Praying the Scriptures : Oct. 26-31

John 17:6-19 NRSV

Study Guide by Pastor Rob

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted. 

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud, if you are able. Read it straight-through, then read it pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

John 17:6-19 NRSV

6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all the facets of our lives come together in Jesus. Question: Ask yourself in what ways does the passage point to our lives being found in God (the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit). Write a list of what is revealed to you.

Finally, you may wish to re-read the John passage at least once more as you continue to hear what your heart is saying to Jesus!

Discussion and Reflection

This  reading is an extended section of the Gospel of John called “The Farewell Discourses.” This section is an extended teaching by Jesus to his disciples as he shares a final meal with them, his closest friends. “The Farewell Discourses” are from Chapter 13, verse 1 through Chapter 17, verse 26. Jesus begins by washing his disciples’ feet, and Jesus’ teaching includes the institution of Holy Communion and much more! We must remember that Jesus words are not just to his first disciples but for all disciples regardless of time and place, who are members of Jesus’ body. Jesus’ public ministry has come to a close and his passion awaits. Our reading is from a section, Chapter 17 within “The Farewell Discourses” that the NRSV calls “Jesus Prays for His Disciples.”

Spend time reflecting on the following questions.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. This writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.
How has Jesus revealed God? Make a list.

What is the relationship between Jesus and the Father? Jesus and you? The Father and you?
What are the reasons that the relationships in Question 2 are important? Make a list.
What does Jesus ask the Father to do for us? Make a list.
Does the passage say anything about knowledge and faith?
What are the similarity and difference between the disciples and the world?
How do you understand verse 17? How do you understand your need for sanctification?
What are the ways that this passage helps us today?

Consider memorizing some or all of this psalm as a way to live a life of praise.
As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Prayer: I love you Lord, for you have heard my voice. Thank you, Lord, for your love and faithfulness, because you have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. Loosen my lips to sing your praise, O Lord, and to share the testimony you gave me with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer. 

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I praise you for your amazing love. I praise you for your wisdom. I praise you for a future in your presence. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear and celebrate the assurance your love and grace in my life, and then take faithful steps in your love to praise your wondrous name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here. 

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Psalm 147, Oct. 19th thru 25th

It is that time of year where many of us “head for the hills” to view the colorful fall colors on display in nearby Shenandoah National Park. We thought it would be a good time to reprise an earlier Praying the Scriptures featuring Pastor Rob’s July visit to this beautiful national park. Enjoy!

Study guide by Pastor Rob

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Dear Brother or Sister, 

Thank you for taking time to read, meditate and pray using Psalm 147 and the guide below. Like last week’s text for Praying the Scriptures, I have selected this psalm, because it reminds me of experiences while hiking for several day in Shenandoah National Park in early July with my son, Michael. Psalm 147 especially reminds me of our hike one afternoon to Hawksbill Mountain, which at 4,050 feet, is the highest peak in the park.

While we were checking out the great views clouds began to streamed in and soon engulfed the peak. We could hear thunder in the distance, and when it started to sprinkle, we decided it was time to head out. This link Hawksbill Road Trail Map will take you to a trail map, if you would like to see one.  I will share more about that hike below. 

Blessings, 

Pastor Rob Robertson

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted. 

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud, if you are able. Read it straight-through, then read it pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 147 New Revised Standard Version

1 Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. 

2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 

3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. 

4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 

5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 

6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground. 

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre. 

8 He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. 

9 He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry. 

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; 

11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. 

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 

13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. 

14 He grants peace within your borders; he fills you with the finest of wheat. 

15 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 

16 He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. 

17 He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold? 

18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow. 

19 He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel. 

20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his ordinances. Praise the Lord! 

Discussion and Reflection

Each of the last five psalms (Psalms 146-150, begins and ends with the words, “Praise the Lord!” (Hallelujah, in Hebrew). The psalmist’s words are both declaration and encouragement for us to give praise to God and to join with the psalmist in praising God, “For it is good to sing praises to our God” and “a song of praise is fitting” (v1). The psalmist next begins to share the specifics of God’s work that is worthy of our praise.  

The psalm is divided into three parts: verses 1 – 6, 7 – 11, and 12 – 20.  

