About Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual practice from the Christian monastic tradition. Its title derives from the Latin words meaning reading and divine/holy. In Lectio Divina, we seek to experience the presence of God through reading and listening, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Lectio Divina can be practiced both by individuals and in groups.
Practicing Lectio Divina Individually
Begin by choosing a section of Scripture that you would like to read and pray. You can choose the text randomly or use a liturgical book, such as The Book of Common Prayer. Try not to set a goal for how much content you will cover; the goal is to listen for God and to experience his presence.
Do what you must to quiet and prepare yourself to hear from God. If you need to find a quiet room, sit in silence for several minutes, or sit in a comfortable chair, take whatever posture will help you prepare to receive and experience God’s presence.
When you sense that your heart is prepared, begin by slowly reading the passage of Scripture that you have selected. Move slowly through sentences and phrases. As you read, pay attention to what word, phrase, or idea catches your attention.
Next, begin to meditate on the word, phrase, or idea that has captured your attention. Repeat it again and again. Consider: What thoughts come to mind as you meditate on this word, phrase, or idea? What are you reminded of in your life? What does it make you hope for? Meditation is no easy task—as you try to concentrate don’t be disappointed if random thoughts enter your head. As they do, offer them to God.
Now begin to speak to God. Tell God what word, phrase, or idea captured your attention and what came to mind as you meditated upon it. How is God using this word, phrase, or idea to bless and transform you? Tell God what you have been thinking and feeling as you’ve listened and meditated. Tell God how you hope this word, phrase, or idea will change your heart to be more like His.
Finish by focusing your attention on the fact that God’s presence is with you. If as you try to focus on God’s presence you sense a need to read the text again, to continue meditating, or to simply continue talking with God, allow yourself to do so. As you do, know that you are in the presence of God.
Practicing Lectio Divina As A Group
Leader and Text
Begin by identifying an individual to lead the process. This person will lead the process by reading the selected text three times. Each reading is followed by a period of silence, after which each person is given the opportunity to briefly share what they are hearing as they listen to God.
During the first reading, read the text aloud twice. Read through slowly. The purpose of the first reading is for each person to hear the text and to listen for a word, phrase, or idea that captures their attention. As group members recognize a word, phrase, or idea, they are to focus their attention on that word, repeating it to themselves silently.
Read the text again. This time, listeners are to focus their attention on how the word, phrase, or idea speaks to their life that day. They should ask: What does it mean for me today? How is Christ, the Word, speaking to me about my life through this word, phrase, or idea? What is Christ, the Word, speaking to me about my life through this word, phrase, or idea? After the reading, allow a brief period of silence and then invite group members to share briefly what they have heard. Or write it down.
Read the text again. This time, listeners are to focus on what God is calling them to do or become. Experiencing God’s presence changes us. It calls us to something—during this final reading, what is God calling you to do or to be as a result of this experience? After the third reading, allow a period of silence, then invite group members to share what they are being called to do or to be. Or write it down. Finish the exercise by having each one pray for the person on his or her right.