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

 


Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 – Choose this day whom you will serve

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

1Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors — Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor — lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. 3aThen I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many.

14“Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

19But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.” 21And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!” 22Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” 23He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” 24The people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.” 25So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. 

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • As you find freedom in the Breath, hold the ways you serve God in your right hand.
  • In your left hand, hold ways you serve other gods.
  • Close your eyes and describe what you are holding in each hand:  the weight, the color, the texture, etc.
  • Imagine the hands speaking compassionately to one another.  What is the desire of the right hand?  What is the desire of the left hand?
  • Invite each hand to choose the God they you will serve.
  • What is your message 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, November 12, 2017, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

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

Genesis 22:1-14 – The Lord will provide

Genesis 22:1-14

1After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” 3So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

9When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Turn your attention to the one human being in your life that is most precious to you.
  • How do you desire to praise God for the gift of this human being.?
  • Praise God.
  • In praising God your recognize your relationship with God is more precious that this human being.  God is the most important relationship you have.  It is because of your relationship with God that this precious human being is in your life.
  • How do you desire to praise God for the gift of this person?
  • How does God desire for you to be more fully present with God?  Perhaps there is something you need to let go in the relationship with your precious human being.
  • What does God ask you to let go?
  • Let go.  Notice what it feels like to let go.
  • In the experience of letting go, what does God have for you in that space?
  • What is your message 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, July 2, 2017, the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 22:1-14
Psalm 13:1-6
Romans 6:12-23
Matthew 10:40-42

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

Genesis 21:8-21 – What troubles you?

Genesis 21:8-21

8The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.10So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.”11The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son.12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you.13As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”14So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

15When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes.16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”19Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

20God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.21He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Hear the children play together.
  • Hear the distress in the adults.
  • As you hold both of these feelings before you, what brings you joy?  What brings you distress?
  • What troubles you?
  • Do not be afraid.
  • Speak your troubles to God.
  • Let God open your eyes to see a well nearby.
  • Drink from the well.
  • What is your message 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, June 25, 2017, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10:24-39

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

Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7 – My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant

Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7

1The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on-since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.”7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.”10Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”13The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’14Is anything too wonderful for the LORD? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.”15But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

1The LORD dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as he had promised.2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him.3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him.4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Pray with each of the angels in the icon:
  • My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.
  • My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.
  • My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.
  • What deep desire is arising in you?  It might be seem so outlandish.  Don’t be afraid.  Let the desire come.
  • What deep desire that has been burdening you and has been buried deep within you want to be freed to arise?
  • Let the Breath of freedom reach this place deep within you.
  • What is your message 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, June 18, 2017, the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

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

Genesis 17 – This is my covenant with you

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, 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


Psalm 78 He caused waters to flow down like rivers

Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, 

3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us. 

4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 

12 In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. 

13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. 

14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all night long with a fiery light. 

15 He split rocks open in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. 

16 He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • The psalmist shares the faithfulness of God to God’s children.
  • Consider the faithfulness God has revealed to you in your life.
  • What written verses do you have to add to this Psalm?
  • Write them down and reread your Psalm.
  • As you hear your Psalm, notice what is touched in your body.
  • What truth do you glean?
  • Give thanks to God for God’s faithfulness 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 25,  the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Psalm 105 God remembered God’s holy promise

1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. 

2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. 

3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 

4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. 

37 Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold, and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.

38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.

40 They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance.

41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.

42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant.

43 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.

44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,

45 that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Remember a time you were waiting for God’s abundance.
  • What pain and suffering did you encounter?
  • What did you let go for God to give you this abundance?
  • What joy was given to you?
  • What new freedom did you receive?
  • What new land were you given?
  • Give thanks to God for remembering God’s holy promise 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 11,  the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Psalm 114 Tremble, O earth, at the power of the Lord

Psalm 114

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 

2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 

3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 

4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 

5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 

6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 

8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Imagine what it was like to be part of the Exodus, totally dependent upon God.  Imagine what mighty and powerful acts you see.
  • Notice how Creation responds to the Lord in powerful ways.
  • How do you respond?
  • What do you need to let go to respond to the mighty power of God.  As you let go, how does your body want to respond?
  • Give thanks for this time to be embraced by the power of God and for any new messages you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 11,  the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114
Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 – The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable…

Romans 10:5-15

1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may nowreceive mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

  • Spend 5 to 15 minutes in silent meditation using your deep breathing to guide you.
  • Remember a time when you felt as if your gifts were not used for the glory of God.
  • Did you notice God in this feeling?
  • Was there consolation or desolation?
  • What transformation happened for you to realize you to use your gifts in obedience to God?
  • Did you notice freedom in this transformation?  Or bondage?  Or both?
  • Notice how you coexist with disobedience and mercy.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and opening.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 14, 2011,  the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Genesis 45: 1-15
Psalm 133: 1-3
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15: (10-20) 21-28
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.