Community of Christ

Prayer of Repetition and Reduction

Spiritual Practice - Prayer of Repetition and Reduction

The Prayer of Repetition and Reduction is another form of praying with scripture. It uses a brief passage of scripture, which is repeated in a gradually reduced form until only one word remains. Optionally the repetition can be continued, rebuilding the phrase to its original form. 

The Practice

Select one person to be the reader. 

Invite the group members to assume a relaxed posture that will allow them to focus on the words that will be spoken.

When the group is prepared, the phrase is read. Allow the group to rest in the words for two to three breaths before reading the next shorter phrase. 

Repeat the reading and resting until the desired cycle has been completed. 

Pronounce an “Amen” to signal to the group that the prayer is at an end. 

Give the group an opportunity to share about this experience of prayer. 

Encourage the group to continue this reflective way of praying with scripture in their personal quiet time. As part of their scripture “study” time, they may want to intentionally look for additional texts that lend themselves to this type of prayer. 

Note to Facilitator

Select the scripture passage to be used. Note that not all scripture lends itself to this type of use.  Two examples are given below. 

Psalm 46:10 NRSV 

Be still, and know that I am God! 
Be still, and know that I am. 
Be still, and know. 
Be still. 
Be. 
Be still. 
Be still, and know. 
Be still, and know that I am. 
Be still, and know that I am God! 
(Optionally continue the repetition rebuilding the phrase, as in the previous example)

Deuteronomy 6:5 NRSV 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul. 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 
Love the Lord your God. 
Love the Lord. 
Love. 

(Optionally continue the repetition rebuilding the phrase, as in the previous example)

Scriptures for Reflection

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. —Deuteronomy 6:5–7 NRSV 

No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.—Deuteronomy 30:14 NRSV 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.—Psalm 119:105 NRSV