Prayer for me as the reader of scripture … research

God, help me know this scripture
not as a performance poem,
but really know it.
Send me to a map and
let me seek a deep context —
customs of the times,
expectations for faith,
political setting, fears and hopes.

Root this scripture in me,
and let that knowledge
fill my voice and my heart,
but lead me not into the temptation
to craft an introduction
that may duplicate half the sermon
or suggest one interpretation,
of so many possible,
that counters the preacher’s words.

In me and through me,
but with control —
may this text speak a living word.

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