Praying with Scripture for National Bible Week
As National Bible Week draws to a close, it is important for us to remember that, as Christians, we should always be seeking to encounter God through the Scriptures. As we proclaim and practice the Good News, it is essential to have a solid foundation of what God is telling us through His Word. Daily Scripture reading is a good habit to develop, whether it is the daily Mass readings or a randomly chosen Bible passage.
Studying the Bible is productive for our faith, and many parishes have designated Bible study groups. In addition to studying the Word of God, however, it is also important to pray with the Word. The ancient method of prayer that focuses on meditating on Scripture is known as Lectio Divina, which translates to “divine reading.” This tradition has been handed down to us by the contemplative religious orders, and it puts great value on a silence that allows us to listen to the Word.
Lectio Divina can be done either individually or in a group. In either form, the prayer is made up of four steps:
- Read or listen to a passage of Scripture slowly
- Meditate on the passage, focusing on particular words or phrases
- Pray to God in response to the passage
- Contemplate and rest in silence
Lectio Divina does not require deep theological knowledge or previous study of Scripture. Instead, it encourages us to meditate on God’s Word and pray about the points that stick out to us. This method of prayer can lead us to new truths and reflections and bring us closer to Christ, even when we meditate on passages that are very familiar. Silent, contemplative prayer with Scripture allows the Word to move our hearts.
If Lectio Divina is new to you, or if you would like some guidance in your prayer, there are many resources available online. For example, the Order of Carmelites and the Order of Preachers each post meditations on the daily readings on their websites. Try out this method of prayer as we give thanks this week for the Word of God.