Acts 10:44-48 The Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word

 ACTS 10:44-48

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

  • 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 this text, feel the Holy Spirit fall upon you.
  • Remember when you felt the Holy Spirit for the first time.
  • Go back to that time and place.
  • Where are you?
  • Who is with you?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you smell?
  • Be held in this place, savoring this time.
  • Give glory to God in the words that come to you.
  • Savor.
  • When you are ready consider the following:
  • How is the Holy Spirit with you today?
  • What do you notice in the leading of the Spirit?
  • Who needs to hear the Word?
  • Is there a call to action from God?
  • Give thanks to God for sending the Holy Spirit, 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, May 6, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98:1-9
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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.

John 15:1-8 – Apart from me you can do nothing…

JOHN 15:1-8

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Allow the breath to reach every inch of you, the branch.
  • What fruit is being produced in you?
  • Is it the same harvest time after time?
  • Or does Christ need to prune the branch for more fruit to grow?
  • Is there part of the branch no longer producing fruit that needs to be removed?
  • What new fruit will be made?
  • What temptation creates a danger for your branch to wither?
  • Turn away from this temptation and abide in Christ.
  • Savor the fruit that is growing.
  • 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, May 6, 2012, the Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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.

1 John 4:7-21 Love casts out fear…

1 JOHN 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

  • 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.
  • God is love.
  • As you pay attention to the breath, breathe in God’s love.
  • As you exhale, let go of any hatred that you encounter.
  • Continue to inhale God’s love and exhale any hatred of one another.
  • Continue as you open yourself as fully as possible to God.
  • Remember a time when you first realized God loves you.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  feel?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Remember a time when God turned your hatred into love.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  feel?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Remember a time when God turns oppression into love.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  fee.?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Consider each remembrance.  Are there similarities?  Differences?  Expectancies?  Surprises?
  • 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, April 29, 2018, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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!

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, April 29, 2018, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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.

Acts 8:26-40 Do you understand what you are reading?

ACTS 8:26-40

26Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33  In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” [37And Phillip said,“If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who has proclaimed to you the good news about Jesus?
  • How have the scriptures been opened for you?
  • What study has been most meaningful for you?
  • What led to your baptism in Christ?
  • Did anything prevent you from being baptized?
  • As you search your heart today, what is preventing you from living your baptism fully?
  • The Living Water is present.
  • What do you need to repent to turn back fully to Christ?
  • Feel the cleansing of the water as you let go of anything keeping you from Christ.
  • Savor this moment of peace.
  • As you go about your day living your baptism as fully a possible, tap into this place of peace and love.
  • 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, April 29, 2018, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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.

John 10:11-18 – Celebrate the Good Shepherd

JOHN 10:11-18

11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away — and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

  • 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 Good Shepherd is calling the flock to follow.
  • What do you hear?
  • How do you follow?
  • How does Jesus know you?
  • How do you know Jesus’ voice?
  • What sheep not currently in the fold will Jesus bring in?
  • How will they know his voice?
  • What part of you needs to be brought into the fold?
  • What do you need to hear from your Good Shepherd?
  • Believe that Jesus has the power to help his sheep.
  • Jesus wants to help you.
  • Give thanks to God for the Good Shepherd, 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, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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 John 3:16-24 – Let us love in truth and action…

1 JOHN 3:16-24

16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

  • 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.
  • Breathe intentionally a deep belly breath.  Relax your shoulders.  Let your belly button extend toward the far wall.  Then let go and push out anything you need to let go.  Continue to breathe this deeply.
  • Inhale love………….Exhale hatred.
  • Inhale peace………..Exhale fracture.
  • Inhale hope………….Exhale disbelief.
  • Continue to breathe and accept God’s love.
  • Remember a time someone gave their life for you.
  • Go back to that time and place.  Reenter the experience as much as you can.  What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel?
  • What did you need?
  • How did this person give you life?
  • How did this person give you love?
  • What was your response?
  • From this side of the experience, where did you see Christ?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • As you go about your day and see a brother or sister in need of love, will you give life?  Or will you refuse?
  • Be open to those who need life and love.
  • 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, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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 23 – He leads me beside still waters

PSALM 23:1-6

1   The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2        He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3        he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

4   Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff —
they comfort me.

5   You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
my whole life long.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Come and sit by the water.
  • Sit in Christ’s presence.
  • Set other cares aside so that you can sit and be with the Lord.
  • Notice what it feels like to sit and be with the Lord.
  • From this place of love, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of gentleness, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of peace, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of surrender, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of goodness, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of mercy, let the Lord lead you.
  • Hold this place of love, gentleness, peace, surrender, goodness, and mercy.  Breathe in this place where you dwell with the Lord.  Carry it with you today.
  • Breathe in this place before you make decisions.
  • Breathe in this place before you speak.
  • Breathe in this place before you act.
  • Let Christ lead your day.
  • Take time to reflect at the end of the day.  Where did Christ lead 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, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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

Acts 4:5-12 – The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone

ACTS 4:5-12

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is 
     ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; 
          it has become the cornerstone.’ 
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must 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.
  • Who is holding you prisoner today for something you have done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
  • How long have you been imprisoned?
  • Do you need to spend more time there?  Or are you ready to be released?
  • To be released you must face the local rulers.
  • During an inquiry of local rulers, what will your response be?
  • What cornerstone will you draw upon?
  • What truth do you need to share with the local rulers?
  • What risk do you perceive?
  • What strength do you need to take this risk?
  • What is the consequence?
  • What is the reward?
  • 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, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

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

Luke 24:36b-48 – Why do doubts arise in your heart?

LUKE 24:36B-48

“Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.”

  • 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 breath, pay attention to any doubt arising in you that might keep you from Christ.
  • Instead of setting this aside,  identify where this doubt resides in your body.
  • Allow your breath to reach this place of doubt in your body.
  • Continue to breathe to this place, allowing the breath of God heal this place of doubt.
  • Be open to healing and possibility in this place.
  • Let go of any hatred or fear.
  • Are there other doubts in you that need to be addressed.
  • Continue this exercise until you are as free and open as you can be to listen to God.
  • As you rest in this place of openness and freedom, consider what words have been spoken that must be fulfilled.
  • The Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.
  • Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in the name of Jesus.
  • You are witnesses of these things.
  • How have you witnessed these things in the world around you?
  • How have you witnessed these things in your neighbor?
  • How have you witnessed these things in you?
  • What is God’s message for you in this witness that you have encountered?
  • 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, April 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

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