Book Review: Learning to Pray in Scripture by Stephen Binz

One of the most effective ways to grow in the spiritual life is by praying with the Word of God.  The ancient practice of Lectio Divina (prayerfully meditating on the Scriptures) holds a privileged place in the Church’s spiritual tradition.  In 2005 Pope Benedict said that “Assiduous reading of sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer makes that intimate dialogue possible in which, through reading, one hears God speaking, and through prayer, one responds with a confident opening of the heart.”  The Pope went on to say that, “If [Lectio Divina] is promoted with efficacy, I am convinced that it will produce a new spiritual springtime in the Church.”

Needless to say, we ought to take Pope Benedict’s words seriously and pray with the Scriptures.  It’s particularly advantageous when we are given a guide to help us in this spiritual discipline.  That’s why I am grateful to Stephen Binz for writing Learning to Pray in Scripture, a new volume in his Lectio Divina Bible Study series.

Binz writes in an easy to understand style that leads us deeper into contemplating the Word of God.  He not only helps us to understand the historical context of some of the Old and New Testament narratives, but he invites us to prayerfully consider how the Scriptures speak to us in our daily lives.

I believe you’ll find Stephen Binz’s book useful for your own prayer.  His book is both educational and spiritual.  He takes us on a  journey through the many ways that prayer is found in Scripture: Prayer in the lives of Israel’s heroes; prayer in the Prophets of Israel; prayer in the psalms and stories of Israel; prayer in the life of Jesus; and prayer in the Apostolic Church.
He presents 30 lessons, and in each of them he teaches and invites us to: 1) Listen to the Biblical narrative, 2) Understand the narrative, 3) Reflect on the narrative, 4) Pray with the narrative, and 5) Act on what the narrative teaches us.  Included are points for individual reflection as well as group discussion questions.

Stephen Binz is an articulate and prayerful guide.  If you desire to pray more deeply with the Scriptures through Lectio Divina, then I highly recommend his book.  You can find it on


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