Arise! Awake! Work on the house of the 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
2 Pet 1:1-12 – 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. 2 Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.
3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! 4 We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you — your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
5 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, 6 alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, 7 warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 8 With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. 9 Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
10 So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, 11 the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
12 Because the stakes are so high, even though you’re up-to-date on all this truth and practice it inside and out, I’m not going to let up for a minute in calling you to attention before it. (MSG)
Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.
2 Pet 1:13 – I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, (ESV)
Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.
2 Pet 1:13 – I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, (ESV)
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.
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up…
To stir up: to wake fully; i.e. arouse literally or figuratively; arise, awake, raise; collecting one’s faculties; to waken from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively, from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence.3
The Lord stirred up the spirit.
Hag 1:14-15 – And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, (ESV)
I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder.
2 Peter 3:1-2 – This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, (ESV)
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,
Reminder: remembrance; to remind quietly, i.e. suggest to the memory; be mindful.4
Pay much closer attention to what you have heard.
Heb 1:13-2:4 – And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (ESV)
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.
2 Pet 1:13 – I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,
But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)
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.
3To stir up: NT:1326 <START GREEK>diegei/rw <END GREEK> diegeiro (dee-eg-i’-ro); from NT:1223 and NT:1453; to wake fully; i.e. arouse (literally or figuratively): KJV – arise, awake, raise, stir up.
NT:1223 <START GREEK>dia/<END GREEK> dia (dee-ah’); a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal, or occasional): KJV – after, always, among, at, to avoid, because of (that), briefly, by, for (cause). ..fore, from, in, by occasion of, of, by reason of, for sake, that, thereby, therefore, though, through (-out), to, wherefore, with (-in). In composition it retains the same general import.
NT:1453 <START GREEK>e)gei/rw <END GREEK> egeiro (eg-i’-ro); probably akin to the base of NT:58 (through the idea of collecting one’s faculties); to waken (transitively or intransitively), i.e. rouse (literally, from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively, from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence): KJV – awake, lift (up), raise (again, up), rear up, (a-) rise (again, up), stand, take up. (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.)
4Reminder: NT:5280 <START GREEK>u(po/mnhsi$ <END GREEK> hupomnesis (hoop-om’-nay-sis); from NT:5279; a reminding or (reflexively) recollection: KJV – remembrance.
NT:5279 <START GREEK>u(pomimnh/skw <END GREEK> hupomimnesko (hoop-om-im-nace’-ko); from NT:5259 and NT:3403; to remind quietly, i.e. suggest to the (middle voice one’s own) memory: KJV – put in mind, remember, bring to (put in) remembrance.
NT:5259 <START GREEK>u(po/ <END GREEK> hupo (hoop-o’); a primary preposition; under, i.e. (with the genitive case) of place (beneath), or with verbs (the agency or means, through); (with the accusative case) of place (whither [underneath] or where [below] or time (when [at]): KJV – among, by, from, in, of, under, with. In comp. it retains the same general applications, especially of inferior position or condition, and specifically, covertly or moderately.
NT:3403 <START GREEK>mimnh/skw <END GREEK> mimnesko (mim-nace’-ko); a prolonged form of NT:3415 (from which some of the tenses are borrowed); to remind, i.e. (middle voice) to recall to mind: KJV – be mindful, remember. (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.)