“Favored is the one who reads the words of this prophecy out loud, and favored are those who listen to it being read, and keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3 CEB)
It’s not the words “favored” or “prophecy” that capture my attention. Nor is it even the phrase “for the time is near.”
It’s the phrase “out loud.”
Have you ever tried that? Reading Scripture out loud? To yourself?
It helps. Big time.
Reading silently to yourself was not a common thing in the ancient world. You probably didn’t have a copy of Scripture and so, if some word of God came to you it typically came through someone speaking it out loud to you. It was “a holy moment.”
Aside from reading stories with small children, the brief (token?) readings of Scripture in church gatherings, and perhaps a few other occasions, we’re just not accustomed to carving out significant time to sit and listen to something being read to us. That is our loss.
But it need not be. Try this. Today. Perhaps right now. Carve out five minutes of time for you to be completely alone with zero distractions and read aloud to yourself the description of the one speaking to John, the Lord, in Revelation 1:12-18.
Read it out loud completely through one time to yourself. Read it as you would normally read something. It will take you about sixty seconds or less.
Then read it through a second time, out loud, this time quite deliberately, giving your mind time to ponder the meaning of each word. Put yourself there in the scene. Imagine yourself as John, the one who wrote these words and experienced this experience. Experience these words yourself.
Now read the passage one last time, aloud, this time speaking the words with emphasis, as if you were doing an oral interpretation and addressing a crowd. Vary the speed and volume along with placing emphasis on various words and using pause for effect.
Do all three of these readings back-to-back, aloud, with your mind fully focused on what is being said. Pause a moment, letting what you’ve just read – heard – settle into your mind and shape your spirit.
And now, only now, are you ready to pray.
Lord Jesus, you are purity and power. You are all of my hope and help. You are the one who delves into my heart and you are the only one fit to direct my ways. So be it.