These readings are for your own use, and are also used at Church of the Covenant on Wednesday afternoons at 5:30 in the Lodge of the Fishermen. We invite you to join us on Wednesday afternoon.
Begin in silence in a comfortable place set aside for meditation. Lighting a candle can remind you of God’s presence and light. To become inwardly quiet, breathe normally, aware of your in-and-out breathing, letting it lead you into peacefulness. Take as long as you need for this. The quieter we are inwardly, the readier we are to listen for God’s living word.
Read the psalm for the week each day.
Read the first lesson on Monday, the second on Tuesday, the third on Wednesday, then repeat the cycle. As you go along, you may decide to read all the lessons each day. It is up to you, whatever is most helpful, and whatever develops as your own personal approach to the readings.
Journaling – you may wish to write in our journal, responding to the readings and/or whatever surfaces in your awareness as concern, joy, particular thoughts, or events in your life you wish to record and examine.
Intercessory Prayer – pray for others, the world, the church, whatever is on your personal prayer list, as well as for your own life and needs.
Closing prayer – pray silently or aloud the Lord’s Prayer and/or your own benediction for this day’s time of prayer. End your prayer/meditation time by following your breathing once again, being fully present to yourself, to God, and to the day.
As you move from one part of the order to the next, take time for silence and breathing. Don’t rush.
This is only a suggested order. It is best when you begin to establish your own pattern and rhythm of daily prayer. Also, the time of day or evening is up to your personal schedule and needs. Take all the time your spirit needs, but try to devote at least 30 minutes.
This is a resource for your personal daily time of prayer and meditation. It is not intended as a replacement for what you are doing now, only as a resource to use as is helpful.
The readings are from the New Revised Common Lectionary, an ecumenical cycle of readings from Hebrew and Christian scriptures (Old and New Testaments). Each week there are four readings—a psalm, one reading from the Hebrew scriptures (first reading), and two from the Christian scriptures, including the gospels (second and third readings). The lectionary is on a three-year cycle that covers much of the Bible in breadth and depth. Use whatever translation you prefer.
My recommendation would be the New Revised Standard Version for its readability, soundness of scholarship, and faithfulness to original texts. At least one of the readings is used as the basis of the sermon for the coming Sunday. Ordinarily the psalm is used in some way in corporate worship. Your personal work with the readings through the week will enhance and deepen your participation in worship and the sermon.
The suggested order for daily prayer is for Monday through Saturday, using the readings for the upcoming Sunday. The readings for Dec. 12, for example, would be read beginning on Monday, Dec. 6. Read the psalm each day. Try to pray the psalm as your prayer, letting it speak to and for you. Reading the psalm aloud can lead you into the prayer of your own heart.
The first day you read a lesson, you might read it for comprehension. What is it about? What is going on the story? What are the main points of the story or the passage? Don’t dwell on words or portions that you don’t understand or give you trouble. Some of those “obstacles” may bring insights later on. As you come back to the readings through the week, you may have the questions in mind: What is this saying to me? What particular “word” does this reading hold for me? How does this passage shed light on current issues and concerns in the world and in my own life or the life of our community?
If you wish to go further in study of a passage, there are commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other resources on the shelves in the sun porch (second floor) of the Church House.
May this resource bring you a broader, deeper knowledge of and dialogue with scripture, and draw you closer to the living God.
– David L. Edwards