A few years ago, I watched a Christian movie that had a pretty profound affect on me. It was called “War Room”. The bottom line of this movie is about prayer and how prayer can change things. Storyline aside, I believe that that sentiment is very real and true. I really began to work harder at my prayer life, my quiet time and above all else paying more attention to the scriptures. Recently, I came across a podcast on reading the scriptures and prayer. It is a series on Orthodox Spirituality: Purification, Illumination, and Deification. This particular episode was on purification through scripture reading. And I particularly was drawn to this part:
Prayer and Scripture are not separate. You can say with authority that the reading of Scripture, done properly, is a form of prayer, and it is certainly not distinct and separate from it. That great ascetic Father, St. Isaac of Nineveh, says:
Never approach the words of the mysteries that are in the Scriptures without praying and asking for God’s help. Say: Lord, grant me to feel the power that is in them. Reckon prayer to be the key that opens the true meaning of Scripture.
Furthermore, Scripture reading is not simply pursued as a primary reading of knowledge, but as a primary means of purification. 2 Timothy tells us that all Scripture is God-inspired and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in righteousness, in order that the man of God man be—what? May be perfect, equipped for every good work. The psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
After watching the movie, I decided to find parts of scripture that were relevant to my life and pray for God’s understanding and His strength to bring these things into my life.
I was a bit hesitant about doing this but it felt right to me. I want to change my inner self, to come closer to God and I want to particularly do this so that others may see Christ in me. What I found the ability to take scripture and make it personal. On the Orthodox Church in America website I found an article on reading scripture and read this…
According to Saint Mark the Monk (“Mark the Ascetic,” fifth/sixth century), “He who is humble in his thoughts and engaged in spiritual work, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will apply everything to himself and not to his neighbor.” We are to look throughout Scripture for a personal application. Our question is not simply “What does it mean?” but “What does it mean for me?” As Saint Tikhon insists, “Christ Himself is speaking to you.” Scripture is a direct, intimate dialogue between the Savior and myself-Christ addressing me and my heart responding.
Let us read the scripture and bring it in to our hearts to find relevance. To make it personal. That He may give us courage and strength to become what we are intended to become. Like Christ. Full of joy and love!
Update: The picture above is now clickable to print a PDF. Enjoy!