How to Prayer – Part 2

Forming Stewards – Prayer Part 2

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

(Martin Luther King Jnr.)

Our new Archbishop, Mark Benedict Colleridge, has indicated with great enthusiasm throughout various addresses and in his first Pastoral Letter which launched the ‘Year of Grace’, how important it is that we become a more biblical church. He himself has trained and studied as a Biblical Scholar. By this focus he wishes to encourage us to go back to basics by regularly reading the Word of God, asking questions of it and deepening in our understanding and appreciation of its meaning and power. It is in light of this new emphasis of our Archbishop that I desire to address the next edition of our ‘Forming Stewards’ articles on the importance of prayer using the scriptures.

The following way of praying the Scriptures is known by its acronym:  S.O.A.P

Scripture – Read the piece of scripture slowly through once, pausing at the end to take in the story, characters, images and ideas. Then read through it again, pausing at the moments that have energy for you, either as something to understand or that speak to your life experience; don’t over think it at this point.

Observation – There may be a word, phrase or image that stands out for you. Spend as long as you feel is necessary to ponder these elements of the passage, be they questions or concerns, affirmations or challenges.

Application – Now take these individual elements that have caught your eye and find if there are any links or threads that join them together (Don’t be concerned if there aren’t any clear connections). Consider how this applies to your life at the moment. What is it saying about your relationships, work, personal life or engagement with the community? What challenges does it present to you? What actions must you take to authentically live out this message?

Prayer – This is now a moment to pause silently, without the need to read or think, and just allow a prayer to come into your heart, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It might be a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for a gift in your life, or for an insight made during this time of prayer. It might be a prayer for strength or guidance to help you face the challenges this scripture passage is presenting you with.

You may find that during your prayer using this method, you may wish to journal or write down your observations and thoughts, so that you can clearly go through them in your reflection of how these apply to your life and what prayer rises in your heart as a response to God’s presence in that moment. Journaling is also another wonderful opportunity to go back to past times of prayer and reflect on where you have come from in your spiritual journey. Pray well my friends!

                                                                                                                Fr. Jason Middleton