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a method of reading + prayer

This has been helpful in my bible reading: Tim Keller writes about fellowship with God through Bible reading and meditation... what he calls a "middle" practice between reading and prayer...

Method in Prayer: Below we outline a simple way of 'fellowship with God'. Rather than simply studying our Bibles and praying in a merely cognitive way, our 4-fold outline included the discipline of a 'middle' practice ("meditation") between Bible reading and prayer as well as the expectation of a final practice ("contemplation") that is the fruit of all we do. The method:

Reading (Listening) - Slow, gentle reading of Scripture repeatedly, looking for things not seen, appreciated, or enjoyed before. Listening for God's voice and stopping to taste the truth as it goes by. Write down main things learned.

Meditation (Reflecting) - Take each and think out: "How can this lead me 1) to adore God? 2) to confess sin? 3) to petition for grace? And 4) how is Jesus the ultimate a) revelation of this attribute, b) solution for this sin, c) source of this grace?

Prayer (Speaking) - After meditation (or as soon as you become engaged) pray meditations: 1) adore God. 2) repent for sin. 3) thank for Christ. 4) ask for aid. Then 5) move on to 'kingdom prayer' for individual, church, and world needs.

Contemplation (Sensing) - Not as much a fourth 'stage' as the fruit of the rest. It is a spiritual sense on the heart of the reality of God. It can mingle with the other practices or come in strong and displace them. Essence-an adoring gaze at Him. It is at bottom a gift.

--From Keller's class, Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World.


Mark said…
I've been contemplating contemplation quite a bit lately, probably as a result of reading Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain and Kathleen Norris' Cloister Walk. But while Keller's method holds a certain appeal, I have to ask whether it is arbitrary or biblically derived. Did Paul have a quiet time? What did he do? Does it matter?

I'm not disagreeing, just wondering about the sources of our orthopraxy.
Sandy said…
What I appreciate about Keller's approach (actually, by his admission, a re-work of Luther on prayer) is that it takes a Christ-centered approach to Scripture reading, and application deals with biblical areas of response: worship (adoration), confession, and petition. A very workable template, if I could use that word.
Mark said…
I like that, too, and I've taken a similar approach, particularly in reading the OT, where I can consider, in Proverbs, Christ as wisdom, and in Psalms and elsewhere, Christ as the fulfillment of the Law, etc.

But that wasn't really what I was asking. Perhaps what I'm asking is unanswerable. But I've been wondering a lot about, e.g., the emphasis on solitary devotion vs. corporate (not either/or, but relative emphasis) and the emphasis on spontaneity vs. set (again, not either/or).
Sandy said…
Yeah, probably unanswerable. That's why I give answers to questions no one asked! :)

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