We have talked about contemplation and prayer as a way to deepen our relationship with God. Spending time simply in God’s presence, with no underlying agenda, ruminating on his attributes and his graciousness is a vital part of our spiritual lives. A part, I feel gets forgotten, or left out, or run from. We live in a world of activity- a world of doing, but we are human BE-ings for a reason.
Contemplative scripture reading is not the same as Bible study. It is an extension of your “quiet time” with Jesus. It is the discipline of having “empty time” just to be with Christ in His word.
“To take the Holy Scriptures an read them is the first thing we have to do to open ourselves to God’s call. Reading the Scriptures is not as easy as it seems since in our academic world we tend to make anything and everything we read subject to analysis and discussion. But the word of God should lead us first of all to contemplation and meditation. Instead of taking the words apart, we should bring them together in our innermost being; instead of wondering if we agree or disagree, we should wonder which words are directly spoken to us and connect directly with our most personal story. Instead of thinking about the words as potential subjects for an interesting dialogue or paper, we should be willing to let them penetrate into the most hidden corners of our heart, even to those places where no other word has yet found entrance.” – Henri Nouwen
Contemplative reading is engaging God’s word in a way and at a time in which you have the space to allow his words to soak in. It is reading with intentionality, being and staying present to the reading of it and allow those words to speak to where you are.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are mornings when this is more of a discipline than a joy. When intentionality and presence go out the window and I read his word out of sheer obedience, but what Nouwen said about prayer applies to scripture reading as well,
“because God is greater than my mind and my heart, and what is really happening is not measurable in terms of human success and failure.”
Add contemplative reading to your daily practice and I promise you will hear God’s word for your life. It is amazing how deeply his word resonates with me on a daily basis. I pray that you will find this in your life as well.