In the first section of Psalm 147, verses 1 through 6, the psalmist describes the goodness and greatness of God. God provides comfort as the psalmist alludes to a time of difficulty or calamity: “he gathers the outcasts” (2). God is Savior of the nation but also of individuals: “He heals the brokenhearted” (3). God’s presence, power and wisdom justify your comforting trust in the God as both Creator and Lord of the universe. They rise above all obstacles and provide abundant grace and help. The same God who cares for the lowly also knows and names all the stars.  God’s majesty and care is for the span of the universe to the individual, and of course,  you!

The second part of this week’s psalm expands upon our need to be thankful, as we are called to “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre” (7). The psalmist desires you to know the care of the Lord and to find “hope in his steadfast love” (11). The psalmist describes God’s greatness, so you too will join in God’s praise and thanksgiving. We see God’s tenderness is demonstrated in God’s attentiveness to even “young ravens when they cry” (9). Why would the psalmist specify “young ravens? Because they were most detestable by the Jewish people as they were considered unclean and forbidden for food.   

In the third section, verses 12 – 20, the psalmist turns to Jerusalem, the city of God. For the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the center of where God’s word and will were worshiped, and the more we understand the power and care of God, the more we should praise God. In verse 13, the psalmist begins to highlight four great and compassionate acts God had done for God’s people. Each action is a reason for praise. Your praise and worship are not empty words. They are gratitude for the specifics of God’s goodness and care but also are given as we anticipate God’s future goodness. God gives security, a future, peace, and provision. 

More on the hike

After hiking to the summit of Hawksbill, via Lower Hawksbill Trail, Michael and I returned to our car via Salamander Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The light rain continued for only just a short time, but soon stopped. However, we could hear thunder growing louder in the distance and knew more rain was likely coming soon.

I had just taken the picture above of the tree (If you look closely you will see this large tree is clinging to a rocky cliff)  when the sprinkles began again. Then, it began to rain even harder, but because we were hiking under a dense canopy of green leaves, we hardly felt a drop…at first.

The rain continued to increase until it was streaming down and small hail was falling and bouncing all around us! We got absolutely soaked from head to toe as the trail filled with water, but it was a glorious and worshipful experience on the trail that afternoon! The rain felt like God’s grace washing over me: absolutely refreshing and joyful!

The rain felt like God’s grace washing over me: absolutely refreshing and joyful!

This video The  video shown here (only 40 seconds) might give you a sense what it was like on the trail as the hail began to fall but still before the heaviest rain came. 

The verses below particularly stand out to me from Psalm 147:

1 Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. 

8 He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. 

15 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 

17 He hurls down hail like crumbs— who can stand before his cold? 

18 He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow. 

Further Reflection

You could work with the questions below on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. Writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

  1. What are some of the reasons why it is “good” for you to sing praises to God? Spend several minutes reflecting. Make a list. What does it mean when we are not thankful?  
  2. After making your list in question 1, examine verses 1 through 6 and determine what is the specific works of God that the psalmist praises? Make a list. What other ways are you being called today to praise the Lord? 
  3. In verses 7 – 11, how are we called to be expectant? What should we be expecting according to the text? What does it mean to live our lives expectant? 
  4. How would you describe to someone why “the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” in verse 11? What are your hopes today?
  5. If God gives security, a future, peace, and provision, what are the specifics ways these occur beginning in verse 13? What ways are you experiencing these in your own life?
  6. What other important insights did your study reveal?

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer. 

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I praise you for your amazing love. I praise you for your wisdom. I praise you for a future in your presence. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear and celebrate the assurance your love and grace in my life, and then take faithful steps in your love to praise your wondrous name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here. 

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Praying the Scriptures, Oct. 13-18, 2020

Colossians 3:12-17, Study guide by Pastor Forrest

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded. We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture.

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read through the scripture of Colossians 3:12-17 twice. Once out loud and the second time in your head but putting more emphasis (up to your discretion) on the odd verses (13, 15,17).

Colossians 3:12-17 New Revised Standard Version

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Discussion and Reflection

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians it was to remind them the Christ is supreme to all other philosophies and accomplishments. He was instructing them to shed their previous lifestyles and now live with Jesus’s commandments. Loving one another, encouraging others in faith, praising God, and living a new forgiven life with Christ Jesus. Importantly for the church in Colossae is the encouraging or admonishing one another to live like Christ in a city where false teaching we abundant.

