Tag Archives: Prayer

Lectio Divina – Step Three: Pray (Oratio)

prayAs mentioned before, the Lectio Divina (or “Divine Reading”, to use the English translation) was developed in the 3rd century by the early church fathers as a way to pray through the Scriptures.  Split into four parts, the Divine Reading helps one to slow down and really allow the Scriptures to seep into one’s soul.

The first step is to read a short passage, savoring each word as it crosses your lips rather than trying get through large volumes of verses. Following this, one is to meditate on words of Scriptures – turning them over and over again as they seep into one’s heart. The third step of the Divine Reading, which we will be talking about today,  is prayer – or more distinctly, creating a place where you can talk to God about what was read and meditated on. The last part, which we will cover later on, is to contemplate upon all that has happened with the previous three steps.

Four steps working in unity to breath life into the Scriptures and change our souls. Powerful stuff made even more powerful by the fact that countless Jesus followers throughout centuries have walked through these four steps… wow, talk about finding the “ancient paths” of the faith (Jeremiah 6:16). 

Enough of the review, let us turn to the third step of the Lectio Divina, praying.

Step Three: Pray (Oratio)

The third step is where we dialogue with God about what He told us. It is where we move from thinking about – meditating about – and start responding to the message of the Scriptures. It is the place where we allow our feelings to come out and we get to share our joy, love, sorrow, repentance and desires with God.

Saint Ambrose in the 4th Century said of this step:

“Let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”

In praying, we should remember that it is a two-way conversation. We need to – no, we MUST – allow times of silence so that God can respond! All too often we use this time to talk, talk, talk, talk without letting God say anything – and then we get upset at Him for not talking to us!!

God voice could be a silent word in your spirit, something that normally would not be there. Or it could strong impression, reference to a Bible verse, a vision or dream…. perhaps He will bring to your mind something that you have heard or read before or speak to you with an audible voice.

The Bible tells us that God speaks to His people in different ways. Some people get scared about hearing from God because they are afraid they will get deceived. Jesus answered this concern in Luke 11 right after the 12 disciples asked Him how to pray and He gives them the Lord’s prayer. This is what Jesus says (Luke 11:9-13):

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are talking to God, he will guide you and give you good gifts! You don’t have to be afraid being deceived or led a stray. You are just allowing your Father to talk to you about the Love Letter He gave you to read. Having a dialogue with the King is a wonderful thing – for without it, we are just people reading a book and trying to figure things out on our own. We NEED the Holy Spirit and input from the Father on how to walk out the Scriptures in our modern world.

So let us create a place for God to talk to us.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina – Step Two: Meditate (Meditatio)

garden pathThe next step in the Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) after savoring the Scriptures is to meditate on the words which you just read. It is about stopping and really thinking about them rather than checking an item off your to-do list and moving on to the next thing.

In mediating about the words of the Scriptures is to allows the words to seep through you. You are not trying to assign meaning to the words – you are letting the words work through you. To mediate is to hold the Scriptures gentle, turning them around and around so you can see them through different angles and view points.

It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to breath life into the words – turning them simple letters on a page to life giving manna from heaven. For without the Holy Spirit, reading the Bible is like than reading the label on a can of soup without actually opening and eating the soup. We HAVE to have the Holy Spirit, and we HAVE to ALLOW the Spirit to move in our lives!

This is also the time in which we can use our imagination to enter into the Scriptures like we mentioned before. Here shortly I will talking more about this step as I have some suggestions based upon the four basic personality temperaments…but for now, know that this step is where you allow the word that you have just read to permeate our lives.

Here’s an example, a few weeks ago I went into a conference room at work to pray. Opening the Bible my fingers led me to Romans 8:15:

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

I have read that verse many times – shoot, I even preached on it a few years ago!  Yet that day, my heart stopped on the last half of the verse: God adopted me;  He choose me

My eyes started tearing up… My soul couldn’t believe it…No fear again…I was adopted…For the next few days that’s all I could think about…I’m still thinking about..

This is mediating. It is slowing down and letting the words become alive – letting the Holy Spirit speak to us rather than just closing our Bibles and walking off.

Wow… powerful, yet simple stuff… =)

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina – Step One: Read (Lectio)

bible 2The first step in the Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) is to read the Scriptures. While this seems self evident, it really isn’t as we all have different ways of reading. For example, there are some folks whose goal in devotional reading is to make it through large chucks of Scriptures. And while there is a time and place for reading large amounts of Scriptures (after all we NEED to get the overall story line of a particular letter as well as the Bible as a whole), reading with the Divine Reading is not that place.

