When we learn how to pray from the Bible, we open ourselves to the sacred dance of speaking to God and listening to our Supreme Friend.
Have you ever thought about that? God not one has the ability to speak to you; but he wants to speak to you, and he will use the Bible to do it. This is why learning how to pray from the Bible is so vital to your relationship with God. It is here that the Almighty God has your ear.
In this article, I am going to show you an ancient four step practice that allows you to pray the Bible to your God, and in turn, to hear the voice of the one who has always been present but not always heard.
This ancient practice is known as sacred reading, or lectio divina. Through this process, you make yourself open and available to God, allowing his sacred word to penetrate past your defenses and precious presuppositions, and from the inside out, transform your life into a beacon of holiness.
The first step to praying the Bible is to concentrate. Your Supreme Friend is always near, nearer than you may have ever imagined. We do not miss him because he is silent. We miss him because we are not listening. Like a radio tunes into the correct frequency to hear music, during this step, you tune your heart to hear the sound of the Creator’s voice.
Many people find it helpful to take many calming deep breaths at this stage. I have found a minute works best for the majority of people. While you breathe, allow the constant barrage of external stresses to slowly fade away. You hear from these thoughts enough throughout the day. Instead, this time is devoted to hearing the voice of God.
Once you have taken a few deep breaths, vocally claim the promise that God is here, that God has a message he wants you to hear, that God is eagerly waiting to bestow these words of life upon your starving soul.
After you have finished with the step of concentration, we move onto the second step, consider.
It is during this step that you will hear the voice of God in the Bible. Take a small portion of scripture, four to ten verses will suffice, and slowly and thoughtfully read through them. As you read this way, you are going to notice something. Certain words and phrases will jump at out you, as if something divine has highlighted them. When this happens, take heed, this is God speaking to you through the scriptures.
Take this word or phrase and move on to step three, conversing with God. Start talking to him about what stood out. Why did he bring this to your mind? What is going on in your life that he needs you to hear this? What in your life should now change? Do you need to repent, commit, or celebrate from what you have heard? Is there somebody you need to share this message with?
It is important during step three that you do not do all the talking. Ask the question and then wait awhile. As Ruth Barton said in her wonderful book “Sacred Rhythms”, “One of the reasons this approach is so powerful is that lectio divina involves a delicate balance of silence and word. It is a very concrete way of entering into the rhythm of speaking and listening involved in intimate communication.”
Many people find that God speaks to them through impressions, convictions, a sense of certitude, and even vocally into their mind. Embrace these notions as a grace from the one who loved you since before time.
The last step, then, is to consecrate. During your time talking to God through the Bible and listening to him, a peace may have come over your soul. You may receive the inclination to just rest in his presence, not forcing any thought or words. If you come to feel this, bask in the glory of intimacy. Just as a newborn baby basks in the embrace of his mother without needing to express himself, so you can now rest with God, knowing you are fully loved and accepted by him.
The Bible is God’s chosen vehicle to transport us into his presence, and once there, speak to his children as one would do a friend. Take up your bible. Pray with it. By going through this process, you will learn what Christ meant when he said that you are no longer considered his servant. He considers you his friend.