Ascension of the Lord

ACTS 1:1-11

1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

  • 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 inhale, hear the words, “Come Holy Spirit.”
  • As you exhale, let go of anything that is keeping you from God.  Hear the words, “See me.”
  • Continue as you inhale:  “Come Holy Spirit.”
  • As you exhale (choose one per exhale):  “Hear me”, “Be near me”, “Open me”, “Free me” (or choose your own).
  • When you feel as much freedom as you can, allow Christ to rise above you.
  • See Christ ascending to the Father.
  • Notice the Holy Spirit grounding you, filling you, holding you in this place of freedom.
  • Do you notice any tension?  How can you let go of that tension?
  • What do you need from Christ?
  • How may this be fulfilled in the Holy Spirit?
  • See no separation.  See the fullness and expanse of space.
  • Be held in this space.
  • Is there a message for you from 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.

PSALM 47:1-9

1   Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2   For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
3   He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
4   He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.                    Selah

5   God has gone up with a shout,
the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6   Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7   For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.

8   God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
9   The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted.

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

LUKE 24:44-53

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Thursday, May 10, 2018, the Ascension of the Lord Year B

Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:1-9
Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24:44-53

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.

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1 John 5: Whoever has the Son has life

1 JOHN 5:9-13

9If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. 10Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.11And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.


  • 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, inhale that which you believe.  
  • Allow the testimony in your heart to be freed.
  • Exhale that which is blocking the testimony in your heart.
  • Inhale freedom.
  • Exhale unfreedom.
  • Hear the words again, “Whoever has the Son has life.”
  • What life do you feel in your heart?
  • Allow this life that you have created freedom around grow.  
  • Where does this life in the Son want to grow?
  • What do you feel?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you smell?
  • What do you taste?
  • Hold the space for growth.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • At the end of the day, check back in with yourself.  What new growth did you experience today?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in freedom and 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, May 13, 2018, the Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Psalm 1:1-6
1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

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.

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Psalm 1 – Prospering

PSALM 1:1-6

1   Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;

2   but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3   They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

4   The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5   Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6   for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

  • 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 the ways in which you prosper.
  • What fruit is growing?
  • What nutrients are infused from the soil?
  • How does the water quench you?
  • Remember over the past week.
  • What times are more fruitful for you than others?
  • Do you notice a trend?
  • What do you wish to change to allow more moments of prospering?
  • How can Christ help 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, May 13, 2018, the Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Psalm 1:1-6
1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

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.

Posted in Blessing, Hope, Lectionary, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary, Surrender, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Acts 1 – Another Apostle chosen

ACTS 1:15-17, 21-26

15In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16“Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus — 17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

  • 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 sit in silence, open your heart to Christ.
  • Allow Christ to tell you that which Christ knows about your heart.  For the Lord knows everyone’s heart.
  • Christ knows every place in your heart:  joy, love, pain, anger, gentleness, peace,
  • What part of your heart do you want to change today?
  • Invite Christ into this place.  Let go of anything that is keeping your from Christ: pain, anger, hatred, greed, envy, mistrust, ____________.
  • Hear the words of forgiveness, “In Christ you are forgiven.  Thanks be to God!”
  • Feel the lightness that Christ has to offer you.
  • Christ knows your heart.  All belongs.  Every experience belongs.
  • Hold this new experience of healing and love today as you encounter others.
  • See how you might be a witness to God’s love.
  • You have been chosen by 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, May 13, 2018, the Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Psalm 1:1-6
1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

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.

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John 15:9-17 – Go and bear fruit!

JOHN 15:9-17

9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Invite Jesus to sit with you.
  • You are not a servant, but a friend.
  • Speak as friends.
  • Tell Jesus your innermost desires.
  • Tell Jesus your secrets.
  • Reveal all that you are.
  • Trust, obey, and abide in Jesus the Christ.
  • Make all things known.
  • Then sit back and listen.
  • Listen to Jesus tell you his innermost desires for you.
  • How do these desires match your desires?
  • Listen to Jesus reveal the truth to you.
  • How do you respond to this truth?
  • Listen to the ways Jesus abides in you.
  • What fruit is growing in you?
  • Listen to the ways Jesus loves you.
  • How may you love one another?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, May 6, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98:1-9
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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.

