Lectio Divina

OVERVIEW. Lectio Divina is latin for divine reading. It is a practice of praying through scripture by slowing down, savoring the word, and allowing God to speak personally to us through it. It is not a study or discussion of the Bible, but it is focused on listening--on quieting ourselves to allow God to speak afresh. In Lectio Divina, the Bible is a meeting place to encounter the Living God; it is about formation, not instruction. We do this by reading a passage multiple times while prayerfully sitting in a question during each reading.

PRACTICE. Begin by finding a comfortable sitting position and take a few deep breaths to slow yourself down and become present. Take a moment to pray and ask God to speak through the passage you're about to read.

You can really use any section of scripture. As you begin implementing this practice in your time with God, the Psalms or Gospels might be a great place to start. For this beginning practice, let's use Matthew 5:25-34.

We’ll read the passage three times with a specific focus each time we read. As we read the passage, we’ll patiently wait for the Lord to speak to us through it.

First, we’ll listen. As you read the first time, listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you or that the Holy Spirit is impressing on you. Meditate on that word or phrase by repeating it to yourself, writing it down, or underlining it in your Bible.

Read the passage a second time, and give yourself space to ponder. Carefully ponder the word or phrase revealed to you. How do you feel about it? How does it specifically relate or connect to your life right now? Is this a single prayer or sentence that is coming out of how God is speaking through this word or phrase?

Read the passage again. Finally, pray. Pray into the Lord’s personal invitation from this passage. What is He inviting you to know, to become, or to do? In the silence, you can either ask for God’s grace to step into His invitation for you or simply sit in His presence and revealed truth. You may want to write down the invitation from the Lord.

FURTHER PRACTICE. You can use this practice on many passages in the Bible. To get started, consider using these passages: 1 John 3:1-3, John 17:20-26, Ephesians 1:3-10, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Colossians 1:15-20, Psalm 23, Matthew 11:28-30, and Psalm 73:23-26.

Lectio Divina is simply reading one passage three times, taking time between each reading to connect with Jesus' invitation for you. Below are the three questions as guided above:
  1. What is one word or phrase the Holy Spirit impressed on you? In silence, meditate on that. (Listen)
  2. What do you feel? What specific situation in your life today relates? Write down a prayer or pray quietly. (Ponder)
  3. What is the Lord's personal invitation to you from the Scripture? You can write down what your Good Shepherd may be saying to you or a prayer of thanks. Or simply rest quietly in the Spirit's presence.  (Pray)
We practiced Lectio Divina as part of our Hearing God series. To learn more, feel free to check out that sermon!