Lectio Divina


I revere your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.  Psalm 119:48

The early Methodists believed that one "means" of encountering God's saving and renewing grace was "searching the Scriptures" which John Wesley defined as "reading, hearing, and meditating thereon" (Sermon XII, "The Means of Grace").

If we want to hear the "still small voice" of God, as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:12), we must learn to be silent.  This listening is the goal of meditative Bible reading.

Lectio Divina (Latin for "divine reading") is an ancient way of prayerfully reading and meditating upon the Scripture.   Rooted in the Spiritual practices of the ancient Israelites and further developed in the Early Church, Lectio Divina has taken many forms over the centuries, but has come to be most often characterized by the following process:
Before beginning, still your heart and body; use a brief prayer of preparation such as the Jesus Prayer.

1. Lectio (Read) - read a passage of Scripture (not too long), slowly, reverently, listening for God's voice.

2. Meditatio (Reflect) - What word or phrase "catches your attention"? What "strikes a chord" with your spirit, your concerns, your memories? Focus upon that word or phrase, re-reading or reciting it, writing it on your heart. How does this word speak to your life?

3. Oratio (Respond in Prayer) - Speak your thoughts and feelings to God, still listening for his voice; offer to him in prayer your whole self, including any brokeness within that needs to receive the healing word he is speaking.

4. Contemplatio (Rest in God) - Silently rest in the awareness of the enveloping Presence, the embrace of the Living Holy and Triune God who has come to meet you through his Word. Enjoy the experience of being in the awesome Divine Presence.

Though I love using the Latin names, I've often found it difficult to remember the 4 "steps" in the correct order.  Using the English terms "Read/Reflect/Respond/Rest" has made it somewhat easier for me, so maybe that will be of help to you as well.

For more info, including a process for group Lectio Divina, click here.
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