Psalm 9 – The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed

Psalm 9:9-20

9   The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10  And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11  Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
12  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13  Be gracious to me, O LORD.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
14  so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
rejoice in your deliverance.

15  The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.
16  The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.               Higgaion.
Selah
17  The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

18  For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

19  Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
20  Put them in fear, O LORD;
let the nations know that they are only human.                                   Selah

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What is oppressing you today?
  •  What is binding you?
  • Where do you need freedom?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • What is oppressing your neighbor today?
  • What is binding your neighbor?
  • Where does your neighbor need freedom?
  • How is God calling you to free your neighbor?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • What is oppressing the world today?
  • What is binding the world?
  • Where does the world need freedom?
  • How is God calling you to free the world?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • 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

Psalm 85- The hope of God’s touch…

PSALM 85:1-2, 8-13

1   LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2   You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you pardoned all their sin.                                              Selah

8   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10  Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11  Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12  The LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13  Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Where do you notice God’s touch…
  • in the world?
  • in the people around you?
  • in creation?
  • in you?
  • As you consider all of these places where God touches God’s creation, what similarities to you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Where do you need to feel God’s touch?
  • Pray for you to be open to receive God’s touch in God’s time.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to reflect on the ways God interacts in the world and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 10, 2017, the Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

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

Isaiah 64:1-9 – Breaking through to us…

ISAIAH 64:1-9

1   O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —
2   as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence
3   When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4   From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5   You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6   We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7   There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity
8   Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9   Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

  • 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 through this passage from Isaiah, consider a time you did not call upon the name of the Lord.
  • What do you remember about this time?
  • Notice any tension you feel in your body.
  • Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.
  • Read through the passage a second time.
  • How did God break through to you?
  • In what way(s) did God remold and reshape you?
  • If there is still tension in your body, invite God into this tension.
  • Offer a cry for forgiveness.  Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.  Breathe in the breath of God.  Breathe out the tension.
  • Allow God to heal this tension in you and to give you freedom in its place.
  • Breathe in freedom.  Breathe out tension.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in reconciliation and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 3, 2017, the First Sunday of Advent (Year B) 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

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

Isaiah 9:1-4 – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light

Isaiah 9:1-4

1But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2   The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness —
on them light has shined.
3   You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
4   For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

  • 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.
  • Remember a time when you walked in darkness.
  • Using your senses, describe the darkness.
  • When did you first notice the light shine on the darkness?
  • Using your senses, describe the light as it shines on the darkness.
  • What grace was revealed in the hope shed by the light?
  • Hold this hope in front of you.
  • What darkness is hidden in you?
  • What hope do you need today?
  • How do you need God to shine light in this darkness?
  • Offer this prayer to God.
  • 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, January 22, 2017, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Isaiah 9:1-4
Psalm 27:4-9
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Matthew 4:12-23

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

Psalm 9 – The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed

Psalm 9:9-20

9   The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10  And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11  Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion.
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
12  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13  Be gracious to me, O LORD.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
14  so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter Zion,
rejoice in your deliverance.

15  The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.
16  The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.               Higgaion.
Selah
17  The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.

18  For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

19  Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
20  Put them in fear, O LORD;
let the nations know that they are only human.                                   Selah

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • What is oppressing you today?
  •  What is binding you?
  • Where do you need freedom?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • What is oppressing your neighbor today?
  • What is binding your neighbor?
  • Where does your neighbor need freedom?
  • How is God calling you to free your neighbor?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • What is oppressing the world today?
  • What is binding the world?
  • Where does the world need freedom?
  • How is God calling you to free the world?
  • Seek freedom in Christ.
  • 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.