The reading of the Lectio Divina is a prayerful reading. It is using our senses to perceive the works of the Lord – to slowly savor each word. It is a gradual reading of a verse or a few verses, pausing after each word and recognizing how carefully the Spirit chose each word to be recorded. It is reading like you would fondle over a new toy or tool – looking at over and over, turning it over and over, seeing the beauty and life behind the printed text.

In fact, I would recommend reading the verse(s) out loud as there is something powerful about physically voicing the Scriptures. In speaking the words out loud, it is almost as if the verses become real and moves from your mind into your heart. It is not a magical formula or a way of manipulating God – it is a way of using all of our senses to experience the words of God given to us.

It is about seeing the words on the page – hearing the words read out loud – about touching the pages of the Bible (or one’s cell phone, tablet…) – smelling the paper and perhaps a candle or two.

It is about slowing down and relaxing… opening yourself up to read a letter from your Lover and King….

Read the passage…re-read it…re-read it yet again… savor each word… that is the first step of praying through the Lectio Divina.

After all, the Scriptures are, in the words of King David:

They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
(Psalms 19:10)

Lectio Divina

Introducing The Lectio Divina

•    Let’s open our Bible’s to 1 Peter 2:1-3

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

•    We have tasked that the Lord is good

o    Each of us have bowed our knees to the King of Kings

•    Now that we have done so, we are to seek to grow in Him

o    To “train yourself to be godly as St. Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:7

•    We are to “CRAVE pure spiritual milk”

o    It is a strong desire to learn and grow
o    It is following in the steps of The Rabbi
o    Getting to know Him

•    Which is the whole purpose of prayer

o    To align our lives – our souls, spirits, minds, emotions with Jesus

•    We pray not to get answers

o    We pray because we want to know Jesus
o    We want to be WITH Jesus

The Ancient Paths

•    During the siege of Jerusalem the prophet Jeremiah warned the people against disobeying God
•    In Jeremiah 6:16 he is recorded as saying

This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

•    Ask for the ancient paths

o    Ask for the tried and true paths

Lectio DivinaLectio Divina (The Divine Reading)

•    Starting in the 3rd Century (200 AD), the church adopted a form of reading – of breathing the Scriptures
•    The Divine Reading has four steps

o    Read (Lectio)
o    Meditate (Meditatio)
o    Pray (Oratio)
o    Contemplate (Contemplatio)

•    These are simple steps

o    Some of us probably already do them without knowing

•    However I would say that most of us have never really thought about how we read the Scriptures

o    I know I didn’t!!

•    We may read them like we do a novel, or a school book…
•    The Scriptures are an interesting book

lectia-divinao    They are different than anything else out there
o    They are love letters to us
o    They are the story of God working in and through history

•    The four steps of the Divine Reading uses all four of our psychological function

o    Sensing (heart, reading)
o    Thinking (mind; meditating)
o    Feeling (spirit; praying)
o    Intuition (body; contemplate)

•    As such, it is a tool that can be used by anyone of any temperament
•    Carthusian Prior Guigo II in the 12th century said of the Divine Reading

“Reading, you should seek; meditating, you will find, praying, you shall call; and contemplating, the door will be open to you.”

•    A Southern rural minister, it is said, once replied to the question as to how he prays:

“I read myself full; I think myself clear; I prays myself hot; I lets myself cool.”

•    Four pieces operating in unity…

o    Four pieces breathing life into our souls

•    It is a progress from “hearing the Word of God to studying it, reflecting upon it, praying upon it, and adapting it to our situation”

o    It is a progress that will lead us deeper and deeper into the union with God
o    Like steps on a ladder
o    Each piece builds upon the other

•    Tomorrow we will look at the first step of the ladder, “Reading” or “Lectio”

Blessings till tomorrow. 🙂

The Skill of Prayer

when God talks backIn talking about prayer, we tend to think about it as something everyone can do without training. We tend to think about it as breathing…each person does it with out needing to learn anything.  And on one level, this is correct as God has put something deep within our soul that desires to connect with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. However,in the other hand, we need to recognize that prayer takes work.

In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, St. Paul says:

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Just like we train our bodies to work, we have to train our spirits. Remember that goal of prayer is to get to know God better. God is a person – not a force out there that can be controlled. Prayer, therefore, is about a relationship and relationships take work and time.

Here’s the awesome part: Each one us can hear God!!!

Hearing God is not limited to the special few – the cool, the pastors, or those people on TV. Jesus said that “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.” (John 8:47a). If we have bowed our knees to the King and follow Him, then we can expect to hear the King.

