A wide variety of scripture is shared in this talk by Jason Angelette with practical advice on how to use scripture in your daily life to face difficult challenges.
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Printable Study Guide PDF
Printable Transcript PDF
Reflective Study Guide Questions
“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”St. Jerome
- Jason suggests that we find five passages from the bible to read when facing difficulties in life just like David took 5 stones from the river to defeat Goliath. Consider the giants in your life — suffering, sorrow, difficulty of any kind and research five bible passages that relate to your circumstance.
- Now, take some time to commit those bible verses to memory so that when you are feeling defeated you can call on the Lord through the sacred Scriptures and be strengthened by the word of God.
- When reflecting on scripture, try inserting your name into the verses so that when you read it, it feels more personal. As if God is calling your name directly.
- Finally, pray the Our Father. Jason explains that the Our Father is the summary of what hope leads us to desire. It is the prayer that Jesus instructed us to pray, so pray it often.
- In what ways does Jason’s talk encourage you to approach God with faith and expectancy for healing?
Text: A Relationship with Jesus through Prayer and Scripture
A Way to Find Nourishment and Strength
In our fourth and final session I want to touch on the importance of growing in our relationship with Jesus through prayer in sacred scripture. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, in sacred scripture the church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength for she welcomes it not as a human word but as what it really is, the word of God. In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children and talks with them.
The sacred scriptures are so important for us in finding nourishment and strength for the journey for the challenges and the difficulties that we encounter and in fostering our relationship with the Lord. As Saint Jerome wrote, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.” In the letter to the Hebrews chapter four we read, “The word of God is living and effective sharper than any two-edged sword penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”
A Powerful Weapon
The word of God can be a powerful weapon that we must take with us on the journey and into battle. One practical way this was taught to me was by a man named Dan Spencer. I was at a Catholic men’s conference in New Orleans years ago and he was one of the keynote speakers. He was talking about the battle for purity, and he compared this battle to David going up against Goliath. He said, David goes into the river and pulls out five smooth stones and uses them to take down the giant. Dan told us that if we are to go up against the giant of impurity, we should reach into the living word of God and pull out five passages that speaks to that challenge that we’re facing and let the word of God help us win the victory.
But this can also apply to helping in overcoming many other challenges and temptations that we face. In fact, this is the battle strategy that our Lord used in His temptation in the desert with Satan. When our Lord was being tempted for 40 days and when He was famished, Satan said “If you are the son of God command this stone to become loaves of bread.” Jesus responds to the temptation. He goes right to sacred scripture and says, “It is written one does not live by bread alone.”
Satan then tempts Him a second time by bringing Him to a place where He could see all the kingdoms and told Him all this will be yours if you worship me. Satan is tempting the Lord by giving Him the victory that He would win on the cross, but without having to suffer and die on the cross. Jesus turns to the sacred writings and again quotes from Deuteronomy it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him alone shall you serve.”
The third temptation, Satan tries to use sacred scripture to make Him fall and in this case, by actually making Jesus jump, by taking Him to the parapet of the temple and Satan said to Him, “If you are the son of God throw yourself down from here, for it is written He will command his angels concerning you to guard you and with your hands they will support you, least your dash your foot against the stone.” Jesus, three for three uses sacred scripture again from the book of Deuteronomy, to remain steadfast and victorious in the face of trials and temptations.
Why is this important to highlight when it comes to praying with the scriptures? I think it’s pretty obvious but one more point to bring it home. The catechism of the Catholic church in answering the question why did the word become flesh? It says, number one to save us by reconciling us with the Father. Two, so that we might know God’s love. Three, to make us partakers of the divine nature but also four, to be our model of holiness.
Learning From Jesus
Our Lord says in Matthew chapter 11, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” Jesus is showing us that in our moments of temptation in our moments of trial, in our battles that we face we can, as He did, turn to the sacred scriptures and allow the words that have come forth from the mouth of God to guide us, strengthen us and help us win the battles we face. In this series, we talked about the importance of trusting God, nourishing hope, even when all seems hopeless. Finding peace even in the midst of storms. I think the same battle strategy that our Lord used in His temptations can be helpful here as well.
