Welcome back! We are excited you’ve joined us for our second session of Gather. As we gather at our table with food and friends, we hope you will do the same.
There is nothing more powerful than authentic community when it comes to our spiritual health and growth. It is never too late to ask a friend to join you in this journey. Now let’s get started!
This month our spiritual discipline focus is Lectio Divina, the practice of prayerful meditation of Scripture. The purpose of meditating on a passage of the Bible is to experience God in a personal way and increase our understanding of what it means to live out His Word.
We’ve broken down the practice of lectio to four components based on David Crowder’s explanation of lectio in his book Praise Habit: reading, thinking, praying, and living.
Last week we talked about being Present in our reading of Scripture. We sent you home with a mini-journal and one verse to read. We encouraged you to do two things in your reading.
- First, present yourself to God
- Second, enter His presence through Christ by way of the Holy Spirit.
“Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth!”
How was your week of being present to the verse?
In what ways did you present yourself to God?
Were there moments of wrestling with being present in the process?
Remember: At the heart of lectio divina is a willingness to create margin in your life to hear God’s Spirit speak to you through His Word.
How did you create margin in your life to hear Holy Spirit speak to you through Psalm 46:10?
Did you find margin in an unexpected place?
Were there times your thoughts turned to Psalm 46:10 in your daily routine?
Our focus for this week is to Question what we are reading by praying.
How does it make you feel to question Scripture?
Questioning is a natural response to growing and developing both physically and spiritually. Young children who are full of “Why” questions often remind us of the importance of curiosity. As we grow, we begin to notice how others respond to questions.
What kind of response did you most often experience as a young child when you questioned something?
Did this change your willingness to question?
Asking or questioning God might feel disrespectful, or even blasphemous in some ways. Yet Scripture is full of people asking God questions in all kinds of ways.
question verb 1: to ask a question of or about 2: to interrogate intensively: cross-examine 3a: doubt, dispute b: to subject to analysis: examine… to ask questions: inquire
Every aspect of the definition of question can be found in Scripture as a response to God’s words.
Our questions can come from a sincere desire to better understand what God has said.
When the angel Gabriel brought Mary God’s Word that she would be pregnant with the Messiah, she humbly asked: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
Some are filled with the intensity of a cross-examination and a tone of judgment.
The Pharisees conducting their illegal trial of Jesus:
And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” (Matthew 26:62)
Or Job’s questions to God regarding his affliction which he felt was wholly unjust.
Read Job 10:1-7
What do you hear in Job’s questions?
What emotions rise in you as you listen to him question God?
Then there are questions asked with a hint of sarcasm, reflecting doubt or unbelief.
Zechariah also questioned the word of God brought to him by Gabriel, when he was told he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child. A son born to them in their old age. Something they were unable to do in all their years of marriage.
“How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” (Luke 1:18)
Other questions are spoken with a desire to truly examine something completely foreign to us. Analyzing what’s been said.
Nicodemus questioning Jesus’s teaching on being born again:
“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4)
As we read God’s Word, questions are sure to arise. What we do with our questions impacts our relationship with God in many ways.
What do you do with your questions about God and His Word?
Does it seem different if you think of questioning as a way of praying? How?
Part of prayerful meditation of Scripture is to listen for the questions which come up in your spirit. But don’t swat them away or stuff them down. Embrace them. Turn them into a prayer.
Read Matthew 7:7
What happens when we ask?
We receive. In this case an answer. The answer may not come in that moment. But if we ask the question and wait, He will answer. Questioning becomes dangerous when we try to conjure up an answer ourselves.
The importance of questioning with prayer means we are asking the One who truly knows the answers. Trying to figure out the answer on our own or turning to the world’s reason and knowledge is not a way in which we find truth.
When you ask God a question, expect His Spirit to respond to your heart. Be careful not to rush it or to manufacture an answer. Don’t turn the Bible into a reference book or spiritual encyclopedia. Just pose the question to God, and wait on Him.
–Pat Layton, Surrendering the Secret
Where do you most often turn to find answers to spiritual questions?
Do you believe God will answer?
What do you do with unanswered questions?
We serve a great big God, and asking questions allows us to wrestle with God. Like Jacob, we will walk away changed, transformed, never the same. Wait patiently with expectation and a stance of being present, He will answer you.
Early in my study of Scripture I came to John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Now I knew in the context of Jesus’s teaching He was talking about His upcoming death on the cross. He was giving His life, literally dying, for His friends so they could have eternal life.
In my practical little literal brain, I thought, How in the world do you do this? Do you only get to love “greater love” just once? So I turned this thought into a prayer and let it sit. I didn’t try to figure it out. I just left it hanging before God.
It was a season in my life when my husband and I regularly argued over the remote control. And it was on one of these evenings as we were entering the war zone again when I heard the Spirit say, “Lay down your life for a friend…”
Ahhh…! I got it. I saw it. Laying down our lives in love is not just about dying for someone. It’s about dying to your own selfish desires and yield to let someone else have their way. This also put new meaning to: “Take up your cross and follow Me.”
Yes. If you ask, He will answer, and when He does… you will be changed.
The remote control war was put to rest.
Think back over your week of being present to Psalm 46:10.
Did you notice any questions rising during your reading time?
What did you do with the questions?
This week, continue to present yourself to our Scripture, trusting you will find Him present when you do. But we will add another component of lectio divina: Question through praying.
“Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
- Present yourself humbly before God in His Word. Ask Him to teach you.
- Read the Scripture daily.
- Listen to the questions of your heart
- Ask God the question
- Wait for the answer expectantly
Don’t forget to record your questions in your journal. Writing down our questions helps us to recognize when God answers.
Father God, thank You for making the Way for us to bring our questions to You. Thank You for being big enough to handle all our questions. Keep our hearts open to hear Your answers.
Need a mini-journal? Or do you want to give one to a friend? Click the links below:
Lectio Divina – Journal Pages [print two-sided]