“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
@@and my Father will love him,
@@@@and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

 

 

The Living Word

 A Teenagers Guide to Praying with the Living, Loving,

Transforming Word of God!

 

Prayer is a way of spending time with the living, loving God. We pray through…

 

seeking asking silence listening meditating chatting singing dancing

 

…so that we can get to know and build a personal relationship with Jesus.

Prayer is a journey (like Lord of the Rings!): a journey of the heart, of searching and questioning so that bit by bit we find within ourselves a treasure: the Source of True Life.

We get to know our deepest selves and the One who made us, and discover that Love is the greatest Truth of life!

The Living Word of God can be found in a special way in the Bible.

The Bible is what God has to say to us.

This word – written by human hands, but inspired by God through his Holy Spirit - can speak to our hearts very powerfully, like in the story of the disciples whose hearts burn on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).

The stories and texts of the Bible can help us to see life in a new way, opening our eyes to reality: “Make my word your home… you will come to know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). The word of God is definitely not dead words on a page, but words which are living: through them the Holy Spirit speaks directly to us.

 

Praying with God’s Word - often known as lectio divina – is all about listening to God speaking to us in his own words.

It involves reading very slowly and prayerfully, giving God time and space to speak to our hearts, to teach, change, and heal us at a deep level. It is all about discovering God to be personal and close rather than abstract and distant.

He is there with you, speaking to you all the time! He has a personal message for you now!

 

.... This way of praying is a bit like a cow chewing the cud:

by spending time with a text it becomes part of you, shaping you like the image of God as the Potter - “like clay in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine” (Jeremiah 18:6). It is not about studying or knowing all the answers.

It is about ‘listening with the ear of the heart ‘(Prologue to St Benedict’s Rule), the ‘heart’ being the door through which we journey in our Lord of the Rings-style search for God! We don’t need to use lots of words or ask lots of things in prayer: just sit back and let God’s Spirit pray in you “in groans too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

 

How Do I Pray With The Living Word?

There are loads of ways in which you can try out lectio divina, alone and in a group.

It is important you find a way that works for you: pray as you can, not as you can’t!

And keep it simple!!

 

One Simple Way

 

Step One: Take a short passage from the Bible, like the ones suggested below.

Step Two: Pause for a moment in silence and remember God is near; ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Step Three: Read the text through slowly. Then pause and take a few minutes to reflect on anything that comes to mind from the words.

Step Four: Now read the text verse by verse pausing after each line/word that speaks to you. Repeat a word or line over and over allowing the words to draw you deeply into prayer, revealing new levels of meaning. This way of praying is called meditation: it is about listening more deeply.

Step Five: Have a good chin-wag with God about the things you feel you have discovered, the difficulties or hurts you have met within you, the ways you feel called to respond to God’s message.

Step Six: Just thank God for his Living Word, and chill for a few moments in his loving presence! Hmmm…

 

 Creative Ways to Pray with the Word

 

Here are a few other ideas you could try out:

  1. Try the above way, but write down your thoughts as you slowly read and reflect. Maybe write a poem, haiku, or prayer. You could also allow the text to draw you into a bit of artwork… some doodling or painting. If in a group, create a collage of texts/images that reflect how God spoke to you.
  2. Pray simply with a Taize chant, reflecting on the meaning of the line, eg ‘Ubi Caritas’ which says in English, ‘Where charity and love are found there is God’. The chants repeat over and over, just like that chewing cow.
  3. Write your own Taize-style chant!?
  4. When you feel a line from scripture is speaking to you, take it with you wherever you go and whatever you do that day: repeat it as you walk, shower, eat and work.
  5. If praying with the Living Word in a group, you could take it in turns to read each line aloud, pausing in between, going round in a circle. This works well with a psalm. Listen to each others voices as well as the words.
  6. Take a ‘prayer walk’: munch on one line of Scripture with each step. If in a group, pause at a few scenic spots on your walk to sing a chant and read the passage aloud again.

 Lectio Doesn’t Work!!!!??!

“Lectio is boring!”

“I can’t hear God saying anything??!”

… Aargh!!! I don’t get what the point of this is!!!??!”

“This is sooo not my thing”

 

Lots of people find praying in this way doesn’t work for them immediately - it takes a bit of time! But don’t despair!

Everyone experiences struggles or boredom in prayer sometimes… or even lots of the time! And don’t worry if you get distracted easily. This is natural too.

Just keep offering the time to God, try to relax, let go, and return to the words of the text to focus your mind.

 

5 Reasons to Pray with the Bible

 

  1. It has one very Holy Author (the Holy Spirit) who spoke through the writers and prophets to create this collection of books and letters and He speaks to us through it when we read it today too!
  2. It contains lots of God’s own thoughts and revelations about Himself and about His creation… i.e. us! It lets us know that God and us are Gooood.
  3. We get to know Jesus, who is God’s Word: His full revelation of Himself to the world!!
  4. We get to know ourselves, exploring those hidden depths: the good, bad and the ugly. It frees us to become more fully alive and ourselves.
  5. Lots of holy dudes have done it for centuries!

 Some possible Texts

Look up some of these references to find a text to give lectio divina a try :

 Psalm 139: “You search me and you know me, you know my resting and my rising”.

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”

John 8:31-32: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples”

John 15: “Remain in my love.”

Galatians 6:14: “The world has been crucified to me and I to the world”

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Page last updated on 16 February, 2015