In a Rut?
Have you fallen into a rut in your Bible reading? Maybe you are in a habit of reading through the Bible every year and your reading time has just become a ritual of rushing through the passage. (What would God think of me if I didn't read my 5 chapters today?) Or maybe you have tried one of those Bible reading plans and fallen behind and now you are feeling guilty. Maybe you have never developed a good habit of Bible reading because you just don't know what to do. Or possibly you're the Bible study type and you keep gathering more and more knowledge, but it isn't really bringing you any closer to God on a personal level.
Lectio Divina is an ancient reading practice designed to slow us down and help us hear from God on a personal level. The name Lectio Divina means "sacred reading" and is not focused on the amount of text you read (shorter is better) or a deep analysis of the text. It is focused primarily on listening to the Holy Spirit.
During the middle ages it developed into a 4 step process, but, because of our busy lives, some people prefer adding a step at the beginning and end. The initial step helps us move out our our crazy lives and prepare to hear from God, and the final step helps us bring our time with God into our everyday activities.
Silencio - Silence
- Quiet yourself. Commit to listen to God. Set aside your desire for information and open yourself to being changed by God. Be willing to obey, even before you know what God will say to you.
Lectio - Reading
- Select a short text. Read it out loud slowly. Listen for the Holy Spirit's voice. Reread it until a phrase, word or image stands out in your mind.
- What if nothing stands out? Silence is not unusual. Maybe God just wants you to rest in His love, maybe you are a poor receptor of God's message today, or maybe you selected a passage that is not the best for reflection. Whatever the reason, Just relax and skip to the Oratio step and talk to God about His silence, or whatever you want to talk about.
Meditatio - Meditation
- Ponder the word, phrase or image. Repeat it until it settles in your heart. Allow it to interact with your thoughts, feelings, hopes, memories and desires.
Oratio - Prayer
- Talk to God about the word, phrase or image. Why did God give this to you? What does He want you to do with it? Dialogue with God. Or, if nothing stood out in your reading, simply talk to God about whatever is on your mind.
- Allow God to change you.
Contemplatio - Contemplation
- Rest in God's presence. Abandon yourself to God and whatever His will is for you.
Incarnatio - Incarnation
- Apply God's word to your life as soon as possible.
Give Lectio Divina a try today. Slow down and let God speak to you through His word.
This is part of a series of posts on Five Tools for hearing God through the Bible.
- Lectio Divina.
- Luther's Four Stranded Garland.
- Questions Jesus Asked.
- Placing Yourself in the Story.
- Dialoging with God.
Has God used Lectio Divina to touch your life? Please leave a comment.
by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory