Grace and Peace

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Meditating and resting.

Do you have a regular and favorite way of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises?

Eugene Peterson describes meditation in his book Answering God as:

“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.”1

A Carthusian monk called Guigo described a form of meditation called Lectio Divina:

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.

He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously, this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live, and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.

These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve, and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group. If Lectio Divina is used for group prayer, obviously more structure is needed than for individual use. In group prayer, much will depend on the type of group. Lectio Divina may involve discussing the implications of the Word of God for daily life but it cannot be reduced to this. The movement of the prayer is towards silence. If the group is comfortable with silence, more time could be spent resting in the Word.

The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Remember:

I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (MSG)

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

What is the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord?

Knowledge: recognition, full discernment, acknowledgement; to know upon some mark, recognize, to become fully acquainted with.3

How do we become fully acquainted with God and of Jesus our Lord?

To see if he would present himself.

Isa 53:9-11 – He [Jesus] was given a grave among the wicked; in his death he was with a rich man. Although he had done no violence and had said nothing deceptive, yet it pleased Adonai to crush him with illness, to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering. If he does, he will see his offspring; and he will prolong his days; and at his hand Adonai’s desire will be accomplished. After this ordeal, he will see satisfaction. “By his knowing [pain and sacrifice], my righteous servant makes many righteous; it is for their sins that he suffers. (CJB)

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s. Take in what God wants to give you.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Luke 10:22 – All things have been handed over to me [Jesus] by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (ESV)

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

God has made his light shine in our hearts.

2 Cor 4:6 – For it is the God who once said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has made his light shine in our hearts, the light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua. (CJB)

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

We are united with his Son.

1 John 5:20-21 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment, so that we may know who is genuine; moreover, we are united with the One who is genuine, united with his Son Yeshua the Messiah. He is the genuine God and eternal life. Children, guard yourselves against false gods! (CJB)

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

What can we anticipate our experience will be as we grow in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord?

Grace: graciousness of manner or act, literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude; acceptable, favor, gift, pleasure; calmly happy, be well.4

Peace: to join; one, quietness, rest, set at one again.5

In this way they are to put my name on the people.

May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.
May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.’

“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them.”
(Num 6:24-27 CJB)

Oratio.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Contemplatio.

2 Pet 1:2 – May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

3Knowledge: NT:1922 <START GREEK>e)pi/gnwsi$ <END GREEK> epignosis (ep-ig’-no-sis); from NT:1921; recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: KJV – (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment).

NT:1921 <START GREEK>e)piginw/skw <END GREEK> epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko); from NT:1909 and NT:1097; to know upon some mark, i.e. recognize; by implication, to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge: KJV – (ac-, have, take) know (-ledge, well), perceive.

NT:1909 <START GREEK>e)pi/<END GREEK> epi (ep-ee’); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dat.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: KJV – about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside,  have charge of, (be-, [wherefore-]), in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-) on (behalf of), over, (by, for) the space of, through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), with. In compounds it retains essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (literally or figuratively).

NT:1097 <START GREEK>ginw/skw <END GREEK> ginosko (ghin-oce’-ko); a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): KJV – allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Grace: NT:5485 <START GREEK>xa/ri$ <END GREEK> charis (khar’-ece); from NT:5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): KJV – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

NT:5463 <START GREEK>xai/rw <END GREEK> chairo (khah’-ee-ro); a primary verb; to be “cheerful”, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonally, especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well: KJV – farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hall, joy (-fully), rejoice. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Peace: NT:1515 <START GREEK>ei)rh/nh <END GREEK> eirene (i-ray’-nay); probably from a primary verb eiro (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity: KJV – one, peace, quietness, rest,  set at one again. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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