The Catholic Company asked me to review the book Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to the Lectio Divinia by Dr. Tim Gray. This easy to read book is less than 150 pages.
Dr. Gray first writes about the difficulties we often have in prayer and then introduces the meaning of Lectio Divinia. Lectio Divinia is a form of prayer that has its origins with the Church fathers and has four "stages" or "rungs on the ladder." This is the prayer of the saints throughout Church history. Dr. Gray moves through each part of the book beautifully, giving examples of what each stage encompasses and how to "pray" with scripture. The author also uses vivid imagery in describing the stages of the Lectio Divinia as a vineyard that is tended and, through a great deal of work, yields a fine wine. His inspiring images helped the stages of Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio come alive for me.
Dr. Gray's explanations of each stage clearly showed that he is well versed in scripture. While reading his incredible examples, I wondered if I could really experience the fullness of this prayer that relies heavily on reading scripture and hearing God speak to me through it. Just as I was ready to say, "I do not think I can pray Lectio Divinia", Dr Gray eloquently addressed my fears and the concerns that any reader may have.
Overall, I really enjoyed Praying Scripture for a Change. I know I do not pray with scripture often enough. This book helped me to better understand the stages of prayer and how important it is pray them in order. Scripture reading (Lectio) allows us to meditate (Meditatio) and discover what we ought to pray for (Oratio), so that we can, then, discern how God wants us to move or change and, finally, drink in the fullness of His Love for us (Contemplatio).
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a solid understanding of Lectio Divinia, or is simply looking for a new form of prayer to invigorate their own prayer life.