From Praying the Names of Jesus Week Twenty-Three, Day Five
One of the most tender images of Jesus is one he supplied when referring to himself as the Good Shepherd. This name reminds us both of our own vulnerability and Jesus' watchful, protecting care. It evokes a sense of belonging, intimacy, and trust, revealing the Good Shepherd as the One who lays down his life for his sheep. When you pray to the Good Shepherd, you are admitting your need for his care and your confidence in his ability to watch over and protect you.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11
Promises Associated with His Name
I have a friend whose young daughter is a gifted sleeper, a trait that makes it difficult for her to stay dry at night. My friend has tried all the obvious things, including pajama alarms that shriek in the middle of the night, waking everyone but her daughter. Finally, my friend decided to try a different tactic. "What fabulous reward," she asked, "would help you stay dry for thirty nights in a row?"
"Baby Annabell!" was her daughter's quick reply. She wanted the doll who can burp, yawn, and make little baby snoring noises. But best of all, she told her mother, "Baby Annabell knows how to cry real tears."
Unlike my friend's daughter, I find myself motivated by the thought of an opposite reward — a promise to end all tears. It's the promise Jesus makes to his harassed and helpless sheep — to you and to me. He tells us that a day will come when weeping will end. When sorrow will vanish. When fear will disappear. Even now, while we live in this wounded world, we can be comforted by the knowledge that the Lord himself has promised to gather the lambs in his arms and carry them close to his heart.
Promises in Scripture
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:10 - 11
I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 34:25 - 31
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17
Continued Prayer and Praise
Take heart; the Lord is your shepherd. (Ezekiel 34:1 - 24; Matthew 9:36; 1 Peter 2:24 - 25)
Remember that the Lord will judge the nations, separating the sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31 - 33)
Consider what it means to pastor God's people. (John 21:15 - 19; 1 Peter 5:1 - 4)
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.