Lectio Divina (Latin for “divine reading”, pronounced lex-ee-oh di-vee-nuh) is a form of contemplative Bible reading that has been used for over 1500 years in the church. It is a way of being with Scripture that fosters spiritual conversation with God, by allowing God to initiate with us and also creating space for our own response to Him. Above all, Lectio Divina is rooted in the conviction that the Scriptures are alive in the power of the Holy Spirit who seeks to spiritually transform us (Heb 4:12).
When you practice Lectio on your own, begin by choosing a Bible passage of about 6-8 verses. It can be a part of a normal reading plan or a passage you select for the day.
1 // Preparation (Silencio)
In silence, close your eyes and let your body relax, allow yourself to become aware of God’s presence. Express your willingness to hear from God in these moments by using a brief prayer such as “Come, Holy Spirit,” or “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
2// Read (Lectio)
Begin to read the passage slowly, pausing between phrases and sentences. You may read silently, or you might find it helpful to read the passage out loud. As you read, listen for the word or phrase that strikes you or catches your attention. Give your attention to that word or phrase; this is the word that is meant for you. Be content to just receive it simply and openly without judging or analyzing.
3 // Reflect (Meditatio)
Once you have heard that word or phrase, read the passage again and listen for the way it connects with your life. Ask, What is it in my life right now that needs to hear this word? Why might the Spirit be giving me this particular word today? Allow for silence, give space for your thoughts and reflections. You might want to write some of your thoughts down in a journal.
4 // Respond (Oratio)
Read the passage one more time, listening for your response. What is my response to God based on what I have read and what He has given me? Share with God what feelings the text has provoked, whether it is love, joy, sorrow, anger, repentance, conviction. Pour out your heart in honesty to God as the text has touched on something in your life. Again, you might find it helpful to write your prayers in a journal. Or, you might move through theA-C-T-S prayer method. Is there something to adore, confess, thank or ask for?
5 // Rest (Contemplatio)
Rest in the Word of God. Read the text one more time. You have given your response to God, now just wait and rest in God’s presence. Let Him do what He wants to do.