This week verse 16 is our standout. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” When we think of dwelling places often you may imagine a house in which someone lives, or a cave in which an animal dwells. Paul is telling not just the church in Colossae but all people including us that we do not merely believe in Jesus; we live a new life with Jesus.

Reflections:

  • Read the first 11 verses of Colossians 3, if Christ is meant to dwell in our lives what is something we must let go of from our old life?
  • We are told in verse 16 to “admonish one another in all wisdom”. Where does this wisdom come from and how do we obtain it?
  • When we expect guests over many of us clean our houses frantically so they don’t judge us. Nowhere in this passage does it say we must first clean ourselves and then Christ will enter into our lives. So what does Jesus do once he enters our dirty dwelling place?

We as followers of Jesus Christ are called to a higher standard of living than others. God lives in us, enabling us to do incredible things by living incredibly changed lives. Take to heart what is said in Colossians 3. Examine your dwelling place with the Lord and if you need any encouraging or are missing out on encouraging others in faith. Do this all through prayer and reading the Word.

Let us now collect our prayer item again and together pray the prayer Jesus who now lives in us taught us…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.[/column_2]

Praying the Scriptures, Oct. 5-12, 2020
Psalm 121, Study guide by Pastor Rob

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded. We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture.

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud, if you are able. Read it straight-through, then read it pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 121 New Revised Standard Version
Song of ascents

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Re-read the passage at least once more as if you are reciting the psalm on a pilgrim to the temple in Jerusalem.

Discussion and Reflection

Fifteen of the psalms, Psalm 120 through 134, are marked as “song of ascents” but they also are called among other titles: “song of steps” or Pilgrim Songs. How these psalms were used is open to various interpretations. Some believe the psalms were sung by worshippers ascending the road to Jerusalem for one of the pilgrim festivals. Others believe the psalms were sung by the Levites priests as they ascended the fifteen steps to minister in the temple. Still others believe that the psalms were a collection of poems that were added together. While some of the songs of ascents are directly attributed to King David, Psalm 121 is not.

Unlike other psalms that speak of a bold faith in the time of specific hardship or struggle, Psalm 121 speaks with a calm and comforting reassurance of the presence of God in response to the anxious question of verse 1: “From where will my help come?” Verses 2 through 8 are the confident response. The questions below concern this response and the what the psalm says about God.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. Writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

How many voices are speaking in Psalm 121? 1? 2? More?

How would you divide the dialogue into voices?

How many different ways is the question in verse 1, “From where will my help come?” answered? Make a list. How many did your list?

Does your list in question 2 give you any insight into the struggles that prompt the question, “From where will my help come?”

Does the psalm answer any of the questions or struggles that you are current experiencing? Why or why not?

The “My” (“My help” instead of “Help”) at the beginning of verse 2 is considered by some to be an addition that is the result of an error by a transcriptionist. Does the verse having or not having “my” change anything? If no, why not? If yes, in what way?

How does God’s creative will and power as Creator in verse 2 demonstrate God’s ability and willingness to “help” you and others? In the verses that follow verse 2, what are the specifics that the psalmist communicates that offer us the assurance that we can place our trust in a personal God?

What other important insights did your study reveal?
As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for your amazing love. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear your call and hear it more clearly and then move in faithful steps of your love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.[/column_2]

Psalm 105, Sept. 28-Oct 4

Study Guide by Pastor Rob

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture.

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence.

You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud, if you are able. Read it straight-through, then read it pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 105 New Revised Standard Version

1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. 5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered, 6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones. 7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, 10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.” 12 When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it, 13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, 14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, 15 saying, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” 16 When he summoned famine against the land, and broke every staff of bread, 17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 His feet were hurt with fetters, his neck was put in a collar of iron; 19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord kept testing him. 20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, 22 to instruct his officials at his pleasure, and to teach his elders wisdom. 23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham. 24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful, and made them stronger than their foes, 25 whose hearts he then turned to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. 26 He sent his servant Moses, and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27 They performed his signs among them, and miracles in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they rebelled against his words. 29 He turned their waters into blood, and caused their fish to die. 30 Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings. 31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country.
32 He gave them hail for rain, and lightning that flashed through their land. 33 He struck their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country. 34 He spoke, and the locusts came, and young locusts without number; 35 they devoured all the vegetation in their land, and ate up the fruit of their ground. 36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the first issue of all their strength. 37 Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold, and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night. 40 They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river. 42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. 43 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing. 44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples, 45 that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the Lord!

