The second aspect of being serious about our apprenticing with Jesus through the discipline of scriptureprayer is that we read the Word Imaginatively.
Before we jump to some new age smoke and mirrors thinking let me define in detail what I mean.
When we engage in reading the Word imaginatively we are putting our lives, our story in the midst of the drama bringing a freshness and present day reality to the truth of God’s Word for our lives right now.
Honestly, after we clearly come to an understanding of the historic plan God has for us and its prophetic nature through scripture is there any other way to engage God’s Word but through a fresh application for today.
Hebrews in Chapter 4 verse 12 puts it like this:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
We must come to see that our lives are implicitly involved in everything we read in Scripture. In order to see this we must enter the passage as if it was just written for us in our present day reality as we sit and began to slowly read.
Let me give you an example from my many many experiences. On March 2, 1998 I woke up in Duisburg, Germany for another day of church missional work. I was working as part of a team to train pastors through my church’s global initiative. I must say the day before had been spent fairly non productive and I was really wondering if God truly intended me to be part of this team.
After showering I opened my Bible to Psalms where I had been reading for the past several days and turned to Psalm 27. I read it slowly and as always intently looking for direction for the day. As I got to verse 14 the letters seemed to magnify larger than any of the others in the Psalm as I read:
WAIT UPON THE LORD;BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART AND WAIT FOR THE LORD.
I read them over and over and over, in great anticipation now for the day that laid before me.
I hurried downstairs and had breakfast with my host family while waiting for my ride to the large auditorium where the pastors conference was being held. I arrived and took up my post and assignment. Around 11am our pastor was delivering the final morning message to thousands of pastors throughout Germany. It was on being strong in the face of many idols that detract from ministry. By the end of the message you could’ve heard a pin drop in the center. After a closing worship song the group was dismissed for lunch which was in a food court attached to the center.
I had arranged for guest to attend the conference from Bad Essen, Germany and I was having lunch with them. Our lunch ended and they hurried back to get a good seat for the afternoon session. Though done with lunch I felt no need to hurry back as I was still rolling over in my mind WAIT UPON THE LORD.
Within a few minutes a young man came upon my table and asked if he could sit with me. He told me he was a pastor from Essen,Germany a short distance from Duisburg. We exchanged pleasantries then he asked me if I was at the conference I said yes and told him I was from the mother megachurch in the USA working the conference. After a bit more of general conversation he began to pour out his heart to me. Telling me he felt he was unfit for ministry, unappreciative of his staff, difficult to be around and maybe he should walk away now from ministry.
We began to talk deeply about specifics that had led him to these thoughts and I encouraged him to seek God through scriptureprayer for the final disposition for his future in ministry. I prayed with him and stood up to head back in when suddenly he grabbed my arm and asked me to sit back down.
He looked me in the eye in tears and said George as I was walking out of the center I asked God to give me a sign or someone to talk with about my decision to walk away and George God sent me you, He used you today in my life. Thank you. Now we were both a wreck.
I hugged him and moved on in tears, but inside my heart was leaping with joy that God had used me as I WAITED upon Him.
This is what a relationship bathed in scriptureprayer slowly and imaginatively looks like. God told me to WAIT, I waited and God delivered His promise, His direction for my life at that moment. It’s a relationship and it’s not complicated.