–Begin by taking some deep breaths. As you breath you can begin to clear your mind.–
- Breath in by saying or thinking “Good”
- Breath out by saying or thinking “Shepherd”
-continue this breathing exercise until you feel you are ready to continue.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before mePsalm 23
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
It is comforting to think of God as our shepherd. The psalm says God guides us to green pastures and still waters. God is there to help us find the food and water that we need to survive. There are many times in our lives we need someone to guide us in the right direction, or to a still quiet place. We can trust that God is there to help us through all of these things even helping us find peace in the darkest valley or a banquet when we are surrounded by our enemies.
This psalm reminds us that God is with us even in the darkest valley. God is walking along side us when we are at our worst, and when the world around us is at its worst. God is also preparing a banquet for us when we are surrounded by our enemies. When we do not have a friend to talk with God is there providing us a banquet to enjoy. God takes our worst moments and makes them into experiences we can look back on knowing we have grown to be better people through them. Our experiences do not change, but God helps us to see the good in the midst of it all.
In the gospel of John Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus not only lays down his life for us, but he does everything God does in Psalm 23. A meaningful experience for me is to read the psalm and replace “he” with Jesus. I read the Psalm slowly, and meditate on each line. If you do not have time to read the whole Psalm like this, read as many lines as you have time for.
- Read the Psalm slowly.
- As you read the Psalm replace “he” with Jesus
-please take a moment to think about one of these questions. You might want to write your answers down.-
Take some deep breaths.
- Breath in: “Jesus”
- Breath out: “my shepherd”
Good Shepherd, you have lead me to the food and water that I need to sustain my body and my soul. You walked with me in the darkest valley, and given me a banquet when I am surrounded by enemies. Thank you for being my friend, guide and Lord. Amen.