Praying Scripture for the New Evangelization | Tim Gray on Lectio Divina | Part One: Praying with Scripture
on Tuesday, 26 June 2012.
by TERI TOLPA
Praying Scripture for the New Evangelization: Dr. Tim Gray on Lectio Divina
Part One: Praying with Scripture
Scripture is so vitally important! For those of us working in the New Evangelization, it can be a language for us to use when speaking with other Christians. It provides us a blueprint for Evangelization (think of all the evangelizing Christ did, as seen in the Gospels, and the disciples did, as seen in Acts of the Apostles!).
But as the Augustine Institute chaplain says, before we can go out and effectively preach Christ to others, we must first develop a relationship with Christ ourselves. Through frequenting the sacraments, particularly Confession and Holy Communion at Mass, and regular quiet prayer, we can allow Christ to cultivate His relationship with us. But another incredible way to encounter Christ, the Living Word, is through Sacred Scripture.
Do you ever have a difficult time listening to God at prayer? The Scriptures are God speaking to us - the Word of God. God is waiting. All we need to do is learn to listen.
The following is an excerpt from Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray, PhD, president of the Augustine Institute. (Published by Ascension Press.) If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to pray with Scripture, read on for a taste (and borrow or buy the whole book…if you’re hungry for more). This is the first part of a four part series of an Introduction to the Introduction to Lectio Divina (kind of like the Summa to the Summa).
The Problem of Prayer: Prayer and the School of the Holy Spirit
(An excerpt from Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray, PhD. Published by Ascension Press.)
Here we discover a vital hidden-in-plain-sight secret of the Christian life: The reason anyone anywhere at any time has ever been moved to pray is because God, by His Spirit, was drawing them toward Him. Jesus says as much when He tells His disciples that “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (Jn 6:44).
Every prayer to God that has ever been uttered was uttered at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
The very desire that inspired the apostles to say, “Teach us to pray” came from God. God desires our dialogue of prayer with Him more than we do. As the Catechism observes, “Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him” (CCC 2560). That may be hard to believe, since we often feel that our prayer consists primarily of us banging away at the gates of heaven and crying “How long, O Lord.” But St. Paul describes in his letter to the Romans how intimately God is involved in our prayer:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:26-27).
In short, God doesn’t just teach us how to pray; His Spirit empowers us to pray. He enables us on earth to do what God the Son does eternally: offer the Father praise and thanksgiving for the gift of the Father’s love in the Spirit. What we need to realize is that we are never left on our own when it comes to prayer.
This is precisely Paul’s point in highlighting the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer. “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:15-16). Paul knew from experience that Jesus gives us far more than a method of prayer; He gives us the means to pray through His Spirit.
To be continued…tomorrow.
The Augustine Institute | A New Kind of Graduate School for the New Evangelization
In response to the call of Jesus Christ and His Church, the Augustine Institute is a Catholic Institute of Higher Education that forms disciples for leadership in the New Evangelization through intellectual, personal, and practical instruction so that they may renew the Church and transform the world for Christ. Learn more at www.AugustineInstitute.org.