Why Change How I Read?
Do you ever find that your bible reading is getting mundane? stale? unenjoyable? tedious? ..... well you are not as alone as you may think. In fact, it has been a struggle for so long that even the early church found ways to spice up their "daily devotion".
What Is This Exactly?
This Latin phrase literally means "divine reading" and it is entirely focused on listening to your heart and it finds its roots all the way back in the Hebrew tradition of Shema. This practice is one that should be used on no more than a few verses at a time to have its full effect. In a way you will be "praying the scriptures' instead of "studying the scriptures", this requires intentionality and patience.
Finding a Passage and Putting Into Practice
1) Select- Find a passage of scripture that is just a few verses long(no more that 6), maybe its something you read this week? maybe its something you love to read personally?
2)Breathe- Take a few minutes and just sit still. breathe slowly, and erase the distraction of the day and whatever comes tomorrow. Just be here in the moment with God.
3)First Read- Read the passage slowly, and pause each time that something stands out to you, when you finish the first reading, take a moment to soak in what you read.
4)Second Read- on the second reading make sure to pause between each phrase, and take special note of select sections or word choices that stand out. Then at the end of the reading, pause again and soak in what you read.
5)Third Read- on the third reading stop on every section or word that stands out to you. and read those words or phrases several times before moving on to the next section of the reading.
6)Reflect- Spend a minute or two after your three readings and reflect on what you read... heard.... felt. Why did God show you what he showed you? why did you need to hear that today? what can i use this moment for in His kingdom?
7)Pray- Thank your heavenly father for what he has given you, not just in the reading but also in the whole picture of your life. Ask him to draw close to you. and then just stay there and listen to Him for a minute.
8)Rest- spend a few minutes simply enjoying what you just did, and like a tall cup of water on a summer day let it refresh you.
As you participate in this discipline(one of my personal favorites) recognize the ways we force ourselves to rush through scripture. We tell ourselves that if we read more, we are doing more but most of the time when it comes to time with God.... less is more. keep it simple, keep it intimate, and feel the blessing of His presence.