How we approach the Bible varies at different points in our lives. Hopefully Praying with the Word fits in your life right now. If not, that’s okay; just keep the Bible in your life, and return to us when the time is right. God is infinitely patient like that.
How we work is simple:
- We get our reading assignment at meetings.
- It is our individual responsibility to read and pray in the meantime.
- We might read for content: a good portion is assigned for the two weeks between meetings, but it shouldn’t be too much to read with attention to detail.
- We might read for prayer. We encourage lectio divina, a contemplative method of prayer that involves slow, deliberate reading, contemplating on a particular word or phrase, raising awareness of our own thoughts and feelings as well as God’s presence and love for us, and abiding in silence in this loving presence.
- We might read and re-read, waiting for Spirit to intercede.
- We READ the Bible (and we try to read Bible translations approved by The Episcopal Church, but we are not limited to them.)
- We show up at meetings, prepared to share our experiences and holy time together.
Maybe we’ve taken notes, read commentaries, read all the footnotes, doodled in our Bibles, or spent hours in prayer. Maybe not. Maybe we didn’t understand what it mean in Chapter 3, verse 25 or didn’t understand how/why a husband could act like that. But we show up at our meetings prepared to share what we know or don’t understand.
Most people like to know what they’re getting into before they get started. When we give Spirit the reins, we never really know where exactly we will go, but we at least have a general structure.
- Open with prayer
- Share “Nuts and Bolts” — some discussion about biblical context and commentary; time for general questions about particular verses and literal or figurative meanings. This is covered after the assignment so that everyone has a chance to read it first, and its intent is to make sure that everyone is more or less on the same page.
- Triads — this is time to break into groups of three. This is a unique time where each person has 8 minutes of uninterrupted time to share their experience, thoughts, and insights of praying with the Word in the past weeks. The other two participants hold the holy, safe space with intentional listening.
- Group discussion — returning to the whole group, we have the opportunity to share our own personal, most significant insights from the experience, from our prayer, from our engagement with the Word.
- Assignment — provided for the next meeting
- Closing Prayer
Hopefully this provides a good overview and general explanation of what we do as a group focused around engaging with the Holy Scriptures through prayer and study. If you have questions, please comment. This page can be edited for further clarity, but we never really know how something is until we taste and see for ourselves!