I was working in the basement purging some stuff (oy do we have stuff!) when I came across a couple of boxes of letters. Letters from my wife to me way back in our dating days and letters from me to her. I didn’t throw them out. (I don’t dare) One evening,we will take time to reread some of them to remember the journey we’ve been on for over 30 years. Letters written with love and a growing love are like gold! But sometimes I forget they’re there or overlook them.
God’s word, the Bible, contains a lot of letters (epistles, as they say) and in itself is really a love letter from God to His people. The Bible chronicles the journey (pilgrimage) of God’s people in various places and groups. It tells of the grace, love and power of God. It is precious to me, it’s gold. Sometimes I forget that, I’m sad to say.
And like other love letters it’s so powerful to read God’s love letter to us. To remember, to rediscover and to speak out loud our relationship to God.
One day our church had a “Day to Pray” from before sunup to after sundown. In that time a couple of dozen people read the Bible as prayer and worship aloud to God. It was amazing!
It wasn’t a read-a-thon where we just put in hours and verses to read a lot of the Bible or set some world record.
We read it lovingly, prayerfully, as an act of honour and worship to our Father in heaven.
People read chapters from varied books of the Bible taking turns, they read sequential chapters from Isaiah, the Psalms or John in order. They even read varied passages aloud at the same time!
We started at 5 am just prior to sunrise. I thought I might be the only one for the 5 to 6 am shift but there ended up being three of us and three more arrived before 6 so there were 6 of us all reading and focusing on God between 6 and 7 am. Very powerful stuff.
Over and over, I was told how powerful people found it as they read Scriptures aloud with others instead of silently alone at home. So many felt closer to God as we recounted His faithfulness and love.
I remember afterward one of the participants said that as she arrived she thought to herself, “I can’t pray with all this reading aloud going on!” But after a short bit she fell into the praise of God, connecting with God and having no problem praying. Turned out she loved it!
…so much more expressive..
Another said her “ah-ha” moment was when she realized that reading the Bible aloud was so much more expressive than doing it silently. She was able to put expression and feeling into her reading that she missed by reading in silence during quiet times. She said she was going to start reading aloud at home.
It’s so great having a new experience of God. One of my favourite things is seeing others experiencing God in new ways.
So hey, why not take the Bible as an active part of your pilgrimage? You could read aloud but there are lots of options. Reading aloud has a declarative aspect to how you pray and worship God. And you might be surprised by the power.
You might be surprised by the power
You can kick it old school by taking a pocket size translation that you like. Or you can get the Bible on CD (anyone still got a discman?) and listen as you drive or take the bus or listen to it on your mobile device from an app (that’s more current!). I know a lot of people who get all kind of messages through their mobile device so why not get messages from God that way?
So dig out that old love letter from the Lord and speak the truth out!