“Picture this.” Can you imagine yourself in a Bible story?
There’s an ancient spiritual practice called “Gospel Contemplation”, in which we pray, asking the Lord to sanctify our imagination, and read a story from one of the Gospels several times, each time paying more attention to the details in the story. We use all five of our senses to place ourselves in the story. It can be a way that the Lord speaks to us through his Word.
For example, consider the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10.46-52 (NLT):
46 Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”
So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!”50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”
52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.
Read this several times over, paying more attention to the details each time. Toward the end, ask the Lord, “Who am I in this story?” And ask, “What do you want me to learn from my role in this story?”
It’s possible that the Lord Jesus might be asking you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Sit with that question in the presence of the Lord. Seek the boldness to ask it.
There’s nothing formulaic about this; we can’t command God’s presence. But we can seek to broaden our experience of his Spirit in our lives as we read his Word. Why not try using your holy, sanctified, God-given imagination as you do?