Lectio Divina: “Divine Reading”

Lectio Divina: “Divine Reading”

Lectio Divina, or “Divine Reading,” involves meditative listening to the reading, out loud and slowly, of a short passage or a few isolated verses of Scripture. It can be down on your own or with a group. Those who listen are encouraged to set aside analysis, and what they “know” already about the passage, seeking instead to open themselves to God’s word, listen with their hearts, and receive it expectantly and passively. They then attend to what they receive from God. God’s word is received personally, as an individualized gift to each person.

Lectio Divina, on your own

  • Choose a short Scripture passage for your meditation, and it is to be read out loud slowly. Quiet yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to guard and guide your meditation.
  • First reading. One-minute silent reflection before God. Take notice of whatever captures your attention in the passage or in your inner experience.
  • Second reading. One-minute silent reflection. Listen for a single word or phrase that particularly strikes you.
  • Third reading. Three to five minutes of silent reflection. Listen to how the passage seems to touch your life experience.
  • Fourth reading. Three to five minutes of silent reflection. What do you feel the passage might be inviting you to do? What is God inviting you to be? How is God inviting you to change? Spend some time in prayer over what you received from God’s word, and give thanks for his gift to you.

Lectio Divina, with a group

  • Begin. One participant opens with a brief, spoken prayer.
  • Read. Another participant reads the passage aloud, slowly.
  • Reflect. 
After one minute of silence each participant writes down an answer to the question, “What word/phrase caught my attention?”
  • Share. 
Each participant shares his/her word or phrase without comment.
  • Read.
 Another participant reads the same passage aloud from a different translation.
  • Reflect. 
After three to five minutes of silence, each participant writes down an answer to the question, “Where does this passage touch my life experience?”
  • Share.
 Each participant shares his/her answer in turn, without comment.
  • Read.
 A third participant reads the passage aloud from yet another translation.
  • Reflect.
 For three to five minutes participants write an answer to the question, “From what I have heard and shared, what is God inviting me to be? How is he inviting me to change?”
  • Share. 
Each participant shares, beginning, “I believe God wants me to …”
  • Pray.
 Each participant then prays aloud for the person on his/her right, praying only for what that person expressed in the prior step. (Option: each person continues to pray for that person throughout the day or evening.)

Notes for group Lectio Divina

  • Leader preparation: Select a short passage of Scripture. Having three translations available will add richness, but this is optional. Allow approximately 25 minutes for a group of five, longer with more participants. A digital timer or stopwatch is helpful.
  • Group preparation: None, except access to pen and paper.

Source: Material adapted from Sacred Companions by David Benner, 2002 by John Smed, Grace Vancouver. Materials used with permission, Redeemer Prayer Conference, June 2006.

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