One of the practices we encourage to train people to experience God’s love more deeply is what we call the Synonym/Antonym Meditation Exercise: taking short passages of scripture that speak to your heart, personalizing them (where God speaks directly to you), and then replacing some of the words that are significant to you with synonyms or antonyms. Sometimes the Lord provides additional words or ideas for you to hear, thus expanding your version of the scripture into an “amplified” version. This helps nurture being loved by the Lord, and many who practice this regularly experience a deeper internalization of God’s Word. Creating an atmosphere where the Lord can speak through you and in your own voice often softens the heart to being loved by Him.
Here is a synonym/antonym version from Luke 15:20 and Isaiah 40:11. Take a moment to read it a few times, slowly, even out loud so that you hear the Father speak to your heart directly…
“When you get up and come to me, your heavenly Father, while you are still a long way off and I see you—I am filled with compassion for you. Even now, I run to you, throw my arms around you and kiss you” (Luke 15:20). “Like a shepherd, I gather you in my arms and carry you close to my heart” (Isaiah 40:11).
SYNONYM/ANTONYM (“Amplified”) VERSION
“My child, every morning when you are just about to wake up, I am there ready to greet you and joyously welcome you to a new day with me. I, the Lord your God, your Father in Heaven, with Jesus and Holy Spirit, anxiously await your return from slumber EACH and EVERY day! In fact, there are many times I just can’t wait and as soon as I see you stirring—even if still a long way off—I run to greet you, filled with tenderness toward you. I am not an indifferent God as some would believe. I know every molecule and cell that I created to make you uniquely you! I am the author of your life and I have written my Spirit into your story. My excitement and yearning to be with you, to be actively involved in your life, causes me to race toward you with a spring in my step, bounding over everything just to be with you and welcome you into my presence. Even at this very moment I close the gap between us, wrap my arms around you and hold you tight while I hug and kiss you! I am your protector, your ‘rear guard,’ always watching over you and tending to your needs. I provide all that you require so you will not be in want. I am the Lord, your Good Shepherd, and I hold you close in my arms because you are mine.” – Abba