will you be a vessel for God?
  • What will you let go to answer this call?
  • What gift will God have 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, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 147 – Gathered and healed

PSALM 147:1-11, 20C

1   Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2   The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3   He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4   He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5   Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6   The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.

7   Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8   He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9   He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10  His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11  but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.

20c  Praise the 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 does God’s grace gather you in?
  • Where did God find you to bring you home?
  • What wounds did God bind to lead you toward wholeness?
  • How does God show God’s delight with your hope?
  • What is God’s message for you today?
  • How does God gather us in?
  • Where did God find us to bring us home?
  • What wounds did God bind to lead us toward wholeness?
  • How does God show God’s delight with our hope?
  • What is God’s message for us today?
  • Praise the Lord!  Give thanks for this time to be gathered in and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Isaiah 40:21-31 – Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength

ISAIAH 40:21-31

21  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22  It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23  who brings princes to naught,
and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24  Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25  To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26  Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.

27  Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28  Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29  He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30  Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31  but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What word or words capture your attention in the text above?
  • Sit with these words and let them wash over you.
  • Read the text again.
  • What is God’s message for you in these words?
  • Savor these words and this message and let them become part of you.
  • Where do they settle?
  • Notice any freedom that comes with this message.
  • Where is God in the freedom?
  • Notice any tension that comes with this message.
  • Where is God in the tension?
  • Read the text one more time.
  • Is there a call to action 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, February 4, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B 
Isaiah 40:21-31
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Mark 1:29-39

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Mark 1:21-28 A new teaching with authority

MARK 1:21-28

21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Remember a time when Jesus taught you with authority.
  • Remember the thought and feeling that overcame you.
  • Remember that thin space knowing you were in the presence of the Holy One.
  • Savor this thin space.
  • Believe that you will encounter Jesus Christ today.  Be open to knowing the encounter.  Be aware in mind, body, and spirit.
  • Live today in this expectancy.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on the people and the places you encountered Jesus Christ.
  • Notice any similarities of differences to the thin space you encountered in this prayer.
  • Give thanks to God for thin places, for encounters, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 28, 2018, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Food will not bring us close to God

1 CORINTHIANS 8:1-13

1Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3but anyone who loves God is known by him.

4Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth — as in fact there are many gods and many lords — 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

7It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.8“Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

  • 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 deep breath, notice which idol or idols are keeping your from Christ.
  • Remember you are in the presence of Christ.
  • Name the idol(s), repent, seek forgiveness, and hear the good news that Christ died for your sins.  You are forgiven.
  • Let go of the idol(s).  See Christ before you.  Breathe, and know you are forgiven.
  • Notice the freedom in your body.  Where do you feel lighter?
  • Take note of this lightening.
  • When you are faced with these idols again, seek Christ in this place of lightening.  Christ is always with you.
  • As you have time, notice an idol keeping the world from Christ.
  • Seek forgiveness for the world.
  • How are you called to spread the lightening in the world?
  • 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, January 28, 2018, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 111 …the works of his hands are faithful and just…

PSALM 111:1-10

1   Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2   Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
3   Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4   He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5   He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6   He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7   The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8   They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9   He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10  The 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 attention to the deep breath.
  • What power of God’s works captures your attention in this Psalm?
  • How is this power present in your life?
  • How is this power present in the world?
  • What heritage is promised to you?
  • What heritage is promised to the world?
  • What redemption is sent for you?
  • What redemption is sent for the world?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Allow this message to drench you.
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to be in God’s hands and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 28, 2018, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Deuteronomy 18:15-20 The Lord will raise up for you a prophet

DEUTERONOMY 18:15-20

15The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. 16This is what you requested of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the LORD my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” 17Then the LORD replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 20But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak — that prophet shall die.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit is silent meditation five to fifteen minutes paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your deep breath, lower or close your eyes as you feel led, focusing on the inward voice.
  • Seek the truth of the Lord within you.
  • What word of Christ lives within you?
  • Savor this word of Christ.
  • What word of truth within you is Christ calling you to share?
  • Who will receive this word of truth?
  • What is Christ’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in seeking the Truth and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 28, 2018, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm 111:1-10
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Mark 1:14-20 – Follow me and I will make you fish for people

MARK 1:14-20

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • As you begin to pay attention to your breath, allow the words “Follow me” to cover you.
  • Once you are completely covered with the words “Follow me”, breathe in the words “Follow me” allowing these words to fill you completely from the top of your head, to your fingertips to your toes.
  • As you continue to pay attention to the breath, how is God calling you to follow?
  • How will following God in this way make you fish for people?
  • What is the message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer, the breath, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 21, 2018, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

1 Corinthians 7:29-31- This world is passing away

1 CORINTHIANS 7:29-31

29I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

  • 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 read the text, consider what in your life has become more important than your discipleship.
  • How has this affected your relationship with God?
  • What is binding you?
  • Offer this to God.
  • Invite God to free you from that which is binding 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, January 21, 2018, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Psalm 62 – Trust in God at all times

PSALM 62:5-12

5   For God alone my soul waits in silence, 
          for my hope is from him. 
6   He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
          my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
7   On God rests my deliverance and my honor; 
          my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

8   Trust in him at all times, O people; 
          pour out your heart before him; 
          God is a refuge for us.                              Selah

9   Those of low estate are but a breath, 
          those of high estate are a delusion; 
     in the balances they go up; 
          they are together lighter than a breath. 
10  Put no confidence in extortion, 
          and set no vain hopes on robbery; 
          if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

11  Once God has spoken; 
          twice have I heard this: 
     that power belongs to God, 
12       and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. 
     For you repay to all 
          according to their work.

  • 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, notice the hope in your breath.
  • Allow this hope to be carried by your breath throughout your body filling your lungs
  • Filling your arms down to your finger tips
  • Filling your abdomen
  • Down into your legs, your calves, to the tips of your toes.
  • Filling your head, whispering hope into your hears
  • Allow the breath to break the silence.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • How does this message reflect God’s salvation?
  • Whose voice needs to be silenced so you can continue to hear God’s voice?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time with the breath and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 21, 2018, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings 
(c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD