Not just for church – we need a “prayer of illumination” for every day!

Be good to your servant,
    that I may live and obey your word.
 Open my eyes to see
    the wonderful truths in your instructions.

Psalm 119:17-19
– Sunday morning after attending church

I have been thinking about how I read the scriptures. Not just processing words on a page for comprehension, but everything that goes into my interface, how I engage, how I interact with God’s word.

This is not new for me, but it came back to the front of my attention Sunday morning, when pastor Mac took a moment to remind us how important the “prayer for illumination” is in our liturgy.

We pause, we step away for a moment, we think about what we are about to do, and we ask God to be present, to reveal something, to teach us, and to grant us insight.

Not just reading the words of the Bible, but engaging with the gospel message – as well as priming the heart we bring to listening when the preacher brings “a good word” from God.

I immediately thought about what I am doing with my parents each evening before I get dad settled down for the night. I have been reading aloud from a chapter in Reaching Toward Easter. Mum and dad may have purchased their copy several years ago, but now the guy who wrote the book is sitting in the living room reading.

This is one of the reasons I believe it is so critically important that we pray before we read: It is God’s “Good Book”, and it makes sense to read the scriptures in the context of the relationship.

“This is your word, Lord God. We do not want the scriptures to wash over us as rote recitation, nor merely experience it as beautiful but obscure poetry, or folklore, or ancient history; we do not want to dismiss it as of anthropological interest but trapped in time. We understand that we need to hear these words in both our heads and our hearts; we come intending to open our minds and lay bare our souls; we read these words expecting to receive something of you. Inspire us, we pray; challenge us, feed us, and equip us to live – both in your light and in your truth. Amen.”

Praying before I read, meditating, and intentionally opening a space in which to receive God’s gifts.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

You know – and this just came into my mind – that level of illumination is something that could benefit every aspect of our living, including our Monday mornings!

“Inspire us, we pray; challenge us, feed us, and equip us to live – both in your light and in your truth. Amen.”


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