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prayer the Bible

Resolved to read?

Did anyone out there make a resolution to read the Bible in 2021?

(If you want, you can try out this fancy poll.)

I want to share a few thoughts over the coming weeks about the Bible and the experience of reading it. Not that I’m an expert or anything: I’m not. But maybe my experience could be a help to you.

And yours to me.

So this could be kind of a discussion, if you like. What do you think?

There are two things I want to start with – to me they are really important. The first is where I’m coming from about the purpose of the Bible and of reading it; Jesus says it better than anyone:

“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you…

Peterson, Eugene H.. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language . The Navigators. Kindle Edition. John 5:39-40

There are all kinds of reasons for reading the Bible, but for me this is the one that matters: to bring us to Jesus. That’s what I want to focus on.

The second thing I want to mention today: are you familiar with Mary Oliver’s poem Praying? (If not, you can read it here: Praying – a poem by Mary Oliver – it’s by far the most popular post on this blog.)

What does this have to do with reading the Bible? Everything. Reading the Bible is a way to pray. Come to it from where you are, with what you have and what you lack. Just be yourself. Just come.

Jesus says, “Here I am, right here. Just come on, the way you are, so we can be together.”

Grace and peace to you…

dw

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Other Writings Review-recap

Reflections after 18 months

  1. I started becomingflame.com a little over 18 months ago, have kept with it, and I think the original About page still describes what I’m up to.
  2. I look forward to writing each post and to being surprised each time at what actually comes together.
  3. I read differently now, always being on the lookout for things to share here. I like that.
  4. The most difficult part of each post is finding a photo – it usually accounts for 90% of the time it takes me to finish and publish a post.
  5. I’ve learned that I don’t like writing prose – makes me feel like I need to explain everything as though I’m writing to an audience of brains instead of hearts-and-brains-connected. Just sayin’…that’s where I am right now.
  6. I’ve met dear people whom I’ve grown to love and who have contributed significantly to me through their writings and interactions. Someday soon I’ll share links to their blogs.
  7. I seem to have become a significant site for finding Mary Oliver’s poem “Praying” – that post is far and away the one most visited on my site, getting views almost every day. (What better honor could I have? I can’t imagine one.)
  8. I worry that my more conservative friends and family think I’ve gone over the edge, have “drunk the kool-aid”. All I can say is that I love Jesus more now than I ever have, that I feel more compassion for others than I ever have, and that I love sharing that here in language that is hopefully fresh and alive.
  9. I’m aiming for your hearts, because I think God is aiming for mine.
  10. Who say’s I need a 10th?

Grace and peace to you…

dw

 

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attention Other Writings Pages on Poetry prayer

Praying – a poem by Mary Oliver

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

— Mary Oliver, Thirst


I first encountered Mary Oliver and this poem when reading Common Prayer, the book I mentioned in last Friday’s post. I was an immediate convert.

  • Does this poem change your thinking about prayer?  In what ways?
  • Are there things that seem to block you from praying? What are they?
  • How would you like prayer to be for you?
  • Take time to write down your thoughts…and consider reading them aloud to God…in prayer.
Grace and peace to you…
dw
Photo by dw

p.s. Notice she’s talking again about paying attention, a growing theme for us (see this, quoted from her book Upstream; see also Wednesday’s post where I emphasize it’s importance in living out our faith.)


More about prayer

Click below to see other posts on the theme of prayer: