2 Corinthians 12:2-10 – My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness

2 Corinthians 12:2-10

2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows — 4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

  • 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, what weakness comes to you?
  • Focus on this weakness.  Let other thoughts fall away.
  • How is God’s grace sufficient for you?
  • What power do you know in this weakness?
  • How does the power of Christ shine through this weakness?
  • How can you be more content with weaknesses? insults? hardships? persecutions? calamities?
  • Where do you notice Christ’s strength in you?
  • Is there a specific place in your body you hold this strength?
  • Make note of this place so that you might draw upon it again when you are weak.
  • 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, July 8, 2018, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

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.

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 – The one who had much did not have too much. The one who had little did not have too little.

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

7Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

8I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something — 11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has — not according to what one does not have.13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.15As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”

  • 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 follow your breath, let your focus become that which you are giving in the name of the Lord.
  • How does this giving bless you?
  • How does this giving make you rich?
  • What did you give up to be able to give more?
  • What might you give more abundantly so that others might be blessed?
  • What does your neighbor give in the name of the Lord?
  • How does this giving bless your neighbor?
  • How does this giving make your neighbor rich?
  • What did your neighbor give up in order to receive more blessing?
  • What might your neighbor give more abundantly so that others might be blessed?
  • Who has too much?
  • Who has too little?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • 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, July 1, 2012, the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43

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

2 Corinthians 6:1-13 – Now is the acceptable time

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

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.

11We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return — I speak as to children — open wide your hearts 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.
  • Scan your mind.
  • What is keeping you from opening your heart?
  • Let this obstacle be your focus.  Find where you are holding this obstacle in your body.
  • Imagine gently taking this obstacle out of your body and holding it before you.  Take any preparation time you need.
  • As you hold this obstacle before you, decide if you want to set it aside.
  • As you look at the obstacle, where do you see God in the obstacle?
  • Allow  God to hold the obstacle for you.
  • Notice the space that is created within you that once held the obstacle.  What do you notice about this space?
  • Do you feel light or heavy?  Tension or freedom?  Cold or warm?
  • Breathe into this space that has been created.
  • Savor the space that has been created.
  • Listen to what arises from within you.
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • Return to the obstacle that God is holding for you.
  • You may allow God to continue holding this obstacle or you may imagine yourself placing the obstacle within 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, June 24, 2018, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

I Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49
1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16
Psalm 9:9-20
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

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

2 Corinthians 5 – If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13) 14-17

6So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord — 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

16From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

  • 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, allow your wings to expand you, as a butterfly opens and closes its wings.
  • Allow the breath to reach the tips of your fingertips.
  • Feel the expanse of breath in your chest.
  • Consider how you are in Christ today.
  • Acknowledge the old that has passed away.
  • Embrace the new that has been born.
  • Is there part of you that needs to die to self?
  • So that Christ can make you new today?
  • Let go of what you can.  Christ will take it from you.
  • Feel the new spots of color that brighten your wings.
  • What new color do you see?
  • Christ continues to create new things in you each day.  Thanks be to 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, June 17, 2018, the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

I Samuel 15:34-16:13
Psalm 20
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13) 14-17
Mark 4:26-34

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

2 Corinthians 4 – Our Inner Nature Is Being Renewed Day by Day…

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

4:13But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture — “I believed, and so I spoke” — we also believe, and so we speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

5:1For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

  • 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, chant “Come Holy Spirit.”
  • As you exhale, chant “Renew me.”
  • Pay attention to the goodness of God’s breath as you breathe.
  • Set aside anything keeping your attention from God.
  • Allow the breath to permeate your body.  Feel the breath renewing every part of you.  From head to toe, from torso to fingertips.
  • As you come to a place that is tired and needs to be renewed, remain here allowing God’s breath to renew from the inside out.
  • Continue this exercise as the breath moves through you.
  • Now that your body has been renewed, consider what in your mind needs to be renewed.
  • What earthly tent has been destroyed?
  • What eternal renewal does God have to offer you?
  • Give thanks to God for the chance to see beyond that which is temporary, to see eternal things, 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, June 10, 2018, the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
1 Samuel 8:4-11 (12-15), 16-20(11:14-15)
Psalm 138:1-8
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Mark 3:20-35

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

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – Treasure in Clay Jars

2 CORINTHIANS 4:5-12

5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.

  • 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 your heart and mind to settle the ways you proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.
  • Invite each breath to be a proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • As you notice your breath, is there a veil God is lifting to reveal something new to you?
  • What light is uncovered to shine in the darkness?
  • Let go of anything keeping you from this light.
  • Notice how this light, this treasure is stored in clay jars.
  • Give glory to God for the light, for 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, June 3, 2018, the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

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

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

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – Let light shine out of darkness

2 CORINTHIANS 4:3-6

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

  • 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 your heart and mind to settle the ways you proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.
  • Invite each breath to be a proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord.
  • As you notice your breath, is there a veil God is lifting to reveal something new to you?
  • What light is uncovered to shine in the darkness?
  • Let go of anything keeping you from this light.
  • See the candle flame dance as you embrace the light.
  • Give glory to God for the light, for 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 11, 2018, The Transfiguration of the Lord Year B 
2 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9

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, March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday (Year A)

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) 2017 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

2 Corinthians 12:2-10 – My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness

2 Corinthians 12:2-10

2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows — 4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

  • 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, what weakness comes to you?
  • Focus on this weakness.  Let other thoughts fall away.
  • How is God’s grace sufficient for you?
  • What power do you know in this weakness?
  • How does the power of Christ shine through this weakness?
  • How can you be more content with weaknesses? insults? hardships? persecutions? calamities?
  • Where do you notice Christ’s strength in you?
  • Is there a specific place in your body you hold this strength?
  • Make note of this place so that you might draw upon it again when you are weak.
  • 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, July 8, 2012, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

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.