Re-read the passage at least once more as you continue to hear what your heart is saying to Jesus and Jesus is saying to you!

Discussion and Reflection

Our scripture for prayer this week, Psalm 105, is the first of the Hallelujah psalms:105, 106, 11-113, 115, 117, 135, 146-149. Hallelujah means “Praise the Lord” in Hebrew. Some scholars believe the order of the Hallelujah psalms reflects when these psalms were used in public worship, so Psalm 105 may have been used much like we use a call to worship or opening praise sentences in our worship services.

Psalm 105 is quoted in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22 as David returns the ark to a tent in Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 16:7 tells us, “That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the LORD in this manner”, that is, using Psalm 105. To expand your study, look up 1 Chronicles 16 to determine which verses from Psalm 105 did David prescribe to be used to praise the Lord.

Psalm 105 might be divided into several parts:

1-6: Hymnic introduction
7-11: Introduction to God’s covenant
12-41 God Fulfilling God’s covenant promises

Psalm 105:16-38 covers the rise of Joseph in Egypt to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. These particular verses relate to this Sunday’s message, Exodus 5:1-2, 7:8-23.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. Writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

List as many different actions in Psalm 105:1-6 that the psalmist calls the reader/worshiper to ascribe to: How many did you list? How do you practice each of them? Which of them might need more of your attention?

How would you describe the nature of the covenant? What is the nature of its depth and breath? What are some of the ways that this impacts your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ? List as many as you can.

As you read and reflect on Psalm 105 once more, list the ways that God accomplishes God’s purposes contrary to human expectations. What does this reflection lead you to pray?
How does the psalm help you understand God’s grace that gives first, even as it calls us to obedience and righteousness?

What else did you gleam from praying this scripture?
As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for your amazing love. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear your call and hear it more clearly and then move in faithful steps of your love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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Study guide by Pastor Forrest, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

John 15:1-11. New Revised Standard Version

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes[a] to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed[b] by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide 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. 5 I 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. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become[c] my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

We know love for God first loved us (1 John 4:19). To love God is to follow the commandments set out before us. It not only brings us joy in life but glorifies God. We are told we can do all things through God who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), and we must remember our passage here. That we must follow Jesus, abiding in his love and commandments in order for us to grow and be nurtured. Take time to reflect on a particular word or phrase that stood out in your mind. Truly focus on this for a few minutes pondering it and praying over it before moving on.

Discussion and Reflection

This passage comes in the middle of Jesus talking to his disciples about the Holy Spirit. The great Comforter and Advocate that will come and guide them while Jesus is gone from this world. Our passage today even though it may not say it aloud is all about the involvement of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is not just a comforter but an integral part of the Holy Trinity that gives us power.

Also in talking about the Holy Spirit Jesus says in John 14:22 when in talking with his disciples about his death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit to come, “Very truly I tell you the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and in fact will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father.” For our faith to grow we must be willing to be pruned or disciplined by God. A rebellious heart does not belong to the Lord. Jesus lays out here that we are made clean by him in verse 3, and that by following God’s commands we will grow in love and glorify God.

The hardest part of this passage for us can be the standard which we are held to in our relationship with God. We are called to bear fruit in the Lord by following God’s his commands and following Jesus who laid down his own life in our place to repair our broken relationship with God.

By abiding in Jesus and following his commandments we learn through the Bible that this path leads to joy. Realizing this we know that departing from God’s commandments brings pain and sadness which is the opposite of joy.

Following God’s commandments leads to joy and love, “if you keep my commandments you will abide in my love just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (10). We do not know real love, Christ like love, without knowing his commandments. By studying the scriptures, praying over them, talking about them and then living them out with others, we understand love that is given to us and we are always to give to others.

So where are you feeling the tug of conviction or joy to serve the Lord in a new area in your life? Knowing that you are already made clean through Jesus’s sacrifice and can do all things through Jesus should be an encouraging force for change in our lives. Knowing that it is not all on our own will power, but it is about being filled with the Holy Spirit equips us. We are called to bear fruit in love by following God’s word, Jesus. So today and hereafter be filled with the powerful Holy Spirit that guides you to bear fruit and sustains you in times of God’s pruning.

