Four Steps to Holy Reading and Listening to Scripture

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Traditional holy reading and listening to the Scripture has four steps, with a leader guiding the process. But people can also practice this pattern on their own. (I use it regularly in my devotional practice.) To incorporate holy reading and listening to Scripture into your Mentoring Community gathering, choose a passage that is not too long—four to eight verses. Then prepare everyone for the reading:

1. Reading God’s Word: Have everyone close their eyes. Say, “Listen for a word or phrase that you particularly notice as I read the passage aloud.”

After the reading, have everyone sit in silence for two to three minutes. Then say, “With your eyes closed, speak the word or phrase you noticed. Don’t worry about others speaking at the same time.”

2. Reflecting on God’s Word: Next, say, “As I read the passage again, listen for how the content speaks to your life today.” Read the passage again, slowly and clearly, followed by two to three minutes of silence.

After the silence, invite people to share: “What does the passage mean to you? What did you hear, or what are you feeling or thinking?”

3. Responding to God’s Word: For the third reading, say, “As I read the passage again, listen to how you might respond.” Read the passage again, slowly, and have the group sit in silence for two to three minutes.

After the silence, invite people to say a small prayer of response. Sometimes someone will hear profound, life-changing words, sometimes someone is challenged or affirmed, and sometimes nothing happens. All is normal.

4. Resting in God’s Word: Have everyone close their eyes again and listen while the passage is read for the final time. Say, “Receive the words and rest in Jesus’ truth.” After the fourth reading, the group might say the Lord’s Prayer together.

At the conclusion, the group might discuss their experience. What are some questions or insights? How does listening help us to see and hear the Word differently than a Bible study does? How might the group respond to these words from Jesus?

MaryKate Morse
MaryKate Morse

represents a global team of leaders who, under the guidance of Leighton Ford, developed the Mentoring Communities model of group leadership development. She is a professor at Portland Seminary, a mentor and trainer for Lausanne Young Leaders, and a trainer for Leighton Ford Ministries. She is a founding board member of Missio Alliance and is affiliated with Global Evangelists Forum and Africa Enterprise. Additionally, she is a spiritual director for international evangelists and church planters. She has authored Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space, and Influence and A Guidebook to Prayer, as well as various other chapters and writing projects.

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