For context, look at the parable of the sower and it’s explanation in Luke 8:4-15.
I say this prayer pretty much every time I read the Bible. Why, especially now that I seem to be able to recite it without even thinking about it? What’s the point?
This prayer, even when I’m in a hurry and hardly think about it, expresses my true desire. This is what I want the reading of scripture to do to me, within me, and through me…even when I’m hurried or distracted or skeptical or depressed. No matter what is going on in me, I want God’s word to have this effect, long-term, in my life.
- What is your experience with reading scripture?
- If you find it challenging, what sorts of things would help you?
- Though I have specifically mentioned scripture, I believe God’s word can be sown in our lives at any moment of any day through the prompting and counsel of the Holy Spirit: how open are we to receiving God’s word in that form and letting it root in our lives and bear fruit?
- I see a clear parallel between the thorns in the Luke passage and the ashes in the quote from Thomas Merton in the last post. I think these thorns and ashes, the distractions and anxieties of my life, are what hold me back, choke out the fire of God’s Spirit in me. What is your experience like?
Again, I encourage you to write down your thoughts. Why? It makes space for you to think them, decide if you believe them or not, revise them, and remember them later.
Grace and peace to you…
4 replies on “A prayer when reading scripture”
Thank you for the prompts.
I find scripture to be very helpful in seeking what I would consider to becoming all flame or traveling toward true self. I have a difficult time with folks who come up with their own particular angle on a segment of scripture because of a particular insight, linguistic, contextual, or otherwise, they are taking on the passage – too many what ifs. For example, the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-22) I have read critiques from an Orthodox perspective, from a more gnostic wisdom tradition, and from what I can read on the page. I am not concerned with variation in interpretations or applications, but I do get frustrated with critiques who claim a franchise on understanding.
Instead, I see scripture as the opportunity to contextualize within my own journey the words. For example, a very important passage for me is Matthew 7:7-8:
“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.”
This line of scripture, first and foremost to me, has always spoken of the power of prayer/meditation/being in community with God. Today, that understanding of the power in knocking keeps me from trivializing my engagement with God – of not praying to win the lottery, get a good grade on a test, etc. etc. – I am not a big intercessory kind of person, beyond “show me the way” Rather, I see this verse of scripture as an invitation to engage with God, which I do not take as a casual halfway affair. My point being, it is really irrelevant to me how else one might choose to interpret or be led by that line of scripture – that can work well for them, and I am not particularly interested in trying to convince them that my take on the verse is any better or any worse – but within scripture, tradition, my experience, and my ability to reason, I live into my understanding – that moves me on the road toward a more true self.
I spent many years in a tradition that valued ‘right doctrine’ more highly than just about anything else. Of course, that was directly connected to having ‘the right interpretation’ of scripture; select passages of scripture, that is. I’m sure I’ll share more about that in future posts, but the short version is that I had to admit I was miserable and that I honestly experienced the ‘Gospel’ as bad news, not good.
I repented. Since then, I read scripture pretty much the way you describe and the way my prayer pleads for: God, incarnate this time of reading scripture so that the result is what you want for me.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Grace and peace to you…
Hi DW. I love the new look of your site! It’s beautiful.
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Thank you Pam. I’m actually biting the bullet and figuring out this block editor. I’m grateful for feedback, positive or negative, cuz I’m just learning as I go. I hope all is well with you!
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