John 10:11-18 – Celebrate the Good Shepherd

JOHN 10:11-18

11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away — and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • The Good Shepherd is calling the flock to follow.
  • What do you hear?
  • How do you follow?
  • How does Jesus know you?
  • How do you know Jesus’ voice?
  • What sheep not currently in the fold will Jesus bring in?
  • How will they know his voice?
  • What part of you needs to be brought into the fold?
  • What do you need to hear from your Good Shepherd?
  • Believe that Jesus has the power to help his sheep.
  • Jesus wants to help you.
  • Give thanks to God for the Good Shepherd, for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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1 John 3:16-24 – Let us love in truth and action…

1 JOHN 3:16-24

16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Breathe intentionally a deep belly breath.  Relax your shoulders.  Let your belly button extend toward the far wall.  Then let go and push out anything you need to let go.  Continue to breathe this deeply.
  • Inhale love………….Exhale hatred.
  • Inhale peace………..Exhale fracture.
  • Inhale hope………….Exhale disbelief.
  • Continue to breathe and accept God’s love.
  • Remember a time someone gave their life for you.
  • Go back to that time and place.  Reenter the experience as much as you can.  What do you see? hear? smell? taste? feel?
  • What did you need?
  • How did this person give you life?
  • How did this person give you love?
  • What was your response?
  • From this side of the experience, where did you see Christ?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • As you go about your day and see a brother or sister in need of love, will you give life?  Or will you refuse?
  • Be open to those who need life and love.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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

Psalm 23 – He leads me beside still waters

PSALM 23:1-6

1   The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2        He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3        he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

4   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.

5   You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6   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.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Come and sit by the water.
  • Sit in Christ’s presence.
  • Set other cares aside so that you can sit and be with the Lord.
  • Notice what it feels like to sit and be with the Lord.
  • From this place of love, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of gentleness, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of peace, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of surrender, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of goodness, let the Lord lead you.
  • From this place of mercy, let the Lord lead you.
  • Hold this place of love, gentleness, peace, surrender, goodness, and mercy.  Breathe in this place where you dwell with the Lord.  Carry it with you today.
  • Breathe in this place before you make decisions.
  • Breathe in this place before you speak.
  • Breathe in this place before you act.
  • Let Christ lead your day.
  • Take time to reflect at the end of the day.  Where did Christ lead you?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received. Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Lectionary, Peace, Prayer, Psalm, Rest, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Acts 4:5-12 – The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone

ACTS 4:5-12

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is 
     ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; 
          it has become the cornerstone.’ 
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Who is holding you prisoner today for something you have done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth?
  • How long have you been imprisoned?
  • Do you need to spend more time there?  Or are you ready to be released?
  • To be released you must face the local rulers.
  • During an inquiry of local rulers, what will your response be?
  • What cornerstone will you draw upon?
  • What truth do you need to share with the local rulers?
  • What risk do you perceive?
  • What strength do you need to take this risk?
  • What is the consequence?
  • What is the reward?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 22, 2012, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23:1-6
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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Luke 24:36b-48 – Why do doubts arise in your heart?

LUKE 24:36B-48

“Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence.

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your breath, pay attention to any doubt arising in you that might keep you from Christ.
  • Instead of setting this aside,  identify where this doubt resides in your body.
  • Allow your breath to reach this place of doubt in your body.
  • Continue to breathe to this place, allowing the breath of God heal this place of doubt.
  • Be open to healing and possibility in this place.
  • Let go of any hatred or fear.
  • Are there other doubts in you that need to be addressed.
  • Continue this exercise until you are as free and open as you can be to listen to God.
  • As you rest in this place of openness and freedom, consider what words have been spoken that must be fulfilled.
  • The Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.
  • Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in the name of Jesus.
  • You are witnesses of these things.
  • How have you witnessed these things in the world around you?
  • How have you witnessed these things in your neighbor?
  • How have you witnessed these things in you?
  • What is God’s message for you in this witness that you have encountered?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in Faith, Forgiveness, Lectionary, Luke, Peace, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

