Praying the Scriptures.
As the Church tells us, the Bible is the place where “God himself speaks to his people” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 7) and “the force and power in the Word of God [contained therein] is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her people, the food of the soul” (Lumen Gentium 29).
So how do I do it?
There is no ONE correct or incorrect way of praying the Scriptures, but some useful things to incorporate are:
- Reading and Listening (God is trying to communicate with us)
- Responding in Prayer
This website has some useful summaries of each book if you want an overview: https://www.youtube.com/user/jointhebibleproject/playlists
And if you do not have a Bible handy or would like to look at an alternative translation, the following is useful: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ex+3%3A1-8&version=NRSVCE
Some people consider the Old Testament difficult and avoid it but it is worth remembering the words of St. Augustine’s, the “New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.”
A good starting place might be our parish ‘Discover the Bible’ cards:
If not, why not slowly work through a book; Luke or St Paul’s Letter to the Romans are good place to begin, or use the Readings from the Day
(available here: http://universalis.com/mass.htm).
God is trying to talk to each of us and the power of His Word is immense, in fact “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12).
For more formal rules, the following may be of help:
Step 1: READ (lectio)
In this first step, we’re “taking a bite” of the scripture (lectio) by reading a passage of Scripture.
Read the verse slowly, several times, listening with the “ear of the heart.”
It is good to read the verses at least twice.
- Is there a word or phrase that begins to stand out to you?
- Listen and be open to how God wants to use his Word to speak into your heart.
- Begin to repeat that word or phrase over and over slowly, soaking your heart in the words.
Step 2: REFLECT (meditatio)
Next, spend some time “chewing” on the words or phrases God placed in your heart.
Reflect and meditate on the words you heard in the Scripture passage, attentive to what speaks to your heart.
- Sit in the silence and allow God the space to speak to you as you turn the words over in your mind.
- Ponder what these words mean for your life.
- What hope or encouragement do these words bring to you?
- What next step do you feel God asking you to take?
Step 3: RESPOND (oratio)
Now “savour” the essence of God’s Word.
- Offer up a prayer of praise, thanksgiving, or petition, depending on how you’re moved.
- Continue turning your word or phrase over and over in your mind.
- Share your heart with God in prayer, responding to his Word.
Step 4: REST (contemplatio)
Finally, “digest” what God’s spoken to you, embedding it deeply into your heart.
Rest in God and contemplate his words for your life. Sit in the silence and just “be” with God for a few minutes.
Open your heart to God’s presence and allow His words to permeate your soul.