Posted February 17, 2010
Book: How to Pray with the Bible
Author: Page McKean Zyromski
Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts, 2010. Pp. 118
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
If you’re looking for a personal and practical way to incorporate the Bible into your life, How to Pray with the Bible is for you.
It all begins with communication – a two-way street between you and God – and Page Zyromski show how to develop a posture of attentive listening as well as a sense of humor. If we take ourselves too seriously, we miss the lighter grace-notes of the divine conversation.
You will discover that the stories, gestures, and words of both the Old and New Testaments take on a new meaning as you see them in the context of a relationship with God through prayer. Major and minor characters come to life, and become our role models. Even those portions of Scripture we often gloss over, such as lists of names, genealogies, and passages about battles, become stepping stones in this invitation to use the entire Bible to walk closer with God.
An Excerpt from the Book:
How Did They Pray?
Moses took off his shoes, David ripped his shirt, Job went out and sat on a dung heap. None of these prayer styles may appeal to you, but if you observe th biblical giants at prayer, you’ll discover you have more in common with them than you imagine. “In the Holy Scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to show you the way,” says Saint Jerome. Why not choose guides from the Bible itself to “show the way”?
Take Moses for example. He was minding his own business, which at the time was minding sheep. He noticed something out of the ordinary, a burning bush, and heard God speaking through it. Is there something out of the ordinary happening to you right now? Have you considered that God might be speaking to you?
Watch what Moses does next. He goes nearer. He hears God say, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). I’ve always been delighted to take off my shoes, for God or anyone else, but it was years before I learned the Biblical symbolism of it. By taking off his sandals, Moses divest himself. His bare feet are in contact with the earth. He’s grounded, humbled. Our word humility comes from the Latin humilis, which simply means “of the earth.” it’s a shame the word humble is almost synonymous these days with low self image. They are the same at all. Humility is our basic posture toward God when we pray being always aware that we are human.
Think of the scene in which Saint Paul tumbled from his high horse and was blind for a few days (Acts 9:4-9). Better to take of your shoes, not physically perhaps, but in your stance before the living God.
Shoes in the Bible are symbols of ownership or what we would call rights. Remember how the Prodigal Son’s father gives him sandals when he gives him back his rights as heir (Luke 15:22)? The Prodigal Son did not deserve it; he had forfeited his rights when he left home. You’ll notice also that it is a sandal that Boaz receives when he takes over the rights of inheritance that go along with his marriage to Ruth (Ruth 4:8).
You can look into these stories later, but for now just think about how you, on your own, are spiritually powerless, without rights, when you approach God in prayer – or when God approaches you in prayer. In these stories God is always the initiator. Maybe you’ll see how you own desire to pray the Bible was his initiative. You may even have a story about how a book like this fell into your hands “accidentally.” That story is part of your call.
Table of Contents:
1. Genesis 1:1, Anyone?
2. “The word is very near to you”
3. Javelins and other one-liners
4. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”
5. How did they pray?
6. It’s okay to holler, okay to laugh
7. Images and I am’s
8. Blessings and beatitudes
9. Babylonian babies and begats
10. Sing a new song