1 John 3:1-7 – The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him…

1 JOHN 3:1-7

1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

4Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your breath, allow your self to hear over and over, “You are a beloved child of God.”
  • Continue to hear this as you allow your breathing to slow.  Let your shoulders drop.  Relax and rest in the knowledge: “You are a beloved child of God.”
  • There is nothing you can do to change this fact.  “You are a beloved child of God.”
  • Remember a time when you did not feel beloved in the world.
  • Allow your body to recall the feelings.
  • Where in your body to notice these feelings?
  • Focus on these feelings.
  • Allow your breath to go to this place.  Invite the breath of God into this place.  “You are a beloved Child of God.”
  • Allow God to heal you.
  • The world cannot heal you as God can heal you.
  • Hear yourself say, “I am a beloved child of God.”
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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

Psalm 4 – Answer me. Hear my prayer.

PSALM 4:1-8

1   Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

2   How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?                Selah
3   But know that the LORD has set apart the faithful for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

4   When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.                                                  Selah
5   Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.

6   There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD!”
7   You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.

8   I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O LORD, make me lie down in safety.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Let go of anything keeping you from listening for God’s word.
  • Let go of anything silencing your hearing.
  • Open your heart with breath.
  • Relax your shoulders.
  • Seek peace.
  • What are you calling out go God today?
  • What answer do you need to hear from God?
  • Notice any tension in your body as you seek the answer.
  • Allow your energy to go to this place to help release the tension.
  • Breathe into this place to relieve the tension.
  • Seek God in this place.
  • Ask again for God to show you the answer.
  • Be open to this answer as you go about your day.
  • Take time to reflect at the end of the day.  Take time to notice any signs you may have missed during the day.
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as  you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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Acts 3:12-19 – Why do you wonder at this?

ACTS 3:12-19

12When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

17“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Peter heals a beggar and the crowd looks on with skepticism.
  • Remember a time recently when you were looked upon with skepticism.
  • What is it that the person or crowd rejected?
  • What did you notice in your body?
  • Were any senses particularly heightened?
  • How was Christ with you?
  • What gave you strength to persevere?
  • What did you learn about your faith?
  • Did the person/crowd repent and turn toward God?
  • How did you extend forgiveness?
  • What did you need to repent to turn toward God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 15, 2012, the Third Sunday of Easter (Year B)

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4:1-8
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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John 20:19-31 – Unless I see the marks, I will not believe…

JOHN 20:19-31

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • Remember a time when you have seen the footprints of Christ that have led you on a particular path.
  • What details do you remember from this experience?
  • What was your prayer?
  • How did Christ lead you in answer to your prayer?
  • Remember a time when you saw the footprints of Christ only AFTER a Christ-led experience.
  • What details do you remember from this experience?
  • What was your prayer?
  • How did Christ lead you in answer to your prayer?
  • Hold these two experiences before you.  What similarities do you see?  What differences?
  • What does God want to reveal to you about your faith?
  • What is  your prayer today?
  • How might you open yourself to be ready to encounter the risen Christ?
  • Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe!
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 8, 2018, the Second Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133:1-3
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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1 John – God is Light and in God there is no darkness at all

 1 JOHN 1:1-2:2

1:1We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — 2this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us —3we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

2:1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • God is light.  Breathe in the light.
  • There is no darkness.  Exhale darkness.
  • Inhale light.
  • Exhale darkness.
  • Imagine walking in the light of Christ.  You may wish to look at the candle you lit or imagine a place of light.
  • What freedom do you feel walking in the light of Christ?
  • Where do you feel the light?
  • If we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another.
  • Who is walking in the light of Christ with you?
  • Are there other faces you do not know?
  • Does anyone surprise you?
  • Give thanks to God for Jesus Christ, the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, April 8, 2018, the Second Sunday of Easter Year B

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133:1-3
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 20:19-31

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings (c) 2018 The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

Posted in 1 John, Breathe, Lectionary, Light, Revised Common Lectionary | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment