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The Exercise of the Three Powers

This is the traditional Christian method for meditating on Scripture or on anything else. Simply, the method is to confront something and ask questions about it until we come to a decision that affects our life. It is that simple. Anyone who is willing to make decisions can do it. Only people who dodge decisions fail.


These steps activate the basic human powers of memory, intellect and will. But prayer is not just a human exercise. So first we pause for a moment, clear our minds, recall the presence of God and ask God to help us. Then we begin.


Memory serves up the material. This step may begin with reading, since writings are just recorded memory. The key is to actually confront some line or thought that strikes us. Stop; notice what it says. Focus on it to mine it for meaning.


Intellect works by asking questions and trying to answer them. We ask what is said; why; what it challenges us to do; how we can respond; why we want to respond or why not. The questions should be questions that lead to action: "What action would express belief in what I have seen? Hope that God will help me? Love for the God who asks?" As we ask questions, God helps and inspires us.


Will is the power of free choice. Choices are the goal of our prayer. By choices we give shape to our souls. To believe, hope and love are choices. So are concrete decisions to do things that express faith, hope or love. To be sure you are being real, make at least one decision to do something so concrete you can close your eyes and see yourself doing it.


We conclude our reflection by talking to God in our own words about what we have seen and what we desire to do about it. We ask God to help us. We can end with an Our Father, Hail Mary, or some other prayer.


Praying over Scripture simply means reflecting on the Word of God until we reach decisions that change our life.


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