A few weeks ago I hinted at a cool scientific study about prayer, I want to talk a bit about it as fit into this concept of hearing God.

Hearing God’s Voice

  • T. M. Luhrmann, a psychological anthropologist and profession at Stanford University
    • She is not a follower of Jesus
    • Calls herself a secular agnostic in her book
  • She spend four years trying to understand more about the Evangelical relationship in America
  • During this study, which was published as the book “When God Talks Back”, she set up an experiment to see if people could be taught to hear God’s voice
    • The Bible said we can
    • The Church as said we can
    • But does it really happen?!
  • To prove this, she recruited a 128 subjects
    • Screened them to make sure they were mentally healthy
    • In other words, they weren’t crazy
  • Then she split the folks into three groups
    • Each group were supposed to participate in a spiritual discipline for
    • 30 minutes a day for 30 days

Prayer and Fasting

fastingWe are moving forward in our series about the spiritual discipline of prayer; about creating a rhythm of life that it is in communication with Jesus. Prayer, as we looked at last week, it NOT about asking for things – even good things.

The goal of prayer is to get to know God! It is about bring our heart, soul, lives into unity with God.

In keeping with that theme, we will be talking about prayer and fasting (click here to listen to the audio version of this talk). Next week, on March 30th, we will be kicking off a 21-day corporate prayer and fasting period. This has become a tradition in our church with this year marking the fourth year we have done this. It is interesting to me how God has used this periods of fasting and prayer within the life of our church

o    2011 – Pastoral transition from Brian to Emily and me
o    2012 – Looking at buying property; we actually bought the land right after the fast ended
o    2013 – A period of looking at our souls, our family, our jobs, our calling

*    It was a tough time in the church
*    The evil one was attacking us from all sides

o    2014 – We are combining all the elements from the last three years

*    Pastor transition
*    Building plans
*    Renewed life with God
*    Fighting off attacks

Because of all of the stuff that is going on, we need to be in tune with God more than ever. Remember, fasting is not about getting answers to these problems per say.  We are not trying to change God’s mind or force Him to talk to us. We are not trying to get God to like us better

Fasting is about re-aligning OUR mind, heart and soul coming into line with God’s

We get distracted; we get confused; we get sidetracked. We need to re-tune our lives so that we are inline with God’s plumb-line.

Psalms 139:23-24

•    Let us turn to Psalms 139 for a bit
•    This is a song of King David

o    The most famous king of ancient Israel
o    The man whom God testified about saying ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ –Acts 13:22

Continue reading Prayer and Fasting

Prayer: Intimate Communication

angel-n-isaiah-the-prophet-unclean-lipsThe below are the sermon notes from Sunday, March 16th. The audio file can be found on the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship website. Blessings.


  • Why teach on prayer to a church full of praying people?
    • What more can I say that hasn’t been said?
  • Did you know that here are a lot of books out there about prayer?
  • It seems that prayer is a bestselling topic
    • Everyone seems to have written about prayer
  • Prayer is a HUGE topic to write or teach about
  • One could talk about healing prayer
    • How to pray for the sick?
    • What happens when folks don’t get healed?
    • What do you do when they DO get healed?
  • Corporate prayer
  • Intercession prayer
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Dinner time prayer
  • Bedtime prayers
  • Not to mention our two favorite types
    • prayers of petition
    • prayers of help
  • Over the next five weeks we are going to be focused on the spiritual discipline of prayer
    • About creating an ongoing prayer rhythm in our lives.


  • It is about intimate communication with our Lover, our King, our Best Friend and Master
    • Some of you may have a hard time thinking about God as your lover
    • Especially  men…
    • But we are the Bride of Jesus – just read Song of Solomon
    • It is full of language that should make you blush
    • God is seeking an intimate relationship with Him
  • Sadly, I think we – stereotypically – have learned to be content in having a so-so relationship with God
    • We like Him – we will give Him our tithes
    • We’ll go to church
    • We may even study the Scriptures
  •  But if we were honest with ourselves, we really don’t want a truly inmate relationship with Him
    • It is scary
    • It is a freighting
  • Not because of what may happen, but because I think deep down in our heart of hearts we don’t want Jesus to know who we really are
    • We can fool our neighbors
    • We can fool our family and friends
    • We can even fool ourselves to a certain degree
    • But we can’t fool God
  • And that makes us nervous
  • One of the verses that has shaped my life the most is Isaiah 6:5
    • Isaiah is mining his own business – perhaps prayer, perhaps not – we don’t know
    • All of a sudden he sees this vision of God
    • As he watches these seraphim start sing

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

  • As they sang the temple shook and Isaiah drops to his knees crying out:

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

This day is blessed by God…

pink flowerI have been doing a lot of reading about prayer lately in preparation for a coming sermon series. And, as it typically when studying a topic, my soul gets challenged and stretched in ways that I did not foresee.

