Lectio Divina or Divine Reading is a tried and true approach to meditating on passages from the Bible. It is the taking of God’s Word deep into our hearts and lives. It’s a special gift of grace given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Lectio Divina can be done individually or in groups.
Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and His mission in Matthew 4:17. He then showed us how to live in the Kingdom Now!
Primarily Jesus embodied and taught from the Old Testament Scriptures, especially the Psalms, from years of meditating on them – probably in the fashion and spirit of what is now called “Lectio Divina.”
We have no doubt that Jesus not only studied the Scriptures, but that he also engaged personally and deeply with them. We know from the Gospels that Jesus memorized Scripture and this led him into meditation, prayer, and soul talk with others. And we see in the Word his times of solitude and reading the Scriptures in a quiet, contemplative, and personally reflective way to hear and communicate with the Father.
From Jesus’ profound way of praying through the Scriptures came astounding wisdom, compassion, and power. Wisdom, compassion and power the Apostles demonstrated in the way they followed the Master’s example by studying and prayerfully absorbing the Old Testament Scriptures and the Gospels. Many believers engage the Bible only with their minds interpreting what they read and learning what they should believe. But what about our heart and the choices it causes us to make driven by our thoughts and feelings? The Word of God needs to work it’s way into all the parts of our human system so that we are formed more and more into the image of Christ. For a detailed description of how God’s Word needs to penetrate our whole being check out Renovation of The Heart by Dallas Willard.
Paul wrote “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). For Scripture to interact deeply with our mind, heart, soul, and body requires that we read it reflectively, prayerfully, and in conversation with others. One way to let God’s Word dwell deeply in us to use “Lectio Divina,”
So how do we engage in the spiritual exercise of Lectio Divina? In Lectio Divina we read and re-read a Scripture passage slowly and prayerfully as a means of furthering our intimacy with Jesus and submitting to his kingdom rule in our lives. We approach the living Word of God ready to hear the Lord speak to us, anticipating that the historical and inspired text will be freshly applied by the Holy Spirit to our lives today.
Lectio Divina Shared in Community
- Listening for the Gentle Touch of Christ the Word.
- One person reads aloud (twice) the passage of scripture, as others are attentive to some segment that is especially meaningful to them.
- Silence for at least 5 min. minutes. Each hears and silently repeats a word or phrase that attracts.
- Sharing aloud: [A word or phrase that has attracted each person]. A simple statement of one or a few words. No elaboration.
- How Christ the Word speaks to ME .
- Second reading the same passage by another person.
- Silence for at least 5 minutes. Reflect on “Where does the content of this reading touch my life today?”
- Sharing aloud: Briefly: “I hear, I see…”
- What Christ the Word Invites me to DO.
- Third reading by still another person.
- Silence for at least 5 minutes. Reflect on “I believe that God wants me to . . . . . . today/this week”.
- Sharing aloud: at somewhat greater length the results of each one’s reflection. [Be especially aware of what is shared by the person to your right.]
- After full sharing, pray for the person to your right.
Now of course if you are doing this exercise individually there would be only at time of pray with yourself.
Be aware that you will fall back into translating the meaning of the scripture without submitting to God. Lectio Divina cultivates an attitude of humility and submission to God. You get out of the way and you open yourself to be spoken to and transformed by God. You will find that he brings his life and direction to your life through Word and Spirit.. The disciplined way of reading slowly and prayerfully helps you to listen to the Lord.
Practicing Lectio Divina over time gives us the bonus of cultivating an attitude of submission before the Lord which is the key to every aspect of taking on the character of Christ and the Fruit of the Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23.
If you have more questions or thoughts please contact our Lectio Divina facilitator: firstname.lastname@example.org
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