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1 John 5:1-6 – Love the children of God

1 JOHN 5:1-6

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

6This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • You are a child of God.  You are beloved.
  • Make a list of the ways God loves you.
  • Read back over the list.  What is missing?
  • How do you desire God to love you?
  • Your neighbor is a child of God. Your neighbor is beloved.
  • Make a list of the ways God loves your neighbor.
  • Read back over the list.  What is missing?
  • How do you desire God to love your neighbor?
  • The world is made of the children of God.  All the children of the world are beloved.
  • Make a list of the ways God loves the children of the world.
  • Read back over the list.  What is missing?
  • How do you desire God to love the children of the world?
  • Go back over your lists.  What do you notice?
  • Is there a message for you from God?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, May 6, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98:1-9
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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.

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Psalm 98 – Make a joyful noise

PSALM 98:1-9

1   O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gained him victory.
2   The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3   He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

4   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5   Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6   With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

7   Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8   Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
9   at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.

  • 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 pay attention to the breath, inhale the goodness of God.
  • Exhale that which is not good.
  • Inhale God’s love.
  • Exhale hatred.
  • Inhale joy.
  • Exhale fear.
  • Let go of anything keeping you from God.
  • Open yourself as much as possible to God.
  • Continue to pay attention to your breath.
  • Allow a new song to arise from within you.
  • How do you glorify God?
  • What do you hear?
  • What words come to you?
  • What love arises?
  • Look around you.  What else do you see praising God?
  • How do others praise God?
  • How does the world praise God?
  • How does the earth praise God?
  • Savor this time of praise and glory.
  • Carry it with you today.
  • As you encounter others, notice how others praise God.
  • Give thanks to God for this time to sing a new song, 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, May 6, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98:1-9
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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.

Posted in Faith, Hope, Lectionary, Praise, Prayer, Psalm, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acts 10:44-48 The Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word

 ACTS 10:44-48

44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

  • 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 this text, feel the Holy Spirit fall upon you.
  • Remember when you felt the Holy Spirit for the first time.
  • Go back to that time and place.
  • Where are you?
  • Who is with you?
  • What do you hear?
  • What do you see?
  • What do you smell?
  • Be held in this place, savoring this time.
  • Give glory to God in the words that come to you.
  • Savor.
  • When you are ready consider the following:
  • How is the Holy Spirit with you today?
  • What do you notice in the leading of the Spirit?
  • Who needs to hear the Word?
  • Is there a call to action from God?
  • Give thanks to God for sending the Holy Spirit, 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, May 6, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98:1-9
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

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.

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John 15:1-8 – Apart from me you can do nothing…

JOHN 15:1-8

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Allow the breath to reach every inch of you, the branch.
  • What fruit is being produced in you?
  • Is it the same harvest time after time?
  • Or does Christ need to prune the branch for more fruit to grow?
  • Is there part of the branch no longer producing fruit that needs to be removed?
  • What new fruit will be made?
  • What temptation creates a danger for your branch to wither?
  • Turn away from this temptation and abide in Christ.
  • Savor the fruit that is growing.
  • 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, May 6, 2012, the Fifth Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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.

Posted in Faith, Gospel of John, Harvest, Lectionary, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1 John 4:7-21 Love casts out fear…

1 JOHN 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • God is love.
  • As you pay attention to the breath, breathe in God’s love.
  • As you exhale, let go of any hatred that you encounter.
  • Continue to inhale God’s love and exhale any hatred of one another.
  • Continue as you open yourself as fully as possible to God.
  • Remember a time when you first realized God loves you.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  feel?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Remember a time when God turned your hatred into love.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  feel?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Remember a time when God turns oppression into love.
  • How old are you?  Where are you?  What do you hear?  see?  smell?  taste?  fee.?
  • Are there others with you?
  • Consider each remembrance.  Are there similarities?  Differences?  Expectancies?  Surprises?
  • 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, April 29, 2018, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:25-31
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

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. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD.

Posted in 1 John, Lectionary, Love, Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment