Mark 13:1-8 – Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down

1As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

3When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent mediation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Allow the breath to open you as you read this text again.
  • Hear these words, “Beware that no one leads you astray.”
  • Consider how you are being led astray.
  • What do you need to turn away from?
  • How do you need to turn toward Christ?
  • Consider how the world is being led astray.
  • What does the world need to turn away from?
  • How does the world need to turn toward Christ?
  • 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 18, 2018, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

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

Mark 12:38-44 – She out of her poverty has put in everything she had

“The Widow with Two Coins” by Emily Mineo

Mark 12:38-44

38As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

  • 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 open yourself to the breath, consider how you are a scribe in your life.
  • What do you oversee that creates oppression for your neighbor?
  • What needs to change to glorify God?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Go back to the breath.
  • As you reach freedom in the breath, consider how you are like the widow in your life.
  • What do you give the treasury that is all you have to live on?
  • What needs to change to glorify 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, 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

Mark 12:28-34 – Which commandment is the first of all?

Mark 12:28-34

28One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘”he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’-this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

  • 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 bring your attention to your breath, repeat the two commandments: 29Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
  • Allow these commandments to be showered upon you.
  • First, You shall love God with all heart, with all soul and with all strength.
  • As this covers you, where do you notice this commandment in your body?
  • What freedom do you feel?  Is there any tension?
  • Take note of both.
  • Move to the second commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
  • As this covers you, where do you  notice this commandment in your body?
  • What freedom do you feel?  Is there any tension?
  • What is the same or different for you in the two commandments?
  • 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 4, 2018, the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Ruth 1:1-18
Psalm 146:1-10
Hebrews 9:11-14
Mark 12:28-34

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

Mark 10:46-52 – Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Lord, that I might see!, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54181 [retrieved October 27, 2012].

Mark 10:46-52

46They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

  • 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.
  • Where do you sit, blind on the side of the road?
  • Are you alone?  Are there others with you?
  • What do you need?
  • You hear Jesus is walking toward you.
  • What message for Jesus arises within you?
  • Shout it out!
  • Hear Jesus call you.
  • What do you throw off to get to Jesus?
  • Hear Jesus say, “What do you want me to do for you?”
  • Scan your body and your mind.  What do you need from Jesus?
  • Make your requests be known to Jesus.
  • Hear Jesus say, “Go; your faith has made you well.”
  • Scan your body and your mind.
  • Where do you feel peace and lightness?
  • Where do you feel healing?
  • Where do you follow Jesus?
  • What is Christ’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 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

Mark 10:35-45 – Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

  • 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.
  • Consider those lording it over you today.
  • How do you respond?
  • Is there a way to show glory for God in your response?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Consider those you lord over today.
  • How do you lead?
  • Is there a way to show glory for God in your leading?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Consider the disciples you encounter today.
  • How will you serve them?
  • How will you be slave to all?
  • How do you show glory for God in your actions and reactions?
  • Look for these opportunities.
  • Open your heart and your mind to encounter these places today.
  • Look for 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 21, 2018, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 38:1-7 (34-41)
Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

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

Mark 10:17-31 – We have left everything and followed you

Mark 10:17-31

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions — and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

  • 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 and notice the freedom that opens within you.
  • Rest in the freedom.
  • What possession is keeping you from God?
  • Why is your hold so tight?
  • What do you need to let go to drop this possession?
  • How does this possession have hold of you?
  • What mercy do you need from God for this possession to let go of you?
  • Pray for mercy, and be held in this prayer with God.  Be held.
  • 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 14, 2018, the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

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

Mark 10:2-16 – Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it

Mark 10:2-16

2Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Let go of any tension in your shoulders.  Be opened by the Breath.  Seek freedom.
  • Place your hands palms up in your lap.
  • Imagine holding a ball.
  • What does the ball look like? Is it large or small?  What color is the ball?
  • How do you desire to play with the ball?
  • Imagine playing with the ball.
  • What do you feel when you play with the ball?
  • Is there someone playing with you?  Or are you alone?
  • What are you playing?
  • Notice your surroundings.  Where are you?
  • Be open to Christ.  Where do you find Christ?
  • What playfulness do you encounter?
  • What is Christ’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

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

Mark 9:38-50

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

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

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

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the breath.
  • As you settle into the breath, recall the deeds of power you do in the name of Christ.
  • Recall the deeds of power your neighbor does in the name of Christ.
  • Recall the deeds of power the church does in the name of Christ.
  • What stumbling block(s) do you encounter when giving in the name of Christ?
  • How is Christ calling you to overcome this block?
  • What peace will be revealed?
  • What stumbling block(s) does the church encounter when giving in the name of Christ?
  • How is Christ calling the church to overcome this block?
  • What peace will be revealed?
  • Do a quick scan of your body.  Where do you notice the salt in your body?
  • Hear these words again, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 30, 2018, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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

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

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

“Jesus Welcomes the Children” – Jesus Mafa

Mark 9:30-37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark 8:27-38

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

31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you inhale, set your mind on divine things.
  • As you exhale, let go of human things.
  • Continue this exercise until you are as free as you can be and open to God.
  • In this place of freedom, scan your mind.
  • Consider any human thing you need to let go.
  • Notice a place in your body that represents this denial of self.
  • As you let go of this human thing, feel it leave your body.
  • What divine thing does God have to give you in its place?
  • Feel this divine gift placed in your body.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 16, 2018, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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

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