When we are facing our giants, let us go to the sacred writings and pull out five passages to help us nourish and strengthen us. For example, if we’re struggling with trust in God here are five of many passages that speak on trust. From the Psalms chapter 56 verses four and five it says, “When I’m afraid in you, I place my trust. I praise the word of God, I trust in God. I do not fear.” Again from the Psalms chapter 13 verse 6, “But I trust in your mercy, grant my heart joy in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has dealt bountifully with me”.
From the book of Proverbs chapter three verses five and six, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart on your own intelligence do not rely. In all your ways be mindful of Him and He will make straight your paths.” From the book of Jeremiah chapter 17 verses seven and eight, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The Lord will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green, in the year of drought it shows no distress but still produces fruit.” And from the first letter of St. John chapter four, verse 16, “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”
Commit To Your Favorite Passages
Once you have your five passages commit to memory those sacred words and allow them to penetrate deeply into your heart. If you’re struggling with finding peace, comfort, and healing, look at again Elise’s favorite verse that she committed to her memory. Philippians chapter four, verses six and seven, “Have no anxiety at all but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving make your request known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Or the verse that my daughter Bella reminded me so powerfully from Matthew’s gospel chapter 11 verse 28, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Also Galatians chapter five, verse 22 and 23, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Pray with this passage for the fruit of the spirit to be found in us. From the Psalms chapter 29 verse 11, “May the Lord give might to His people, may the Lord bless His people with peace.” And from John’s Gospel, chapter 14 verse 27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” I heard it before to put your name in the passage to help you know that these words were also spoken for you and to you.
Hope that Leads to Desire
So, it would go like this, Jason, peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you not as the world gives, do I give it to you Jason. Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. If you’re struggling with finding hope in what seems to be a hopeless situation. The catechism of the Catholic church tells us that our Father, the our Father, is the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire. That will be a great prayer to pray. We read in Matthew’s gospel chapter six verses nine through 13, this is our Lord saying to his disciples this is how you are to pray. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.
Some Scriptures to Take Inspiration From
Or turn to Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11, “For I know the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” Or from Psalms chapter 62 verse six, “My soul be it rest in God alone from whom comes my hope. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not fall.”
Turning back to the New Testament we have St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians chapter one verses 18 and 19, “May the eyes of your heart be enlightened that you may know what is the hope that belongs to His call. What are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones and what is the surpassing greatness of His power for us who believe in accord with the exercise of His great might.”
And another one from St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 15, verse 13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Or if you’re feeling like you were alone or abandoned by God then turn to the passages that speaks to the truth of God’s constant presence with us, that we are never alone. The book that our Lord went to each time in His temptation was from the book of Deuteronomy. This time, let’s go to chapter 31, verse six “Be strong and steadfast. Have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who marches with you. He will never fail you or forsake you.” Going to the Book of Psalms chapter 23, verses one through six, the famous the Lord is my shepherd, “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack. In green pastures He makes me lie down. To still waters He leads me. He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of His name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me. You set a table before me in front of my enemies, you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life. I will dwell in the house of the Lord for endless days.”
In the book of Isaiah chapter 49, verse 15, “Can a mother forget her infant? Be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” At the end of Matthew’s gospel, chapter 28, verse 20 our Lord says, “And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age.” And the night before He suffered and died for us, He said in John’s Gospel, chapter 14, verse 18, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.”
If we are struggling in our faith with God if we want to believe but are having a hard time believing then we can turn to God in prayer and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can ask like the Father with a son in need of help, I do believe, but help my unbelief. The Lord came not to condemn, but to save. He has not left us orphan and He has not left us to carry our cross alone. He will either remove the mountains that lie before us or He will give us the strength to walk over them. I pray that this series was helpful to you and I pray that the Lord bless you abundantly and fill you with this Holy Spirit. Amen.
About Jason Angelette
Jason Angelette received his Masters in Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. Since 2007 Jason has been working as the Director of the Faith and Marriage Apostolate of the Willwoods Community which is dedicated to promoting the Sacramentality of marriage and providing for married couples opportunities for growth, enrichment, and support.
Jason is the author of a marriage enrichment program called, United in Love United in Christ. His ministry experience includes high school campus ministry, teaching theology at the high school and college level, working on and speaking at various retreats and events nationwide, Catholic podcasting, as well as co-host for a television program on WLAE entitled “Faith and Marriage Today”.
He is the father of five children. In August of 2020 his beloved (late) wife Elise received her heavenly reward after a six-year battle with breast cancer.