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From the heart

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 27.37

Jesus' instruction takes us into the heart of meditative prayer. Meditative prayer absorbs all our faculties, orienting them to God. And the way in is through Scripture... Alighting on a passage, we allow ourselves to be drawn in so that we feel the sun on our face, smell the surrounding aromas, taste the tang on the breeze, behold the near horizon and the vistas beyond - and hear the words, as if spoken directly to us.

This approach to Bible study and prayer is known as "lectio divina" and enjoys a diverse spectrum of advocates: from Presbyterian minister, Alexander Whyte, to Catholic luminary, Ignatius of Loyola. Their desire is that we grow to appreciate Scripture in a personal way and - even more importantly - that we cultivate a closer personal relationship with the author of scripture.

Richard Foster encourages us to augment our experience of meditative prayer by acquainting ourselves with devotional classics like 'The Cloud of Unknowing', John Woolman's 'Journals', Dietrich Bonhoeffeur's 'Cost of Discipleship'... The list goes on, to the extent that we are spoiled for choice. Yet the important thing is to plunge in and experience meditative prayer for ourselves. Everyone can do it though, strangely, it might be harder for those of us who are used to studying the Bible intellectually; because it calls us to introduce our emotions - and that does not always come naturally!



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