2021 Prayer | Day Four
Jesus, my good shepherd; I belong to you
Sheep are mentioned in the Bible more than 500 times, more than any other animal. The obvious reason is the pastoral culture of the times, but sheep can also be a metaphor for our current reality.
First, sheep are biologically and anatomically defenseless. They do not have natural ways to protect themselves, so they need a shepherd. Second, sheep often get themselves into trouble. Although sometimes sheep are stereotyped as dumb, they can actually be as intelligent as rodents and monkeys. One reason sheep get into trouble is because they are followers. It’s part of their herd instinct. A story out of Eastern Turkey reported 400 sheep falling 15 meters to their death because they followed one sheep off a cliff.
Sheep also get in trouble because of their sight. Sheep have excellent peripheral vision. They can see far on either side without turning their heads, but it is difficult for them to see what is directly in front of them. So sheep often stray from the path to get a better look or because they are curious. They are easily sidetracked or lose their way.
Good shepherds in Jesus’s day were devoted to their sheep. They would talk and sing to them, and anoint them with oil as a pest repellent. A good shepherd provided nourishment, refreshment, and protection. Good shepherds were so involved with their sheep that they knew and called each one by name. They were willing to risk their own comfort and even their lives for the sake of their sheep.
This is the caring and sacrificial relationship Jesus has in mind when he says, “I am the good shepherd.” The word translated “good” is associated with beautiful, honorable, and intrinsically good. Our good Shepherd is a guide who can be completely trusted as we follow him.
Consider the most loving, caring, nurturing person in your life. What does it mean to know that their love is only a fraction of God’s love and care for you?
When do you feel most connected and closest to God?
CENTER your body and mind to be with Jesus.
WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND YOURSELF and feel Jesus’s love.
SLOWLY INHALE, “Jesus, my good Shepherd.”
SLOWLY EXHALE, “I belong to you.”
REPEAT THE BREATH PRAYER until you feel Jesus’s peace.
LOOK AND LISTEN for ways Jesus expresses his love and care for you today.