Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual practice that guides us to prayerfully meditate on scripture.
Lectio Divina simply means “sacred reading”. It is an ancient way of listening to Scripture, a way of meditating on God’s word as we are invited to do throughout scripture, especially in the Psalms. It invites us to engage with a scripture passage in a way that allows us to slow down and connect to God’s word with our heart as well as our head.
Lectio Divina is not study or a replacement of our Bible study, rather it is a companion to our study of God’s word. Lectio divina is a slow, prayerful approach to Scripture. It is a posture of approach that enables the text to become a place of transformation. Meditating on Scripture helps reorganize our thoughts, feelings, and motives so we can grow as God is guiding us to be and to do differently.
In lectio divina we turn to a passage of the Bible – usually no more than a few verses – and read it over and over, very slowly, reflecting on each word and phrase, all the while paying attention to the impact the words have on our hearts. In this way we are ‘praying the Scriptures.’” James Bryan Smith, Good and Beautiful God
Traditionally Lectio Divina is traditionally made up of five different movements – Silence, Listening, Meditation, Response, Contemplation
For a deeper intro to lectio divina, listen to this recording below.
Let’s practice Lectio Divina together:
You can engage by either choosing a passage and following this guide on your own or you can be led through a passage with the recordings we offer below to help us navigate and prayerfully dig into God’s word together.
Silence- Especially in our informational culture, we need to take time at the beginning to engage in a deep internal shift in the posture of our being. We enter into silence as a quiet preparation of the heart.
You are invited to come into God’s presence, slow down, relax, and intentionally release the chaos and noise in your mind to Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in this time of engaging with Scripture.
Also, allow for some silence in between each reading of the scripture.
Listening – This is the first reading of scripture text, It is read slowly and usually out loud. You listen for a general sense, for a word or phrase that stands out to you. Is there a word, phrase, scene, or image from the scripture that stays with you?
Be open to the quiet and don’t feel pressure to come up with answers.
Meditation – Read the scripture a second time. Reflect on the importance of the words that light up for you. Your word or phrase may change or you may hear something in this reading you didn’t notice in the first. Listen for where the word or phrase connects with your life right now. Consider what
God might be wanting to say to you through this passage.
Response – Read the passage a third time. Notice the stirrings and begin a conversation with God. In this part we process the passage as prayer. How might God be inviting you to respond to Him? Is He asking you to notice something about yourself, about others, about God?
Contemplation – During a final reading of the passage, simply rest and wait in the presence of God. Allow His word to sink into your soul.
Note: during the times of silence, especially as you learn this practice, you will likely have other thoughts running through your mind. (your to-do list, tasks that seem more important than sitting with God, your grocery list or plans you have during the rest of your day…) Be patient with yourself, give those thoughts to God, and return to the practice.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to do Lectio Divina, and you don’t have to do all of the movements every time. The big idea is to connect to God’s word beyond our head and intellect and engage at a heart level.
“Lectio, divine or sacred reading, opens us up to a life-transforming encounter with God within the Biblical text. It invites us into a slower and more reflective reading of the Scriptures allowing God to address us directly, according to what He knows we need.” Robert Mulholland, Shaped by the Word