Psalm 127:1-5- Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain

Psalm 127:1-5

1Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
3Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

  • 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 opening you and freeing you, notice which room of the house you desire.
  • How is God building this room for you?
  • Are there repairs that need to be made in this room?
  • What anxiety can God take away for you?
  • What rest do you need?
  • How does God guard this room for you?
  • How does God feed and nurture you in this room?
  • Is there another room God is preparing for 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, November 11, 2018, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Psalm 127:1-5
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

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 26:1-12 O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell

Psalm 26:1-12

1Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
4I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.
6I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O LORD,
7singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
9Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
10those in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

  • 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.
  • Continue to focus on the breath until you are as free and open as you can be.
  • In which house do you see yourself sitting in the presence of the LORD?
  • In which room of that house do you live?
  • Who lives there with you?
  • Give thanks to God for this dwelling place.
  • How do you carry this dwelling place with you when you must walk outside the walls?
  • How do you find level ground when you encounter a steep, rocky grade?
  • When you encounter a stranger on the road, how will you respond?
  • Will you have bread to share?
  • 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, October 7, 2018, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Psalm 26:1-12
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

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

Ephesians 2:11-22 – Jesus Christ himself as the cornerstone is our peace

EPHESIANS 2:11-22
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

  • 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 breathe, name the ways you are a citizen of the household of God.
  • Consider how these ways are like the apostles and prophets.
  • Visualize Christ as the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to Christ the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to the apostles, the saints, the children of God, creation.
  • Describe the household of God.
  • Describe your place in the household.
  • Where in your body to you feel this peace Jesus comes to share?
  • Do you notice any tension in your body?
  • What does this tension represent?
  • What peace does Jesus have to give to you today?
  • Accept this peace, breathe into this place of tension, let go of anything keeping you from this peace.
  • 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, July 22, 2018, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

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

John 12:20-33 Now my soul is in trouble, and what shall I say?

JOHN 12:20-33

20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say — ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

  • 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 enter this new day, consider where your soul is troubled.
  • Scan your body, and find this troubled place within you.
  • Hold this troubled place.
  • When you want to say, “Father, save me from this hour,” say instead” Father, glorify your name!”
  • “Mother, glorify your name!”
  • “Creator, glorify your name!” (or you may substitute any name for God that you desire)
  • Be bathed in God’s grace.
  • Know that you are a beloved child of God, saved by the Lamb of God.
  • Be drawn to him.
  • Be healed by him.
  • Rest in this grace.
  • 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 18, 2018, the Fifth Sunday in Lent Year B
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12
Psalm 119:9-16
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

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

Psalm 62 – Trust in God at all times

PSALM 62:5-12

5   For God alone my soul waits in silence, 
          for my hope is from him. 
6   He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
          my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
7   On God rests my deliverance and my honor; 
          my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

8   Trust in him at all times, O people; 
          pour out your heart before him; 
          God is a refuge for us.                              Selah

9   Those of low estate are but a breath, 
          those of high estate are a delusion; 
     in the balances they go up; 
          they are together lighter than a breath. 
10  Put no confidence in extortion, 
          and set no vain hopes on robbery; 
          if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

11  Once God has spoken; 
          twice have I heard this: 
     that power belongs to God, 
12       and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. 
     For you repay to all 
          according to their work.

  • 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 breathe, notice the hope in your breath.
  • Allow this hope to be carried by your breath throughout your body filling your lungs
  • Filling your arms down to your finger tips
  • Filling your abdomen
  • Down into your legs, your calves, to the tips of your toes.
  • Filling your head, whispering hope into your hears
  • Allow the breath to break the silence.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • How does this message reflect God’s salvation?
  • Whose voice needs to be silenced so you can continue to hear God’s voice?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time with the breath 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 21, 2018, the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) 
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

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

Psalm 127:1-5- Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain

Psalm 127:1-5

1Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
3Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

  • 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 opening you and freeing you, notice which room of the house you desire.
  • How is God building this room for you?
  • Are there repairs that need to be made in this room?
  • What anxiety can God take away for you?
  • What rest do you need?
  • How does God guard this room for you?
  • How does God feed and nurture you in this room?
  • Is there another room God is preparing for 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, November 11, 2012, the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Psalm 127:1-5
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

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 26:1-12 O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell

Psalm 26:1-12

1Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
4I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.
6I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O LORD,
7singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
9Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
10those in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

  • 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.
  • Continue to focus on the breath until you are as free and open as you can be.
  • In which house do you see yourself sitting in the presence of the LORD?
  • In which room of that house do you live?
  • Who lives there with you?
  • Give thanks to God for this dwelling place.
  • How do you carry this dwelling place with you when you must walk outside the walls?
  • How do you find level ground when you encounter a steep, rocky grade?
  • When you encounter a stranger on the road, how will you respond?
  • Will you have bread to share?
  • 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, October 7, 2012, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Psalm 26:1-12
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

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

Ephesians 2:11-22 – Jesus Christ himself as the cornerstone is our peace

EPHESIANS 2:11-22
11 So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision” — a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

  • 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 breathe, name the ways you are a citizen of the household of God.
  • Consider how these ways are like the apostles and prophets.
  • Visualize Christ as the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to Christ the cornerstone.
  • Visualize how you are connected to the apostles, the saints, the children of God, creation.
  • Describe the household of God.
  • Describe your place in the household.
  • Where in your body to you feel this peace Jesus comes to share?
  • Do you notice any tension in your body?
  • What does this tension represent?
  • What peace does Jesus have to give to you today?
  • Accept this peace, breathe into this place of tension, let go of anything keeping you from this peace.
  • 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, July 22, 2012, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

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 Art: Born into pain and death

We know that all our mothers bear us for pain and for death. O, what is that? But our true Mother Jesus, he alone bears us for joy and for endless life, blessed may he be.

-Julian of Norwich c.1342-c.1416
Revelations of Divine Love (ch.60)

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • In your silence, focus on this icon of the Theotokos: Mother Mary and Jesus.
  • Notice her expression as she holds life.
  • Consider the idea of pain and death being a gift of life.
  • Where is God in this tension?
  • How does this bring new life to death?
  • How does this bring new lift to the Resurrection?
  • How are you part of the Resurrection?
  • 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 25, 2012, the Fifth Sunday in Lent Year B
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12
Psalm 119:9-16
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

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

John 12:20-33 Now my soul is in trouble, and what shall I say?

JOHN 12:20-33

20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say — ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

  • 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 enter this new day, consider where your soul is troubled.
  • Scan your body, and find this troubled place within you.
  • Hold this troubled place.
  • When you want to say, “Father, save me from this hour,” say instead” Father, glorify your name!”
  • “Mother, glorify your name!”
  • “Creator, glorify your name!” (or you may substitute any name for God that you desire)
  • Be bathed in God’s grace.
  • Know that you are a beloved child of God, saved by the Lamb of God.
  • Be drawn to him.
  • Be healed by him.
  • Rest in this grace.
  • 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 25, 2012, the Fifth Sunday in Lent Year B
Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:1-12
Psalm 119:9-16
Hebrews 5:5-10
John 12:20-33

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