Shortly before his ordination to the priesthood, Franciscan Brother Ron Hurl taught about Rhema Blessings at a Day of Reflection I attended. He told us that in Greek, the word rhema means "an utterance." The rhema in Biblical terms refers to a portion of scripture that "speaks" to a believer. In most cases, a rhema word received while reading the Bible applies to a current situation or need.
He cited Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds out of the mouth of God." In John 6:63, Jesus confirmed this when he said, "The words [rhema] that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."
Brother Ron taught us to apply Romans 10:17 by speaking the rhema out loud. “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word (rhematos) of Christ." Our voice confidently speaking the rhema increases our faith because our ears hear the word of Christ. Our heart embraces it and applies it to our life as our mantra for the day.
Brother Ron gave us several steps to apply the rhema to our lives.
- Pray for wisdom and follow the anointing of the Holy Spirit to select a passage to meditate on. Shortcut: Let the scripture choose you as the Holy Spirit highlights it for you. This can happen during your daily prayer time, during mass, when you hear a scripture in a homily, on the radio or spoken or read anywhere. The Holy Spirit is not limited to a single setting or time.
- Read the passage with your heart.
- Ask, “What is the general theme of the passage? What is the essence? What principles do I need to focus on today?”
- “How does this scripture apply to my life today? What is happening in my heart as I read these words?”
- Boldly confess, with your lips so your ears can hear, the truth contained in the word of God. An example of this comes from Matthew 8:8 where the Centurion tells Jesus in faith, “speak but the word and my servant shall be healed.” We repeat this rhema during every mass before we receive the Eucharist, “speak but the word and my soul shall be healed.” That’s the power of the word of God that is released when it is spoken with faith, so keep speaking this truth throughout the day.
Since the Day of Reflection, my prayers include listening to the Holy Spirit for his choice of a special scripture for me. Then I say it out loud several times so my mind will “get it” and my heart will say “yes” to it.
One of the first scriptures that chose me as I listened to the Holy Spirit was Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
Personalizing it, I spoke out loud affirming that, “I was once darkness but now I am light and live as a child of the light!” This was a gift of hope for me all though the day as I spoke it aloud or under my breath. It kept me close to the Lord and helped me listen for his will in whatever I did that day.
In another prayer setting, we were directed to meditate on: “I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts,” from Hebrews 8:10. I realized that I need a way for God to put his laws, his words of guidance into my mind and heart. What better way than to speak the word out loud as a rhema, confidently repeating it so my mind can ponder it and my heart embrace it and integrate it as part of me.
So now I’m actively listening for new scriptures to “choose me” from mass, an inspirational book or the many spiritual messages that float into my life from the airways, social media, emails and text messages. Holy Spirit, keep the Rhema Blessings coming!
Are you listening for the word of God to choose you and give you a Rhema Blessing?
(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward)