Praying with Scripture: An Introduction
by Vincent McKieman, CSP
1. Time: Give 15 minutes of quality time to this prayer. Choose 15 minutes when you can be alone, when you will not be disturbed by someone or rushed by your schedule. If possible, pray each day at the same time.
2. Place: Be comfortable. Have a special chair, create your own sacred place. Light a candle if you would like.
3. Ritual: Simply hold the closed Scriptures, gently, reverently, expectantly. A suggested ritual would be to make the sign of the cross over the text as the presiding priest does when reading the gospel at mass and then sign your head, lips and heart with the cross. At the end of the 15 minutes reverence the text with a kiss as the Presider does after reading the gospel at mass.
4. Reading: Read the text slowly, aloud if you wish. Read it through once and start again at the beginning or wherever you were moved during the first reading. Sit with the text, let it speak to you, let God speak to you, since “this is the word of the Lord.”
5. Sit with the text rather than study the text: Let the text touch you rather than your working at getting something out of it. Prayer is dialogue; even more, prayer is communion. Be more concerned about communing than about communication. Be more concerned about feeling than about thinking. Be more concerned about listening than about speaking. Be more concerned about letting God love you than about your trying to love God! As the psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 11). Do not feel compelled to analyze or understand the whole passage. Savor the words, the feelings, the communion.
6. Enjoy the process: If nothing happens during a particular prayer penod, don’t get discouraged. Believe in the process of the relationship that we call prayer, as we believe in the process of the relationship we call friendship.