Praying the Bible
First select a passage and read it through slowly, concentrating on each word,
and with the intention of reaching an understanding of the passage as a whole.
Then try one of the methods below. After you have tried one, perhaps try
another. It is important to remember that what is helpful for one person may
not help another, and that what helps you now may not be what helps you next
1. Read the passage again until a word or phrase "hits"
you. Then pause and reflect on it, allow your mind to follow whatever attracts
it. When your reflection runs out of steam, go back to the passage and continue
reading, until another word or phrase "hits" you. When you have read
the passage once go back and read it through again, in the same way. Keep
re-reading until you've had enough.
2. See if there is a phrase in the passage which seems to speak to you. Don't
worry about what it is or what it means. It may well be that the phrase chooses
you, rather than you the phrase! Repeat the phrase over and over again, slowly,
perhaps in time with your breathing or heartbeat.
3. Read the passage through as if it had been especially written just for your
benefit. Allow it to speak to you.
4. Try and visualize the scene described in the passage. You might even try
drawing it (It doesn't matter if you're not an artist! no-one is going to see
it except you ). Try involving as many of your senses as you can: How does it
look? What sounds can you hear? What smells are you aware of? Is there a taste
in the air? Can you reach out and touch anything in the scene?
5. Imagine that you are there. Who might you be, on the edge of the story,
watching what happens? Do you have a role in the story? Watch the scene unfold.
Do you get involved? How do you feel.? When the scene comes to an end, what do
you do next?
6. Imagine yourself as one of the main characters in the story, perhaps the
main character. Hear the words and actions addressed to that character
addressed to you. How do you respond? How do you feel.? What will you now do?
7. If you enjoy a bit of Biblical criticism, why not have an imaginary
conversation with the writer of this passage. What does he mean? Would he write
the passage exactly the same today? If it's a synoptic passage, put the various
synoptic parallels together and imagine a conversation between Mark, Matthew
and Luke, discussing the merits of their different accounts. If you're really
enjoying this, introduce some other characters into the conversation!
8. What great truths does the story teach you. How might you apply them in your
9. Are there other stories which have echoes of this one.? Or which have some
of the same characters or places? Can you shed more light on this story by
comparing it with other stories?