Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sabbatical #20: Praying Scripture (Path of Celtic Prayer #3)

One key element of Celtic prayer was praying God’s Word back to God. Their goal was not to ask God for stuff so much as union with Christ. Scripture was seen as “literature born on the high ledges between this world and the next” (54). What better way to strengthen our union with God than by communicating to Him in His language?

What are the strengths of praying Scripture? First, it helps us listen to God’s Word – it moves from the eyes to our ears (via our own mouths). Next, it reminds us that prayer isn’t about us only, but about union with the Triune God. Finally, it can unite the church as we pray together God’s Word corporately.

Miller goes on to talk about the spiritual power in Scripture in several ways. In the struggle with sin, go to Rom. 7.25-8.1. When going through difficult times, read/pray Psalm 23. When grieving, read/pray 1 Cor. 15.51-58. For those who are facing their final days, reading/praying 2 Tim. 4 can be of great comfort.

I actually tried this the other day. I’m working through Luke (this passage is 1.26-38). Here’s what it looked like for me. Maybe it will be of help to you. Maybe not.

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
Lord, may I receive Your Word – through Scripture, prayer, whatever – with the same gravity as Mary. May I not take you lightly, but cultivate an awe for You and the fact that You would communicate with me.
30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
Thank You for Jesus and the wonderful Savior He is. Thank you that there will never be anyone like Him, nor has there ever been. Help me enjoy His greatness and become increasingly conformed to His image.
34 And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" 35 And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God."
Lord, I praise your infinite greatness. Help me live in the reality that nothing is impossible with you and to live and pray like I believe it.
38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
God, help me become the kind of person who, regardless of what You ask, will say "let it be to me according to your word.”
This was a profitable experience that has helped bring my Bible reading to life, even if just for a couple days at this point.

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