Read the scripture one more time out loud. Take a moment to reflect on what Jesus is calling us to do.

Further Reflection

How are you abiding in God’s commandments and love?

What are areas God is trying to show you to grow in today? As uncomfortable and even painful that it may be, now can be the very time of pruning or cutting back that the Lord is leading you to that is necessary for your growth.

What emotions does this passage stir up? Whether good, bad, or in between? Enter into prayer to give God control to try and understand. This helps us to go to God in times of fruitfulness and times of barrenness, , then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: Almighty God I ask you to continue to fill me with the Holy Spirit. Call me into more times of fruit even though it means I must be pruned. Guide me in the barren times to seek you further and open your word to reveal truth to me.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

John 15:26-16:15 NRSV, Sept. 14-20, 2020

Study guide by Pastor Rob, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded. We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture.

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

John 15:26-16:15 NRSV

15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. 16:1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, 5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Re-read the passage at least once more as you continue to hear what your heart is saying to Jesus and Jesus is saying to you!

Discussion and Reflection

Our reading this week is an extended section of the Gospel of John called “The Farewell Discourses.” This section is an extended teaching by Jesus to his disciples as he shares a final meal with them, his closest friends. “The Farewell Discourses” are from Chapter 13, verse 1 through Chapter 17, verse 26. Jesus begins by washing his disciples’ feet, and Jesus’ teaching includes the institution of Holy Communion and much more! We must remember that Jesus words are not just to his first disciples but for all disciples regardless of time and place, who are members of Jesus’ body. Jesus’ public ministry has come to a close and his passion awaits.

Spend time reflecting on the following questions.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. This writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

  1. What Names used in passage? List.
  2. The disciples were “filled with grief” (v6). Why? Was their grief misplaced? Have you ever experienced such a situation? What did you learn from it?
  3. Relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit according to the passage? List.
  4. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? List.
  5. What does the work of the Holy Spirit mean to your life of faith?
  6. What other insights did you hear as you listened and prayed?

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for your amazing love. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear your call and hear it more clearly and then move in faithful steps of your love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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1 Corinthians 2:6-16  NRSV September 7-13

Study guide by Pastor Rob, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded. We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture.

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 NRSV

6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.

16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Re-read the passage at least once more as you continue to hear what your heart is saying to Jesus and Jesus is saying to you!

Discussion and Reflection

Our reading this week continues from the scripture used for last week’s Praying the Scriptures. Last week, Pastor Deborah wrote, “Paul was a great thinker. He marveled how Jesus refused to exploit his status as the Son of God for his own benefit. Instead, in obedience to God’s plan, Jesus emptied himself, and humbly chose to give his life to die a cruel innocent death on the cross. The outcome of Jesus’ self-giving love and absolute weakness and vulnerability were the power of God and the wisdom of God, ushering in God’s new creation of life and forgiveness and healing.”

The focus of this week’s reading is the wisdom of God that Paul began to unpack in last week’s reading. Last week, we heard Paul compare Godly wisdom to worldly wisdom. Today’s reading continues this theme, but Paul focuses on the necessity of the Holy Spirit in understanding the mind of Christ. Paul wants us and the church to see that if we are seeking wisdom in the world, we will be missing the wisdom of God.

Spend time reflecting on the following questions.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. This writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

  1. List the characteristics of the world’s wisdom and God’s wisdom that are revealed in the passage.
  2. Compare verse 9 with Isaiah 64:4. Do you see similarities and / or differences?
  3. How do you understand verse 11a?  “For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within?”
  4. How do you understand verse 11b?  “So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.”
  5. What are the gifts of the Spirit from this passage?  From elsewhere in scripture?
  6. What does it mean to have “the mind of Christ” (v16)?

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for your amazing love. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear your call and hear it more clearly and then move in faithful steps of your love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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Romans 8:1-11 NRSV

Study guide by Pastor Rob, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Romans 8:1-11 NRSV

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.

8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Re-read the passage at least once more as you continue to hear what your heart is saying to Jesus and Jesus is saying to you!

Discussion and Reflection

Our reading this week is from the apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans and a larger section of the letter that addresses God’s gracious gift of righteousness through Jesus Christ. In Romans 5, Paul reveals story of the redemption that is available through Jesus “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Paul preaches about comfort and peace that surpasses each and every earthly circumstance. In this week’s passage, Paul tells us about a hope that “does not disappoint us” (5:5). This hope is different than the way most people think of hope.

You could work with the questions on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. This writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

  1. How would you define “justified” and “faith”, as Paul uses these words in Romans 5:1? What benefits does the act of being justified bring to those with faith?
  2. How many times is “boast” used in the passage? Can a Christian “boast”? Why or why not?
  3. Paul’s hope is not a speculative thing. It is a joyful expectation. Why?
  4. How is Christian hope (Romans 5:2) different from the way most people think of hope?
  5. Why does Paul say that hope does not put us to shame ( 5:5)?
  6. What is the relationship between good character and good hope (Roman 5:4)?
  7. What is the significance of noting that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8)?
  8. What else did you gleam from praying this scripture?

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer: Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for your amazing love. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear your call and hear it more clearly and then move in faithful steps of your love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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Week 23, August 24-30, 2020, Psalm 61

Study guide by Pastor Rob

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 61 New Revised Standard Version

1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  2 From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I;  3 for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.  4 Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings. (Selah)  5 For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.  6 Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations!  7 May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!  8 So I will always sing praises to your name, as I pay my vows day after day. 

Re-read the passage at least once more but in a different way than you read it previously!

Discussion

David is the author of this psalm. The particular circumstances of David’s difficulty is uncertain, but some believe it was written following David’s ascent to the throne. David was often in trouble, both before and after he ascended to the throne.  

Psalm 61 combines several themes including lament, thanksgiving, vow and petition. Thanksgiving is the prevailing theme. Verses 1-3 indicate the profound distress of the poet, who is suffering. The suffering leads to a lost of courage due to a perceived separation from God.  This separation is evident as the poet calls to the Lord “from the end of the earth.” But the cry is a cry of faith in God’s grace and power, “Lead me to the rock that is higher that I.”  In verse 4, the poet has rediscovered his refugee in God, who is the source of the poet’s protection. It is in the Lord’s house that the poet wishes to live forever. In verse 5, the psalm turns in earnest to the most prominent theme: thanksgiving. The poet is thankful for God’s attentiveness and faithfulness, and in thanksgiving, the poet lifts petitions, praise and promises. 

Further Reflection

You could work with the questions below over different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. Writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures. 

  1. What do you do when you don’t know where God is? We need to know the answer to this question deep in our heart. 
  2. Verses 1-3 are a deep lament. When we grieve and suffer, does it help to know that David grieved and suffered, but so did Jesus?  Why or why not? 
  3. Hebrews 5:7 says, ​“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications ​with loud cries and tears​, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence​.”
  4. Do you need to hear today that ​your tears are not a sign of weakness but of your Christ-likeness? Stop and tell Jesus what you are feeling and thinking!

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer.

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I praise you for your amazing love. I praise you for your wisdom. I praise you for a future in your presence. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear and celebrate the assurance your love and grace in my life, and then take faithful steps in your love to praise your wondrous name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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Week 22, August 16-22, 2020, Psalm 34

Study guide by Pastor Rob

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud if you are able. Read it straight-through. Then, read the text pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 34 New Revised Standard Version

  1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.

  6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. 9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.

  10 The young lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all.

  20 He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil brings death to the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Re-read the passage at least once more but in a different way than you read it previously!

Discussion

Psalm 34 in the NRSV is subtitled: “Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so he drove him out and he went away.”  The event is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-22. You can read about this episode in David’s life at  David’s Life . As a fugitive from Saul, David went to the Philistine city of Gath but found no refuge and only narrowly escaped. Following that, David went to the cave at Adullam where many desperate men joined him. It is possible that this joyful psalm was written on the way to the cave or at the cave and sung in the presence of those that had gathered with David.

Psalm 34 is joyful and it is an acrostic with the beginning of each verse a different letter of the 22 letter Hebrew alphabet. The purpose of the acrostic format likely was a means of encouraging learning and memorization. Would you consider memorizing at least a few verses?  

How about verses 1 and 2: “1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.”

Further Reflection

You could work with the questions below on different days as you continue to reflect on this reading during the week. Write the questions in a journal and record your thoughts. Writing is invaluable for focus and for future insight into your progress in Praying the Scriptures.

