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Lectio Divina
November '04

I had the privilege of speaking at Lewis University in November on the topic of Scripture. Frankly, I was a bit nervous about preparing this talk, as I do not have any formal seminary training to make me a scholarly expert. But, as I prayed and reflected, I realized two important things:

  1. that I love Scripture, and

  2. that I had a lot to say about loving Scripture and the joy of studying it!

I had fun sharing some of my story about how I became a “lover of Scripture” and how I continued that journey by learning more and more about studying the Bible.

I really wanted to lead the group in some kind of experience with Scripture, and so I decided to experiment with lectio divina (which is Latin for “sacred reading”), an ancient Scripture-meditation technique practiced by monks, which is now coming back into widespread practice with the growth of spiritual direction and spiritual formation studies.

I was able to piece together some instructions through gleaning some information from a handout my church has been using to encourage lectio divina in our congregation, an article on the PC(USA) website, plus some of my own creative ideas. Below, you’ll find a guide to help you encounter God through Scripture meditation that can be used with a group or by yourself. Enjoy!

Lectio Divina

Prepare yourself for prayer physically.

  • sit comfortably
  • breathe deeply:
    breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe out worries of this world
  • relax body: toes to face
  • acknowledge distractions and release them
  • invite God’s presence

Read your selected passage several times, each time followed by a time of silence lasting 1-2 minutes.

1. For this first reading:

  • Listen for a word or phrase that feels vibrant, connects with you, or attracts you
  • Repeat this word or phrase to yourself

2. Read the passage a second time, and this time:

  • Attend to the phrase or word you connected with at the first reading
  • Bring your senses to the text; imagine what it is like to be there

3. Read the passage a third time, and this time:

  • Listen to discover how this passage touches your life today. What is God saying to you?
  • Explore the connection between the Scripture and your life. No need to try to force a meaning; simply stay open. This is a time of reflection, involving thinking, feeling, and intuition.

4. Read the passage one last time, and this time:

  • Listen to discover the invitation God has for you. What is he inviting you to do or be today or this week? How is God present with you?
  • Be aware of any resistance you may feel. Open your heart and your will to the action that may be called for.

5. Pray to complete the time of silence.

6. Wrap-up:

  • If sharing in a group, share what has spoken to you from the text and what you think might be and what you think this might have to do with the yearning of God in your life. You may want to end the sharing with a time of silence and prayer.

  • If you are alone, spend some time journaling about what you noticed or heard from this meditation on Scripture.

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