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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spiritual Practice: Praying Scripture

In this next week of the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus will reveal the marvelous reality of the Holy Spirit as the Christian’s teacher and guide. The Holy Spirit living within every believer will teach about Jesus, guiding in the way of spiritual truth.

There is an ancient spiritual practice, going back to biblical days, that can help us hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Historically, this practice has been called Lectio Divina (“Sacred Reading”), but I like to simply call it “Praying Scripture”. It is a spiritual practice that brings together into one the power of Scripture and the power of prayer.

Praying Scripture involves four steps:

  • READ
    Read slowly and prayerfully, two or three times, a short Scripture text. As you read, listen for the Holy Spirit speaking to you through the words. Listen for a word or phrase that especially stands out to you.
    Now reflect prayerfully on what you have just read, paying special attention to the word or phrase that stood out for you. Meditate on the words, picture the images, feel the scene, and put yourself there. Let it speak to your life.
    Respond in prayer to what you hear the Holy Spirit saying to you through what you have read and reflected upon. Talk with God about your thoughts, feelings, and questions about the text. Make it a dialogue with God as you listen for Him to speak to you through His word.
  • REST
    Rest in God’s presence now for a few moments, close to the Father’s heart. The old monks called this “lap time” with God, as we just let ourselves be in God’s presence. No need for any words or effort here, just being still with the Father.

When you are finished resting in God’s presence, you can finish by praying The Lord’s Prayer or The Our Father.

You will likely find that Praying Scripture will add to your reading of the Upper Room Discourse, as well as any Bible passage. For today, take the above four steps of Praying Scripture and try them on tomorrow’s passage from the Upper Room Discourse:

I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
John 14:25-26

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