How to Both Read and Pray the Bible

A Guideposts editor uses an ancient prayer practice while riding the subway on his way to work.

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Posted in , Mar 6, 2018

How to both read and pray the Bible

Looking for new direction in your prayer life? Feeling the urge to reach out to God but can’t find the right words or wondering what on earth they should be if you find them? Try turning to a page out of the Bible.

There is a wonderful ancient prayer practice called lectio divina in Latin–done by medieval monks as well as 21st-century editors riding to work on the subway. It’s a way of both reading the Bible and praying.

I was making my way through latter portions of the book of Isaiah this morning and kept having to stop at certain portions and not simply read them but pray them. I’m taking them from the Common English Version because the language feels so direct.

In the normal practice of lectio divina there are four steps: to read, meditate, pray, contemplate but if you ask me they are all a form of prayer.

So here, pray a bit of Isaiah with me:

Sing, heavens, for the Lord has acted; shout, depths of the earth! Burst out with a ringing cry, you mountains, forest, and every tree in it. (Isaiah 44:23)

Pour down, you heavens above, and let the clouds flow with righteousness. (Isaiah 45:7)

Come close to me; listen to this: Since the very beginning I haven’t spoken in secret. Whenever anything happens, I am there. (Isaiah 48:16)

Sing heavens! Rejoice, earth! Break out, mountains, with a song. The Lord has comforted his people, and taken pity on those who suffer. (Isaiah 49:13)

God awakens my ear in the morning to listen as educated people do. (Isaiah 50:2)  

Take just a few words, close your eyes and savor them. Imagine what it’s like to say to yourself, “Shout, depths of the earth!” on a subway train!

The point it, no matter where you are, the Lord is present, as He says, “Whenever anything happens, I am there.” Amen

Tags: Prayer,Faith
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