Mark 9:38-50 – Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.

Mark 9:38-50

38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

42“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

49“For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the breath.
  • As you settle into the breath, recall the deeds of power you do in the name of Christ.
  • Recall the deeds of power your neighbor does in the name of Christ.
  • Recall the deeds of power the church does in the name of Christ.
  • What stumbling block(s) do you encounter when giving in the name of Christ?
  • How is Christ calling you to overcome this block?
  • What peace will be revealed?
  • What stumbling block(s) does the church encounter when giving in the name of Christ?
  • How is Christ calling the church to overcome this block?
  • What peace will be revealed?
  • Do a quick scan of your body.  Where do you notice the salt in your body?
  • Hear these words again, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
  • 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, September 30, 2018, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Psalm 124:1-8
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

James 5:13-20 – Elijah prayed fervently…

James 5:13-20

13Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

19My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

  • 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.
  • Allow the breath to lead you to prayer.
  • Pray for those who suffer.
  • “Lord, hear my prayer.”
  • Pray for those who give glory to God.
  • “Lord, hear my prayer.”
  • Pray for the sick.
  • “Lord, hear my prayer.”
  • “Lord, have mercy on me.”
  • Confess your sins to God.
  • As you breathe in, feel God’s forgiveness.
  • As you exhale, let go of anything keeping you from healing.
  • Continue this exercise until you are ready to move on.
  • Breathe in the truth.
  • Scan your mind and your body.  If anything keeps you from the truth, exhale it with force so that God may fill you with the breath of truth.
  • Come home to the one who loves you.
  • The one who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
  • 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, September 30, 2018, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Psalm 124:1-8
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Psalm 124: 1-8 – The snare is broken and we have escaped

Psalm 124:1-8

1If it had not been the LORD who was on our side
— let Israel now say —
2if it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
3then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
7We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
8Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

  • 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.
  • Who is the enemy for you today?
  • What traps and snares have been set for you?
  • Where will you encounter these traps and snares?
  • With God’s help, you can escape these places and these traps.
  • Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
  • Call upon the name of the LORD.
  • The LORD is on your side.
  • Be aware of traps and snares in your day.  When you encounter them, turn toward the LORD and call upon the name of the LORD.
  • Who is the enemy for the world today?
  • What traps and snares have been set for the world?
  • Where will we encounter these traps and snares?
  • With God’s help, we can escape these places and these traps.
  • Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
  • Call upon the name of the LORD.
  • Notice who is calling with you.
  • The LORD is on our side.
  • Be aware of traps and snares in your day.  When you encounter them, turn toward the LORD and call upon the name of the LORD.
  • What message do you hear from the LORD?
  • 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, September 30, 2018, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Psalm 124:1-8
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Esther 7 – What is your petition?

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22

1So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” 3Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me — that is my petition — and the lives of my people — that is my request. 4For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” 5Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” 6Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

9Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” 10So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

9:20 Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor.

  • 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.
  • What is your petition today?
  • How have you been sold into destruction and death?
  • How have your people been sold into destruction and death?
  • Invite God into the conversation.
  • How does God desire to give you life?
  • How does God desire to give your people life?
  • What do you need to let go to embrace life?
  • What message do you hear from the 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, September 30, 2018, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Psalm 124:1-8
James 5:13-20
Mark 9:38-50

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Mark 9:30-37 – Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all

“Jesus Welcomes the Children” – Jesus Mafa

Mark 9:30-37

30They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

33Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

  • 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 the breath, consider one of Christ’s lessons in your life that you do not understand.  Perhaps you are even afraid to ask Christ, “Why?”
  • What argument keeps playing in your mind and heart?
  • Hear Christ say these words to you, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”
  • Let these words enter the place(s) of not understanding.
  • To be “for” Christ is to hold lightly these places we do not understand until the lesson becomes clear.
  • Allow Christ to hold you like a child in Christ’s arms.  Hear these words, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
  • Who has welcomed you in the name of Christ?
  • Who have you welcomed in the name of Christ?
  • Hold the questions lightly as you are held in the arms of God.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insight you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 23, 2018, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a – Who is wise and understanding among you?

James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

4:1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

  • 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.
  • Follow the breath throughout your body.
  • Scan your body as you go along.
  • Notice a place or places where there is war or conflict.
  • Stop at this/these place(s).
  • What is the conflict?
  • Notice what is of God.
  • Notice what is not of God.
  • Allow that which is God to grow.
  • Let go of that which is not God.  If you find resistance, ask for God’s strength and help.
  • Exhale that which is not God.
  • Feel yourself drawing nearer to God.
  • Continue this exercise as you scan your body.
  • Submit yourself fully to God, as fully as you possibly can at this moment.
  • 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, September 23, 2018, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Psalm 1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked

Psalm 1

1Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

  • 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 the breath, plant your feet on the ground and settle into your sit bones.
  • Feel roots begin to grow from your feet into the ground…roots seeking water.
  • Imagine the rich, moist soil by the water for which your roots are thirsting.
  • Feel your roots meet the water.
  • Allow the water to soak into you.  Notice which parched parts of you find relief from the water.
  • Which leaves are enlivened and green up with water?
  • What fruit is waiting to grow?
  • 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, September 23, 2018, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Proverbs 31:10-31 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain

Proverbs 31:10-31

10A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
15She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
29“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.

  • 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.
  • Whether you are giving or receiving the gifts of a wife, which characteristic in the list captures your attention today?
  • Let this characteristic flow through you.
  • What part of you needs to be loved in this way?
  • What part of you needs to be wise in this way?
  • How will you give/receive this?
  • Is there you something you need to let go to give/receive this?
  • What praise is awaiting 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, September 23, 2018, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 31:10-31
Psalm 1
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Mark 9:30-37

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Mark 8:27-38 – You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things

Mark 8:27-38

27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

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 close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you inhale, set your mind on divine things.
  • As you exhale, let go of human things.
  • Continue this exercise until you are as free as you can be and open to God.
  • In this place of freedom, scan your mind.
  • Consider any human thing you need to let go.
  • Notice a place in your body that represents this denial of self.
  • As you let go of this human thing, feel it leave your body.
  • What divine thing does God have to give you in its place?
  • Feel this divine gift placed in your body.
  • 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, September 16, 2018, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 1:20-33
Psalm 19:1-14
James 3:1-12
Mark 8:27-38

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

James 3:1-12 From the same mouth come blessing and curse

James 3:1-12

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue-a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

  • 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.
  • Let go of thoughts and commitments for this time in prayer.  Set them aside, write them down if needed so that you may be as fully present as you can be.
  • Allow the breath to reach all the extremities of your body including your tongue.
  • Allow the breath to cool you tongue.
  • Consider the words that have rolled over your tongue in the past few days.
  • What blessings have been spoken for God?
  • As you remember these blessings, notice if you feel lightness or heaviness; freedom or tension.
  • Do you feel in right relationship with God?
  • Allow your thoughts to go back to your tongue.
  • Consider the words that have rolled over your tongue in the past few days.
  • What curses have been spoken against those made in the likeness of God?
  • As you remember these curses, notice if you feel lightness or heaviness; freedom or tension
  • Do you feel in right relationship with God?
  • What to you need to let go or what do you need to embrace to move toward right relationship with God?
  • Do you hear 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, September 16, 2018, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Proverbs 1:20-33
Psalm 19:1-14
James 3:1-12
Mark 8:27-38

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. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD