Week 16, July 6-10, 2020

Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)

The Lord Is My Shepherd

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

Find a quiet time when you are able to read a scripture and pray. Choose one place – a chair – where you can have silence and no interruption. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle. Breath slowly and deeply, slowly inhaling and exhaling, 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.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, incline your ear to me to hear my prayer and open my heart to you, so as you speak to me, I may hear your voice clearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, begin by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. Imagine a room with two chairs, facing each other; Jesus in one, you in the other chair. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with him.

Over and over the scriptures attest to God’s unconditional love for you. From I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  As you pray today, pray in the knowledge that you are abundantly loved.

Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV)

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

The image of Christ as the Good Shepherd was central to the early church, up until the fourth century. We know this because the shepherd image was depicted over and over in the catacombs. The early Christians saw it as an image of Christ as Savior, showing Christ’s tender care, protection, provision, as well as gracious sacrifice and gift of his life. The image was shown in the catacombs with a childlike simplicity.

In our time, Christ as Good Shepherd is also a favorite among people of faith. Even though we do not have firsthand knowledge of shepherds, we are drawn to the powerful words of Psalm 23. May this psalm study deepen our knowledge and love of the Good Shepherd.

How has this psalm helped you to understand who God is?

Reflect on this question this week. Write down your thoughts.

Prayer:  Savior, like a Shepherd lead us, much we need thy tender care. May we learn anew of your abiding love as we study the Scriptures and open our hearts to you in prayer. Teach us just as you taught the Christians in the early church. 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. 

Week 15, June 29-July 3, 2020

Mark 9:17-25  New Revised Standard Version

Preparing to Pray

Today do not worry over finding the perfect spot to do your devotion. Sometimes we can over think and fall to the trap that if we aren’t in the exact right spot then we won’t hear from God or be close to God. Today if you can’t get into your usual space then challenge yourself to take aside time from one of your activities. Work, lunch, TV, etc and read through the bible verse twice, making sure to pray before and after each reading. Our faith is always with us, not just available at certain times, we must make room in our busy lives to be faithful.

Mark 9:17-25  New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid.[d] So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Jesus said to them,[e] “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

Discussion and Reflection

Put yourself in the situation of the parent. How would you have responded to Jesus?

If faith the size of a mustard seed will move a mountain, what did it look like for this parent to have faith?

Our faith is important and should not be taken lightly. It saves our eternal life but it can also heal and help our own and others’ physical and spiritual lives. Because of the parent’s faith, his son was healed. 

Spiritual warfare is real and happens today. So taking our time to be connected to God and having the faith to recognize evil and stand up in our faith is essential. 

Prayer:  Gracious Lord, reveal within us today where you are missing in our lives. Let us have the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains and where we lack faith let you prevail. Help us in our unbelief, trusting out of faith that you surely do keep your promises and work for the good of your people. 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. 

Praying the Scriptures, Week 14, June 22-26, 2020

Genesis 22:1-14 NRSV  

You are invited to an optional opportunity to discuss this week’s scripture online with Pastor Jiyeon and others, Thursday, June 25, either at 1:30p.m. or 7:30 p.m. via Zoom conferencing. The Zoom Meeting links are below:

To join the Thursday, June 25,  meeting at 1:30 p.m., please  click 1:30 Praying the Scriptures.

To join the Thursday, June 25,  meeting at 7:30 p.m., please  click 7:30 Praying the Scriptures

To find out more about Zoom visit our How to Connect Page. You will also find some Zoom directions below today’s guide.

Preparing to Pray

Find a quiet time when you are able to read a scripture and pray. Choose one place – a chair – where you can have silence and no interruption. You might set the time and place for prayer by lighting a candle. Breath slowly and deeply, slowly inhaling and exhaling, 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.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, incline your ear to me to hear my prayer and open my heart to you, so as you speak to me, I may hear your voice clearly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

After praying the short prayer, begin by spending one, two or more minutes sitting with Jesus. Imagine a room with two chairs, facing each other; Jesus in one, you in the other chair. Let the first moments that you sit with Jesus be gentle and slow and warm as you are guided into a deeper conversation with him.

The scriptures attest to God’s unconditional love for you. Read Genesis 22:1-14 and receive God’s love for you. Any words or phrases that caught your attention? Why? What messages does God tell you through the words or phrases?

Genesis 22:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

Discussion and Reflection

1. Imagine having yourself in the role of Abraham and read the scripture one more time. Focus on your emotional changes during the journey in Genesis 22:1-14. 

2. At this time, imagine having yourself in the role of Isaac and read the scripture. Focus on your emotional changes during the journey.

3. “The LORD will provide” is traditionally transliterated Jehovah Jireh in Hebrew. Have you experienced Jehovah Jireh after a certain time of patience and challenges?

You can use the prayer below or your own, then end by slowly praying the Lord’s Prayer. 

Prayer: God of all people, I give you thanks for your universal love. Enable me to dwell in your caring and protecting arms as I’m going through time of doubt and pain.  Grant me strength and power to practice your love for all in my life. 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.

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