Take for example the below quote from the book “Beginning to Pray” by Anthony Bloom. It starts off fairly simple – the day is “blessed by God…let us go into it.” Then, out of the blue, the messages shifts and Bloom is challenging us to embrace the suffering that comes with following Jesus.

Not just the persecution that come the outside, but also the struggle within our hearts and souls – the wrestling that we do with our pride and flesh as we seek to obey and live out the commandment so Jesus. Commandment that are so often in direct conflict with our own personal interest and desires… yet, whether ‘bitter or sweet’, each situation is a gift from God – molding and shaping us to be His people.

This day is blessed by God, it is God’s own and now let us go into it. You walk in this day as God’s own messenger; whomever you meet, you meet in God’s own way. You are there to be the presence of the Lord God, the presence of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, the presence of the Gospel – this is your function on this particular day. God has never said that when you walk into a situation in His own Name, He will be crucified and you will be the risen one. You must be prepared to walk into situations, one after the other, in God’s name, to walk as the Son of God had done: in humiliation and humility, in truth and ready to be persecuted and so forth. Usually what we expect when we fulfill God’s commandment is to see a marvelous result at once – we read of that at times in the livers of the saints. When, for instance, someone hits us on one cheek, we turn the other one, although we don’t expect to be hit at all, but we expect to hear the other person say ‘What, such humility’ – you get your reward and he gets the salvation of his soul.

It does not work that way. You must pay the cost and very often you get hit hard. What matters is that you are prepared for that. As to the day, if you accept that this day was blessed of God, chosen by God with His own hand, then every person you meet is a gift of God, every circumstance you will meet is a gift of God, whether it is bitter or sweet, whether you like it or dislike it. It is God’s own gift to you and if you take it that way, then you can face any situation. But then you must face it with the readiness that anything may happen, whether you enjoy it or not, and if you walk in the name of the Lord through a day which has come fresh and new out of His own Hands and has been blessed for you to live with it, then you can make prayer and life really like the two sides of one coin. You act and pray in one breath, as it were, because all the situations that follow one another require God’s blessing. (underline emphasis added)

Quote by Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

beginning to pray“As Christians we are always in tension – in anguish and at the same time in bless. This is mad, ridiculous. But it is true – accepting the dark night just as we accept the brilliance of the day. We have to make an act of surrender – if I am in Christ, there are moments when I must share the cry of the Lord on the cross and the anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. There is a way of being defeated, even in our faith – and this is a way of sharing the anguish of the Lord. I don’t believe that we should ever say, ‘This cannot happen to you.’ If we are Christians we should go through this life, accepting the life and the world, not trying to create a falsified world.

“But, on the other hand, the Christian is like someone who lives in three dimensions in a world in which the majority of people life in two. People who live freely and within a dimension of eternity will always find that something is wrong, they will always find themselves being the odd man out. The same problem was faced by the early Christians when they said that their only king was God. People turned round to them and said, ‘If you say that you are disloyal to our king’ and often persecuted them. But the only true way of being loyal to this two-dimensional world is to be loyal to the three-dimensional. If you really live in three dimensions and do not simply live in two and imagine the third, then life will be full and meaningful. The early Christians were able to do it and Christians today are also able to do that.”

Embracing The New Year

celtic-crossA new year is upon us, beckoning us to embrace life with all its changes and mysteries.  This day, as an old Scottish New Year prayer says, is a “new day that has never been before.” And as a new day, let us embrace the newness of it and set our eyes ahead towards the rising sun.

The Lord Jesus is in our midst, walking with us and beckoning forward on His mission. The old year along with the old junk of our lives – our failures, mistakes, pains, sorrows, bitterness, and tears – have been laid at the foot of the cross and we are now new beings, washed pure by His light (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Let us, therefore, stand tall as sons and daughter of the Most High (Romans 8:14-17) and march forward together as one body under the leadership of Jesus, the King of Kings and Prince of Peace.

Christ has many services to be done;

Some are easy, others are difficult;

Some bring honor, others bring reproach;

Some are suitable to our natural

Inclinations and temporal interest,

Others are contrary to both.

In some we may please Christ and please ourselves,

In others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.

Yet the power to do all these things is assuredly given us in Christ, who strengthens us.


Therefore let us make the Covenant of God our own.

Let us engage our heart to the Lord,

And resolve in His strength never to go back!

 (Section of an old Celtic New Year covenant service)