Exodus 20:1-17 – You shall:

EXODUS 20:1-17

1Then God spoke all these words:

2I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9For six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13You shall not murder.

14You shall not commit adultery.

15You shall not steal.

16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Which commandment captures your attention today?
  • Continue to focus on this commandment in your mind and with your body.
  • What is going on in your life that connects with this commandment?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Spend a few minutes allowing this message to become part of you.  Where do you feel it in your body?  What awareness is heightened?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • 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, March 4, 2018, the Third Sunday in Lent Year B 
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 94:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

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 8:31-38 Take up your cross and follow me

MARK 8:31-38

31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

  • Light  a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Scan your mind to let go of human things.
  • If you need to write them down, keep a pad of paper next to you.  Write it down and let it go as you make yourself more available to the Holy.
  • Continue this exercise until you feel freedom and light.  Remain in freedom and light as you pay attention to the deep breath.
  • What cross do you need to take up today to follow Christ?
  • What will you deny in you to take up this cross?
  • What is God’s message for you in this cross?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Take up the cross.  Carry it today.  Follow Christ.  Share the Gospel.
  • Give thanks to God for the good news of the Gospel and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 4, 2012, the Second Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

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

Romans 4:13-25 His faith was reckoned to him as righteousness

ROMANS 4:13-25

13For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”) — the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Consider creation today.  If it seems fitting, spend your time in prayer outside or by a window today.
  • What do you notice about God’s creation?
  • What new growth do you see?
  • What strikes you as impossible without God?
  • Consider how God is at work in your life, continually creating.
  • What do you notice about God’s creating in you?
  • What strikes you as impossible without God?
  • What response to God rises within you?
  • What message does God have for you to proclaim?
  • Who shall hear the message?
  • 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 25, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

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 22- Praise Him! Glorify Him!

PSALM 22:23-31

23  You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24  For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

25  From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26  The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD.
May your hearts live forever!

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28  For dominion belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

29  To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30  Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31  and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who first told you about the Lord?
  • What vivid remembrances to you have as a child?  a teenager? an adult?
  • As you have this chance to reflect on your relationship with God, what message have you been given to share with the next generation?
  • What message does a child need to hear?
  • What message does someone in despair need to hear?
  • What message does the world need to hear?
  • Is there a call to action for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and reflection 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 25, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

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

Genesis 17 – Walk before me and be blameless

Shkolnik, Dmitry, 1960-. Icon of Abraham, Sarah, and Moses, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55123 [retrieved February 27, 2012

GENESIS 17:1-7, 15-16

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” 3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.”

15God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Consider using  a breath prayer as you sit in silence.  Inhale with the word “everlasting,” and exhale with the word “covenant.”  Everlasting…covenant.  Allow these words to cover you outside and inside as you breathe.
  • How has God been faithful to you as he was with Abraham and Sarah?
  • How have you been faithful to God?
  • How do you need to see God’s faithfulness?
  • How is God calling you to be faithful in a new way?
  • 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 25, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm 22:23-31
Romans 4:13-25
Mark 8:31-38

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 1:9-15 – Be held by the water

“Temptation of Christ” by Jim Janknegt. Used with permission.

MARK 1:9-15

9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

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.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent mediation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • This week we contemplate our baptism.  Remember once again the waters blessing you.
  • As you remember the seal of baptism, notice the temptation(s) which surround you.
  • What strength do you need to keep you from the temptation(s)?
  • Believe that Christ’s love is strong enough to keep you from the temptations.
  • Allow Christ to send angels into your life to wait on you.
  • What do you need to let go to let the angels surround you?
  • What is keeping you from letting go?
  • Remember the water blessing you.  Allow the water to was away the things keeping you from letting go.
  • Be held by the water.
  • Believe the good news.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to remember baptism 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 18, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

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 Peter 3:18-22 – Made alive in the Spirit

1 PETER 3:18-22

18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you — not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

  • 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 saved by water?
  • Notice how the water feels on your skin?  In your mouth?
  • What freedom do you receive in the water?
  • Focus on the freedom in the water.
  • Be held in freedom in the water.
  • Remember your baptismal vows.
  • What sins can you release as you are being held?
  • Let them go.
  • Be held in the forgiveness of  Christ who suffered for sins once and for all.
  • Be bathed in the goodness of the Light.
  • What message does Christ have for you today?
  • Give thanks to God through Christ 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 18, 2018, the First Sunday in Lent Year B 
Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

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

Ash Wednesday: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21: Do not be hypocrites

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

1“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Notice how the space around you creates a safe a holy space for you.  How is God present in this space with you today?
  • In the privacy of this space set apart for your time of prayer today, how do you wish to recognize your relationship with God?  Do you want to sing and dance?  Do you want to write a love letter to God?  Do you want to paint your treasure?
  • In this safe space, thieves cannot come in and steal these holy treasures.
  • During Lent, you are invited to notice how you authentically desire to respond to God in relationship.
  • Savor these treasures.  Take mental pictures of them so that you may call upon the memories when you need to be reminded of your heavenly treasures.
  • Savor this time in prayer.
  • 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 Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday Year B

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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

Ash Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10: We are treated as imposters and yet are true

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

5:20bwe entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6:1As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see — we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Remember a time of grace in your life, a time when you know you encountered the Holy One.
  • In the season of Lent, we are invited to bring our hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labor, sleepless nights and hunger.  We are invited to take them into the wilderness and examine them.
  • What is it in me that needs to respond to these hardships?
  • How are my deepest desires threatened in these hardships?
  • Seek God in these hardships.  knowing God is not causing these hardships, how is God present for you?
  • How does God desire for you to respond?
  • Where do you find the purity of God:  in knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, and truthful speech.  How does the fruit of the Spirit lead you to respond?
  • 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 Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday Year B

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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

Midday Prayer for Ash Wednesday: Psalm 51:1-17: Teach me wisdom in my sacred heart

Psalm 51:1-17

1   Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2   Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

3   For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4   Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
5   Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6   You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7   Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8   Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9   Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11   Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14  Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

15  O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16  For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes, bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Invite God to teach you wisdom in your sacred heart.
  • What false teachings need to be cleaned and removed to make room for the wisdom God has for you?
  • Embrace this wisdom.
  • Wear the sign of the cross to show this wisdom.
  • If you are not able to attend a service today to receive the imposition of ashes, make the sign of the cross on your own forehead.
  • You wear the sign of the broken spirit.
  • You wear the sign of the broken spirit being made new.
  • You wear the sign of the broken spirit being made new and ushering hope into the world.
  • 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 Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Ash Wednesday Year B

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:20
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

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