Lectio Divina is a way of reading that engages the heart, mind, soul, and strength in the reading process and not just the mind alone. It’s intentionally listening as much as you’re reading. It’s as much silence as there are words, in a way. You know, kind of like talking with a friend.
It starts with slowing down – like you might when you sit down with a friend for a chat. Neither one of you is anxious about your coming-chat. You’re just chill.
Slow down… In the process of slowing down, if you’re not the slow-down type, ask God to help you out with that, to slow you down. He’s right there with you, isn’t He? I’m sure he’ll lend a hand sometimes.
Read. (“Lectio” in Latin). Read the Word. Read Scripture. Our ancient friends encourage not reading too many verses at a time. This way you can really listen to something, really hear the Story, the Voice of God and not be overwhelmed with a hundred thoughts, questions, etc. (though that might happen anyway). On average, I’ve seen readings last about three or four paragraphs or as much as a chapter.
Think. (“Meditatio” in Latin). Think a bit. Let your mind wander in the story. Really – let your imagination get involved. Imagine what the scene and smells are like in the Story. What do you see? What to the faces of the people in the story look like? Why in the world do you think that’s the case?
Next: Prayer. (“Oratio” in Latin). Talk with God. What did you hear and see in the Scriptures you read? Why did those things in the Story catch your attention. I bet God would like to hear your thoughts on that.
Live. (“Contemplatio” in Latin). Simple living, really. The “contemplative” life is a life lived in simple awareness, keeping company with God in the very ordinary rhythms of life. Let the Story, the Bible, affect your life. What, throughout your day, will God guide you towards or away from? What does the section of verses you just read say about that? What’s God guiding you toward?
Why Lectio Divina?
Lectio Divina is a relational way of reading the Bible. It’s about the relationship God is working within us and for us in Jesus. It’s all about knowing Someone and not just knowing about Someone. That takes dialog, back and forth-ness. And while that might not be audible, God works within his Word to build faith within us – not a faith just in someone or on something, but a faith-lifestyle with someone. Faith, at its core, is about walking with God, not just for God or about God — with God. With Jesus.