In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children and talks with them.  …  It is eminently true of Holy Scripture that: ‘The word of God is living and active’ (Heb 4:12), and ‘is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified’ (Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13).

– Dei verbum 21

Many of the saints have spoken about the Scriptures as the foundation of any sound discernment. Through the Scriptures, and in particular the Gospels, we grow in knowledge and love of Christ. We also become ever more familiar with the voice of the One who we are seeking to follow. As Jesus said of his disciples, they will follow me, because they recognize my voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers. (see John 10:3-5)

Below we introduce you to two traditional methods of praying with the Scriptures – Lectio Divina and the Visualization Method – as well as give some recommended Bible passages pertaining to vocation and call.

Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”

This form of meditating on Sacred Scripture, dating back to the desert fathers, is comprised of four steps:

  • Lectio – We read slowly and attentively a selected passage from Sacred Scripture, noting the words and images that draw our attention.
  • Meditatio – We meditate or ruminate on the words and images that drew our attention. We are seeking the illumination of the Holy Spirit so that we come to a deeper spiritual insight into and connection with the Word of God.
  • Oratio – We take the fruits of our meditation and turn them into a prayer to God.
  • Contemplatio – We offer to God the efforts of our lectio, meditatio, and oratio and place ourselves in God, so that through contemplation, He can envelop us in His life-giving Word.

Visualization Method

This method of praying with Scripture utilizes our imaginations to enter more deeply into the Word of God.

  • Preparatory Prayer – We ask for the grace that all our intentions and actions may be directed purely to the service and glory of God.
  • Review of the Scripture Passage – We read the Scripture passage several times to familiarize ourselves with it.
  • Composition or Entrance into the Scripture Scene – In this step, we use our imagination to “compose” the gospel scene, almost like a stage design or set. What are the sights, sounds, and smells?
  • Statement of Intent or Desire – Before entering into the scene fully, we tell God what we hope and desire for our prayer.
  • Contemplation – Now we seek to participate personally in the scene, seeing the people, hearing the words, and observing the actions.  Sometimes we are eye-witnesses to the scene; other times we take the place of one of the characters in the scene.  We pay attention to what emotions and feelings arise within us, what thoughts and ideas come to mind, what desires or fears awaken within us, etc.
  • Colloquy – We end our prayer by letting our heart speak freely to God, as a conversation between friends.

Scripture Passages on Call, Discipleship & Discernment

Old Testament
Genesis 12:1-9 — Call of Abram
Genesis 22:1-19 — Sacrifice of Isaac
Exodus 3:1-12 — Call of Moses
Exodus 13:17-15:18 — Leading of Israelites to Freedom
1 Samuel 3:1-10 — Call of Samuel
1 Kings 19:1-18 — Renewal of Elijah’s Vocation
Isaiah 6:1-13 — Call of Isaiah
Jeremiah 1:1-10 — Call of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 29:11-15 — Reassurance to Jeremiah
New Testament
Matthew 4:18-22 — Call of the first disciples
Matthew 14:22-33 — Peter walking on water
Matthew 16:24-28 — Call of discipleship
Matthew 19:16-30 — Call of Rich Young Man
Matthew 26:36-46 — Agony in the Garden
Mark 4:35-41 — Calming of the Storm
Luke 1:26-56 — Call of Mary
Luke 5:1-11 — Call of the first disciples
Luke 5:27-32 — Call of Levi
Luke 9:57-62 — Call of discipleship
Luke 22:1-38 — The Last Supper
John 1:35-51 — Call of first disciples
John 15:9-17 — Call to fruitfulness
Acts 9 — Call of Saul
1 Cor 1:26-31 — Choice of God
1 Cor 12:4-11 — Spiritual gifts
Phil 3:10-14 — Focus on Christ

For more assistance on praying with Scripture, Contact Us in the Office of Vocations.