What are your plans for the summer?
My calendar’s already filled with a family vacation and weekend trips and picnics. But work is lighter, and so are the days—leaving time for walks and books and doing nothing, if I want. Just seeing “Memorial Day” coming up next week makes my pulse slow down. I can’t wait for summer.
I have a sand-bucket list for the next three months and at the top is getting more one-on-one, hang-out time with God. I need spiritual re-calibrating as much as I need a break from the grind. The best way I know to hear God speak to my heart is to read the Bible on a regular basis. I started doing that as a teenager when I saw my life going nowhere and needed help. I would pray, start reading, and look for God to speak. He always did. He helped me with so many things that first summer, and I got so much out of getting to know God better and his love for me, that I kept it up.
Years later, I learned that what I was doing has a name: lectio divina (“divine reading”).
The biggest question I get when I tell people about lectio divina is “Where do I start?” So here are some summer-sized suggestions:
IDEAS FOR SUMMER BIBLE READING
- Immerse yourself in God’s loving plan. Four chapters a day with a few days off will take you through the entire story of the Bible by Labor Day. Learn how to do it here (Go to my “Dig In” page and scroll down to “Read through the Bible Narrative in 90 Days”).
- Pick a book, any book. Can’t decide? Start with a gospel. Read it like you’d read a novel, at whatever pace feels right. Pray before you start, ask the Lord to speak, then start to read. Linger as the Spirit guides, and talk to him about it. The next day, pick up where you left off.
- Looking for something quick and light? Try Proverbs. There are 31 chapters, so every day you read, go with the chapter that corresponds to the date (on July 7, read Proverbs 7). Every chapter’s packed with small bites of common sense and godly wisdom. Snack on whatever appeals to you . . . Then try to do what it says that day. Keep a list of your favorites and learn them by heart. Tweet them or share on Facebook—anything to help you remember.
- Want a good story? Read Jonah or Esther or Daniel or Genesis [all of Genesis is good, but it’s hard to beat the story of Joseph in chs. 37-50]. Just get to know the story. Watch God in action. Learn more about the One who loves you.
- Is summer your time to go deep? Read a book with the help of a good commentary. I highly recommend the very readable Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, which explains what you’re reading, connects it to our Catholic faith, and gives you food for thought and prayer. Give Revelation a try, or Mark, or Ephesians (or anything that strikes your fancy). And prepare to be blessed!
- Another way to go deep, alone or with a group: use one of the books I wrote with Gayle Somers on Genesis to guide you through personal reading and meditating and discussing one of the most practical and informative books about our faith.
Once you’ve decided—take some iced tea out to your hammock and start to read! If you happen to fall asleep, consider what a lovely thing it is to fall asleep in the arms of the Father, his words the last thing you hear.
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Are you interested in joining a Facebook group to talk to others about what you’re reading? Write to me and I’ll set it up if there’s enough interest.
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© 2016 Sarah Christmyer.