Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prayer and Bible Reading: Listening to God

Having recently finished Father McBride's Guide to the Bible and enjoying the focus on salvation history (samples begin here), I thought I would continue by actually finishing two other books I have. I began both these long ago and have dipped into them to do some research, but never have I read them methodically from beginning to end.
I find them to be good companions because Lukefahr states things in a more basic way while Kreeft, as can be his wont, ranges farther afield sometimes.

I have shared some of the Kreeft book before and will be reposting pieces as I encounter them in my reading. Also, of course, I'll be adding in some from Lukefahr.

Here's some of the first from Kreeft to get us started. I identify with this because it is when reading that God often speaks to me the loudest.
Reading the Bible should be a form of prayer. The Bible should be read in God's presence and as the unfolding of His mind. It is not just a book, but God's love letter to you. It is God's revelation, God's mind, operating through your mind and your reading, so your reading is your response to His mind and will. Reading it is aligning your mind and will with God's; therefore it is a fulfillment of the prayer "Thy will be done," which is the most basic and essential key to achieving our whole purpose on earth: holiness and happiness. I challenge every reader to give a good excuse (to God, not to me, or even just to yourself) for not putting aside fifteen minutes a day to use this fundamental aid to fulfilling the meaning of your life.

Both prayer and Bible reading are ways of listening to God. They should blend: our prayer should be biblical and our Bible reading prayerful.

In Catholic theology, the Bible is sacramental: it is a sign that is an occasion for grace. The Bible fits the two classic definitions of a sacrament: (1) a visible sign instituted by Christ to give grace and (2) a sign that effects what it signifies. However, unlike the seven sacraments, it does not work ex opere operato; it does not give grace by itself, but is dependent on our use of it. ...

Though it is not a sacrament, it has power. Its power comes from two wills, God's and ours. It is the Spirit's sword (Eph 6:17) that cuts our very being apart (Heb 4:12), though we must give it an opening by exposing our minds and hearts and wills to its cutting edge. When we do that, God's Kingdom comes to earth. For it first comes to that tiny but crucially important bit of earth that is your mind and will. Then it transforms your life, which your mind and will control. Then, through your life, your world.

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