  1. Does knowing more about the context of the Psalm 34 described above help you connect with it? Why?
  2. Memorize verses 1 and 2 this week. “1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.” Write it down several times to help you memorize it.
  3. Let’s examine verses 1 and 2 more closely. What if our praise and thanksgiving were not only in our hearts but “in my mouth” too and in our souls? How would this refine everything we do? How would last week have been different? How can this week be different? Examine and pray about this question. Journal what you hear.
  4. Verse 2 is “My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.” David could have boasted in himself, when he got out of the jam of 1 Samuel 21. Was David not clever pretending madness? But David knew that God was working things for good. David’s deliverance was not because of his cleverness. What or who was responsible? Examine through prayer what blessings you contribute by your strength, mental capacity, and cleverness and what you contributed to God. Would David agree with you? Why or why not? Pray a prayer of response after examining this question.
  5. Verse 4 is “I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” David’s simple testimony in verse 4 is still powerful thousands of years later. David sought the Lord, looked to the Lord in loving trust. God then heard God’s servant with the implication that God heard him with love, sympathy, and action. God responded and delivered David from all his fears. What fears do you need to bring to the Lord, today? Write them down, then read verse 6 before crying out to the Lord for God’s answer and deliverance from your fear(s).
  6. Re-read verses 17-22 and make a list of the lessons that David wants his hearers to know. Find one or prominent places in your house, office, vvehicle, etc. to post your list so you will see it several times a day.

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer. 

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I praise you for your amazing love. I praise you for your wisdom. I praise you for a future in your presence. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear and celebrate the assurance your love and grace in my life, and then take faithful steps in your love to praise your wondrous name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

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Week 21, August 9-15, 2020, Psalm 23

Study guide by Pastor Deborah

Our live Praying the Scriptures Zoom meetings have concluded.  We hope you will continue to Pray the Scriptures on your own and with friends as we will  publish a new study guide on this webpage every Monday.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here.

Preparing to Pray

The goal of the spiritual life is to open the center of our being to Christ, so that all facets of our lives may come together in Jesus. Praying the Scriptures is one means of working with God toward this goal as we pray a particular text or through various themes of scripture. 

Find a time when you are able to spend extended time in prayer. This discipline is not intended to be rushed. You want to find the time to enter a time of conversation with the Lord. Choose a place where you can pray and not be interrupted. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle or holding a cross or other object in your hand. You could pull up another chair as an invitation to welcome Jesus, and even place a sign “I Am” at the table or in the seat as a symbol of God’s presence. You may find it helpful to center you mind and heart by breathing slowly and deeply. Slowly inhale and exhale, several times. Then, open in prayer, using the prayer below or another of your choosing. You may wish to repeat the prayer several times until you experience your spirit opening to the Lord’s Spirit. Return to this centering or to the prayer if you become distracted. 

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I humble myself in your presence. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; [your] greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3). Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, you may continue by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. When two friends come together, they don’t usually jump into a deep conversation. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with Jesus. You realize Jesus is attentive to you. His love calls out to your heart. His love is deeply personal, and he is not only eager to sit with you now, but he wants to have a deep conversation with you as you listen to one another and share deeply. Repeat any or all of the steps above until you know you are ready to hear the Lord.

Reading The Text

Read the passage slowly and deliberating, so as not to miss a drop of what Jesus has for you. Plan to read the text in different ways to catch all that Jesus has for you today. Read the text as differing speeds. Read it aloud, if you are able. Read it straight-through, then read it pausing at words that catch your attention or at the end of phrases and verses. Do not rush, because Jesus has something important to say to you, and you have something important to say to Jesus!

Psalm 23 New King James Version

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Discussion and Reflection

“I shall not want.“

This is David’s statement of contentment in the Good Shepherd. It is only the Lord who can give us a deep, quiet, settled peace. Only the Lord can bless us with assurance of faith. Only the Lord can satisfy our souls with the knowledge of daily gifts of forgiveness.  Only the Lord can make us rich in spirit, generous in heart, large of soul. How does the Good Shepherd bless you with deep contentment?

As you end your reflection, pray the prayer below or one of your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer. 

Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I praise you for your amazing love. I praise you for your wisdom. I praise you for a future in your presence. Continue to make your presence known so that I may hear and celebrate the assurance your love and grace in my life, and then take faithful steps in your love to praise your wondrous name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

Want more Praying The Scriptures? View our archive of past study guides by clicking here. 

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