Lectio Divina is a contemplative way of reading the Bible that dates back to the early centuries of the Christian Church. It was established as a monastic practice by Benedict in the 6th century as a way of praying the Scriptures that leads us deeper into God’s Word.
Having established a time and place that are both quiet and free from distraction, set aside 3-5 times this week to practice lectio divina.
Any passage of Scripture can be utilized for the practice of lectio divine. Here are a few suggestions with which to start:
A Four-Part Exercise
- Meditating (Reflecting)
- Praying (Responding)
- Contemplating (Resting)
Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken through the text, and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.
Read (lectio): Read the passage slowly and carefully. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention in unique ways. When your focus is drawn to a particular word or thought, pause momentarily to reflect on them.
Reflect (mediatio): Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read again. On your second journey through the text, allow the text to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment. Ask, “What do I need to know, or be, or do in light of the text? What does this mean for my life today?”
Respond (oratio): Talk to God about your experience. If you’re confused, say that. Moved? Express gratitude to God. Upset? Tell him about it. Compelled to worship? Worship. If the text has brought something else to mind, talk to God about that.
Rest (contemplatio): Pause to sit in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words, or you might allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God.