‘Word Working’ your way to a
closer relationship with God
Special form of prayer asks,
‘What am I called to do?
Who am I called to be?’
In 2003, the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City initiated a special form of prayer that is now regularly used as an opening prayer at many church functions.
A form of prayer? Isn’t prayer just ... well, prayer?
There are many forms of prayer. There’s the Rosary; there is song; there is recitation of established prayers; and there is simply chatting with God.
And there is Lectio Divina, known as Word Working in southwest Kansas.
Word Working is a form of prayer that’s designed for groups. It’s for sharing, but more importantly, it’s about listening -- listening to those around you, and listening to God’s voice. It is designed to allow the individual to prayerfully discern God’s will for their lives.
“To be able to discover the actual will of the Lord in our lives always involves a receptive listening to the Word of God,” said Becky Hessman, Coordinator of Vocations. Word Working is a method of scriptural prayer, a distinctive way of engaging God’s Word so as to be shaped by that Word for God’s work both within and beyond the Church. Word Working is a shared way of entering into prayer and engaging the Scriptures in order to be nourished for service in the world.
Word Working, according to Hessman, “is as simple as one, two, three:
1. Look ahead to the next Sunday’s Scripture readings. Using the Sunday Readings allows God’s Word, as it is provided to us through the Liturgy, to lead and guide us, rather our person choosing Scriptures that might fit his or her plans.
2. The Scripture passage is read aloud three times.
After reading the first time, invite to share, a word, a phrase, idea, image or thought. (Notice a word or phrase that strikes you personally. Repeat it a few times to yourself. Each person speaks their word or words aloud when they are invited to share using “mutual invitation”.
Slowly read the Scripture passage a second time. Silently reflect on how the Scripture is speaking to your life, relationships, work, events in society and the world.
Slowly read the Scripture passage aloud a third time. Silently reflect on what God is asking you, to do or change in your life, relationships, work, events in society and the world.
3. Move around the circle offering prayer of thanks and petition. (thank you God…Please God). Conclude by praying the Lord’s Prayer together.
The prayer uses “respectful communication guidelines” to help “ensure an open place in groups and in our hearts for the Word to work,” Hessman said.
Word Working can be prayed by individuals, families, and for the opening prayer at diocesan meetings, parish meetings, with formational sessions for adults and youth, and for small group gatherings.
Word Working resources are available in English and Spanish at www.dcdiocese.org: Simple instructions, instructional videos, and prayer pages for each week of the year.
In preparing for Lent in 2009, Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore wrote of Word Working, “During a dialog, we agree to listen to each other. Remember, prayer is a dialog, not a discussion and definitely not a debate. It is not so much what we say but what we hear in our soul that makes prayer happen.”