The Art of Lectio Divina


"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." - Psalm 119:105
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." - Joshua 1:8

If you’re looking for a fresh message from God’s Word, you may discover it through an old practice, lectio divina, which means sacred reading. This ancient way of approaching Scripture can be a powerful way for you to tap into what God wants to tell you today.

Here’s how you can use the ancient practice of lectio divina to discover new messages from God:

* Expect the Bible to change your life. Recognize that the Bible doesn't just inform and entertain; it also has the power to transform you. Know that the Bible is unique among books because its words are living and active. Expect God to use the Bible to change your life in exciting ways.

* Understand that the same passage of Scripture has many layers of meaning. Realize that there’s always more you can learn from a single passage of Scripture. Scripture has literal, spiritual, allegorical, and moral meanings that can speak to you personally as the Holy Spirit guides you while you read..

* Recognize the importance of listening. Understand the key to hearing from God is truly listening. This means we must learn to be truly quiet. Practice eliminating distractions and unnecessary noise from your life. Expect God to speak to you if you make time to pay attention to His still small voice.

* Read (“lectio”). Set aside time dedicated to lectio divina: 10 minutes for reading, 5 minutes for meditation, 10 minutes for prayer, and 5 minutes for contemplation. Schedule it for the time of day or night that works best for you. Designate a quiet place to use. Choose a just a few verses of Scripture to use for devotional reading; remember that you want a small taste of Scripture to savor for an extended period of time. Experiment with passages from different parts of the Bible, and ones that are both familiar and unfamiliar to you. If you’re having trouble choosing passages, consider using a lectionary (a list of Scripture passages that follows the church calendar), and using the assigned reading for the current date. Read your chosen passage slowly, over and over, to let it sink in. Read both silently and out loud. Focus only on the words themselves, without trying to figure out what they mean. Simply absorb the passage. If your mind wanders, just gently return to your reading and continue. Relax and receive the passage as a gift from God to you.

* Meditate (“meditatio”). Keep the Scripture passage at the front of your mind and ponder it. Consider which word or phrase stands out above the others to you. Once a certain word or phrase rises to the top of your thoughts, focus just on that word and let the rest of the passage fall away. Then ask yourself what the word or phrase is causing you to feel and think. Consider what you see when you shine a light on the word or phrase in your mind’s eye. Don’t rush the meditation process; stick with it for the full amount of allotted time rather than hurrying into prayer. Give God time to say all He wants to say to your heart through the word or phrase.

* Pray (“oratio”). Ask God why He gave you the particular word or phrase you focused on today, and why you felt or thought what you did when you meditated on it. Invite God to show you what He wants you to do with what He has given you during this devotional time. Be persistent as you pray, seeking to know how you should apply this experience to your life. Listen carefully and patiently for God’s response, trusting that He will reward your faithfulness with answers.

* Contemplate (“contemplatio”). Rest in the love God gave you to experience during this devotional time. Thank God for the gift of the fresh message He has just given you through His Word. Write down your thoughts about this experience in a journal.

* Make it a habit. Don’t worry if you get distracted in the middle of lectio divina, or if you can’t get to it every day as hoped. Just do your best to practice it as well as you can, whenever you can. Make it a regular part of your schedule. Look forward with eagerness to the new messages God will give you, in the future, through His Word.

Thank You Lord for this Word. Mold me by it. Use me for Your glory. I love You. Amen.
Nov 9 2018