RevWised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, June 24, 2012, 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 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Praying with Mary Oliver: The Journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew 
what you had to do, and began, 
though the voices around you 
kept shouting 
their bad advice — 
though the whole house 
began to tremble 
and you felt the old tug 
at your ankles. 
“Mend my life!” 
each voice cried. 
But you didn’t stop. 
You knew what you had to do, 
though the wind pried 
with its stiff fingers 
at the very foundations, 
though their melancholy 
was terrible. 
It was already late 
enough, and a wild night, 
and the road full of fallen 
branches and stones. 
But little by little, 
as you left their voices behind, 
the stars began to burn 
through the sheets of clouds, 
and there was a new voice 
which you slowly 
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company 
as you strode deeper and deeper 
into the world, 
determined to do 
the only thing you could do — 
determined to save 
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver

  • 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 consider Mary Oliver’s meditation in poetry, scan your body.
  • Notice what in you needs to be mended.
  • What voices need to be left behind?
  • As you let go of these things, notice God within you.
  • Allow the empty space to be filled with God’s love for you.
  • Claim this love of new life.
  • Let this love grow within you.
  • Hold this love.
  • Savor this love.
  • Remember this love.
  • Live saving 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, March 11, 2012, the Third Sunday in Lent Year B 
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 94:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

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


Advent – Romans 16:25-27 – Joy in the prophecy fulfilled through Jesus Christ

ROMANS 16:25-27

25Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith — 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • God’s prophecy spoken through the messenger Gabriel is made known through Mary.
  • Mary was obedient to God in the present moment, without knowing the promise of the future.
  • What obedience of faith is rising in you this present moment?
  • What prophetic writing brings you comfort?
  • What is God’s message to you through this writing?
  • Savor this time in listening for God’s message.
  • Continue to quiet your mind and your body.
  • What does God wish to disclose to you today?
  • 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, December 18, 2011, the Third Sunday of Advent Year B 
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:47-55
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

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 85- The hope of God’s touch…

PSALM 85:1-2, 8-13

1   LORD, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2   You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you pardoned all their sin.                                              Selah

8   Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
9   Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10  Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
11  Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
12  The LORD will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13  Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath
  • Where do you notice God’s touch…
  • in the world?
  • in the people around you?
  • in creation?
  • in you?
  • As you consider all of these places where God touches God’s creation, what similarities to you notice?  What differences do you notice?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Where do you need to feel God’s touch?
  • Pray for you to be open to receive God’s touch in God’s time.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to reflect on the ways God interacts in the world and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 4, 2011, the Second Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

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

The Need for Silence

“The Need for Silence” by Richard Rohr

We don’t know how to take joy in simple things anymore because, frankly, we are sated. You and I have had so much thrown at us! Unless we choose to deliberately under-stimulate ourselves, I don’t think we can reasonably talk about spirituality. We don’t really taste, suffer, enjoy, feel the images that come our way. Westerners have a mania for experience.

Descartes said, I think, therefore I am.

For us it is I experience, therefore I am.

But I’m pretty much convinced experiences don’t change people; realization does. I think of all the powerful experiences that I’ve had. But only when I taste my experiences enough so they become realizations, do I change. That takes time and space. Put time and space together and you have a new definition of silence. We’ve got to create some kind of space so our images can become realizations.

Unless we choose silence, I don’t think a lot of this is going to happen. I don’t think were going to become willing people. We become, instead, willful people, trying to make the world fit our needs. Will triumphs instead of the Spirit. Silence alone is spacious enough to allow Spirit and to let go of will-fullness. Silence makes us willing instead of willful.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Notice the silence.
  • What do you need to put aside to be silent?  Write it down if you need to help let go of it.
  • What experience within you needs time and space?
  • Allow this experience into your focus.
  • Savor the experience.
  • What new thoughts do you have about the experience?
  • Where is God in the experience?
  • How has time and space given you more realization?
  • What message do you hear from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time to deepen the experience 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B 
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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

Isaiah 64:1-9 – Breaking through to us…

ISAIAH 64:1-9

1   O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence —
2   as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil —
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence
3   When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4   From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5   You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6   We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7   There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity
8   Yet, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9   Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

  • 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 through this passage from Isaiah, consider a time you did not call upon the name of the Lord.
  • What do you remember about this time?
  • Notice any tension you feel in your body.
  • Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.
  • Read through the passage a second time.
  • How did God break through to you?
  • In what way(s) did God remold and reshape you?
  • If there is still tension in your body, invite God into this tension.
  • Offer a cry for forgiveness.  Take several deep breaths to soften the tension.  Breathe in the breath of God.  Breathe out the tension.
  • Allow God to heal this tension in you and to give you freedom in its place.
  • Breathe in freedom.  Breathe out tension.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in reconciliation 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 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent Year B
Isaiah 64: 1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37


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