Ways to Pray | Lectio Divina
This week in our blog series on prayer, we will look at lectio divina, an ancient form of prayer whose name translates literally to “divine reading.” In lectio divina, we pray with scripture and come to know God through what is truly his living Word.
You can practice lectio divina with any scripture, but it is recommended that you pray with a short passage. Many people suggest starting with the Gospels. The goal with this prayer is not to get through a large chunk of the Bible, but to listen intently to what God is speaking to you through the passage you have chosen. An important prerequisite for this is an atmosphere of silence in which you can invite contemplation. Though you may pray lectio divina individually or with a group, you should always make room for silence.
The steps of praying lectio divina are not rigid or even necessarily sequential, but they are usually practiced as follows:
- Lectio (Reading)
Choose a passage from the Bible and read it slowly, allowing the words to take root and sit comfortably in your mind. Determine what the words on the page are telling you literally. Then, read the passage once or twice more.
- Meditatio (Meditation)
Reflect on the passage you have just read. If you’d like, you can read through the passage again. Pay attention to any words or phrases that stick out to you and ponder them.
- Contemplatio (Contemplation)
In this step, try to quiet your mind and let God speak to your heart. What is he trying to tell you through his Word and through the particular words or phrases that are standing out to you? Listen to the whisper of God’s voice and pay attention to where he is leading you.
- Oratio (Prayer)
Respond to the Lord in prayer based on what you have just experienced. As you pray, resolve to let this prayer have tangible effects in your everyday life.
Try praying lectio divina with one of your favorite scriptures. You may be surprised by what God reveals to you even in a very familiar passage!