Meditation and Prayer
Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.
The reading or listening which is the first step in lectio divina is very different from the speed reading which modern Christians apply to newspapers, books and even to the Bible. Lectio is reverential listening; listening both in a spirit of silence and of awe. We are listening for the still, small voice of God that will speak to us personally - not loudly, but intimately. In lectio we read slowly, attentively, gently listening to hear a word or phrase that is God's word for us this day.
Fr. Luke Dysinger outlines the steps in the ancient art of Lectio Divina:
- Lectio - reading/listening
- Meditatio - meditation
- Oratio - prayer
- Contemplatio - contemplation
He explains how Lectio Divina can be used in private, as a group exercise and as a reflection on life. [more...]
So what is Scripture engagement? It is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Scriptures that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating, mulling over, reflecting, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, resulting in a “transformative engagement” with God.
Here you'll find a set of practical exercises and activities you can undertake to interact more meaningfully with the Bible. Introductory articles include 'What is Scripture Engagement?' and 'An Overview of Scripture Engagement Practices'.
Topics include: Lexio Divina, praying Scripture, memorizing Scripture, singing Scripture, journaling Scripture, hand copying Scripture, Scripture engagement through visual art, storying Scripture, speaking Scripture, manuscript Bible study and public reading of Scripture. Each topic has practice tips as well as links to helpful resources. [more...]
Manual and worksheets for training writers of Bible Guides.
SU International has helped with workshops for writers of Bible guides in Africa (francophone and anglophone), the Americas, South Asia, East Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Republics. These workshops have given opportunities to develop resources for training, and to test them in different contexts.
This brief manual aims to bring these resources together and make them available on the for Bible ministries staff around the world to make use of and adapt for their own context. [more...]
Too often, we take a purely intellectual approach to the Bible. We think that studying more and more will somehow make God’s Word come alive. Of course, it’s valuable to gain Bible knowledge and to learn biblical truth. But the most exciting thing about reading the Bible is that by doing so we can gain a deeper relationship with the Person behind it. I call it "relational Bible reading" and I believe it’s the active ingredient in a healthy devotional life.
The goal of this inspiring booklet is "to provide the practical help you need to begin enjoying God’s Word every day, whether you’re new to the Bible or have been reading it for years."
The author, who is president of Scripture Union/USA, gives practical tips for regular Bible reading, shares personal experiences and motivates the reader to engage with Scripture. He explains the Scripture Union Bible reading method - Pray-Read-Reflect-Apply-Pray - and lists seven habits of effective Bible readers. [more...]
"I want to pull the Christian Scriptures back from the margins of the contemporary imagination where they have been so rudely elbowed by their glamorous competitors, and reestablish them at the center as the text for living the Christian life deeply and well."
Eugene Peterson encourages readers to feed on and live the Scriptures. He wants us to see the Bible as more than a book telling us how to think or behave. We must "eat this book"!
"Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don't simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus' name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son."
Scripture engagement is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Bible that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating on, mulling over, reflecting on, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, "until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).
The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the first day, the focus was on using Lectio Divina.
There are four traditional stages of Lectio Divina:
1. Reading (Lectio): To be done slowly and with focussed attention. Lectio Divina is best practiced with passages that you have at least some familiarity with.
2. Meditation (Meditatio): The goal is to pick out a word, idea, or phrase that strikes you in a personal way, and to repeat that idea in your mind, lingering over it and giving it your attention.
3. Prayer (Oratio): Take all the thoughts, feelings, actions, fears, convictions, and questions you have meditated on and offer them to the Lord in prayer.
4. Contemplation (Contemplatio): The 'task' in this stage is simply to be silent in the presence of God.
Pray-as-you-go is a daily prayer session, designed for use on portable MP3 players, to help you pray whilst travelling to and from work, study, etc.
A new prayer session is produced every day. It is not a 'Thought for the Day', a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.
Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection. The aim is to help you to:
- become more aware of God's presence in your life
- listen to and reflect on God's word
- grow in your relationship with God.
While many tend to think of prayer and Bible reading as separate spiritual practices (e.g. first I pray, then I read the Bible), they can be even more powerful when combined into one practice of "praying Scripture."
The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the second day, the focus was on Praying Scripture.
"To pray the Scriptures is to order one's time of prayer around a particular text of the Bible." This can mean either praying the prayers of the Bible word-for-word as your own prayers, personalizing portions of the Scriptures in prayer, or praying through various topics of the Bible.
Download the handout which contains more thoughts on Praying Scripture, including insights into how George Mueller started his day:
"The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord blessing upon his precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately or less into prayer." [more...]
"...the creative engagement between respondents and text results from respondents discovering that the psalms resonate with their idealism and basic human needs in ways that facilitate their ongoing spiritual quest for meaning and enlightenment, as well as providing an opportunity to confront God with complaints and dilemmas."
This study is the account of an empirical research programme in practical theology exploring the potential of the Book of Psalms to facilitate the spiritual journey of a sample of University of Edinburgh students aged between twenty and thirty who are on or beyond the fringes of the churches. Drawing upon some insights of the Bible Society movement regarding ‘scripture engagement,’ and in the wider context of increasing interest in spirituality and decreasing confidence in the churches among many westernised young adults, the project seeks to answer two research questions. [more...]
"Clear, simple and readable - very practical, fully supported with further reading ... exactly the kind of thing that is needed."
Chris Wright, Langham Partnership
A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media.
Individual chapters can be used as a standalone interactive workshop in church or mission contexts. Chapters (with further reading) are also appropriate as a text for graduate studies. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links for useful websites.