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May 14, 2020

How Do You Pray with the Bible?

Fr. Mike Schmitz

You know you should be praying. But do you ever wish someone would show you how? Fr. Mike starts by showing us how to pray with the Bible with a time-honored method called lectio divina. Typically it consists of five steps:

  1. Read a short snippet of Scripture, a few verses. (This is the “lectio” part.)
  2. Meditate on those verses. Think about what you read. Is there any hidden meaning, anything you didn’t notice at first?
  3. Pray about what you read. Talk with God about the passage.
  4. Meditate again and maybe read the passage again in light of what God spoke to you.
  5. Contemplate. Rest with what you just prayed about. Ask God what you should take away from the passage. Ask him what he’s telling you to do next.

Fr. Mike walks us through a Scripture passage involving John the Baptist where he employs the steps of lectio divina

Now, Fr. Mike points out that when we pray with the Bible, it’s not always mind-blowing. But don’t be discouraged. Here’s his analogy.

Where Father is from in Minnesota, smooth rocks on the lakeshore are called “skippers” because the smoother the stone, the farther the skip. Sometimes when we’re walking along the lakeshore we find the perfect rock for skipping across the water. Other times we don’t, but we find a rock that’s good enough. Sometimes that’s how lectio divina works. Sometimes a verse really jumps out at you, but other times there may be a verse that’s just good enough. God will still speak to you through it if you use the “good enough” verse in your lectio divina. So don’t be discouraged if a verse doesn’t jump out at you. 

Monday, May 18 at 8 PM ET, Father Mike will answer your questions LIVE, for the first time ever on Ascension Presents! Whether your question is about why Catholics do the weird things they do, how you can overcome a specific challenge, or what Father’s favorite meal is, tune into the Ascension Presents YouTube channel to ask Father Mike live!   

More resources on prayer and lectio divina:

What Is Lectio Divina?
How to Pray Lectio Divina
Oremus: A Guide to Catholic Prayer
Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina
Pray, Decide, and Don’t Worry: Five Steps to Discerning God’s Will
More free content on prayer from Ascension


Meet Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz serves as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and as chaplain for the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

He is a presenter in Ascension’s ChosenAltaration, and The 99 programs, and has a channel on Ascension Presents. He is also the host of the Ascension podcast The Bible in a Year.

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  • Brilliant explanation of Lectio Divina. Best I have ever heard, I actually understood what you were saying. So I will try again, taking your genious advice on board. Thank you Fr Mike. By the way I “Absolutely love” the Bible in a year podcast, it is amazing and so, so good to listen to. It’s brought so much understanding to the Bible stories. Really made it all come alive for me. Bless you in your ministry and all at Ascension Press who put it all together.
    Appreciate all you do🙏🏻
    Tess from Western Australia 🇦🇺

  • I have found that I need both help and direction in Lectio Divina, so prior to reading the Holy Bible before the day begins, I ask, via prayer, Our Lady to intercede to the Holy Spirit to come, still, open my heart, and to make me receptive to hear that small still voice of Our Lord as I read the passage.

  • I am ever so grateful to Ascension and to Fr. Mike for doing the Bible in a Year podcasts. I have been a devout listener since Jan 1 and it is unraveling so much of what I have been taught and revealing what I never learned! I have tried in the past to read the bible but was frequently frustrated by it. Please let Fr. Mike know my deep appreciation of his teaching. I pray for him and for all of the listeners of Bible in a Year podcasts. God bless you all!

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