Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of meditating on Scripture that began nearly 1600 years ago. It is an invitation from God to interact and converse with Him while reading His Word. Lectio gives us an opportunity to slow down, let go of distractions and focus solely on our Heavenly Father. It is an invitation to listen to God as He speaks through His Scriptures directly to us.
I was first introduced to Lectio about 10 years ago and I have found it to be a helpful tool for connecting with my Father, particularly when feeling distracted or disconnected with the Lord and when walking through suffering. Last year, I led a summer study on Lectio using the book, Meeting God in Scripture by Jan Johnson. This book was a helpful guide for all of us in attendance as it offers a step-by-step guide for meditating together on Scripture through pointed questions and reflective prayers.
Personally, I find Lectio helpful when I don’t have the time to sit and study a passage with great detail. I typically read a passage out loud, oftentimes a Psalms, and re-read it in a different translation, paying attention to a word or phrase that captures my attention. Then, I sit quietly before the Lord, meditating and pondering on His character and His promises in the passage. I ask, “Lord, what might you be inviting me to believe about Your promises?” and/or “How does this particular passage speak into my current circumstances and/or experiences?” I often turn the words of the Psalms and my own meditations into prayers back to Him.
And what about distractions? It’s really hard to sit in quiet! Personally, when I get distracted by thoughts of my to-do list or an interruption by a family member, I rest my hands in my lap and turn up my palms as a symbol of my need for His help in refocusing. Sometimes I speak out a familiar phrase from a hymn. Other times I say “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”. I have found that the Spirit is faithful to turn my wandering heart and mind back to meditating on Him.
The beauty of Lectio is that there is not just one way to do it. It’s a beautiful invitation to sit in silence with our Creator and hear from Him. He made us to commune with Him and it’s a privilege that we hold as beloved daughters and sons of our Great King.
In this current quarantine season of inconsistent schedules and ever changing emotions, I encourage you to try out Lectio, using the simple steps below. If this is your first time meditating, it may feel awkward. You will probably get distracted. Start off with 2 minutes of silence and then build up to more. You can even do it together with your roommates, family members or with a few friends over zoom. (I’ve included a link below that offers more detailed instructions for yourself and for use with a group.) Don’t worry about “getting it right” – the purpose of Lectio is to know the Father more intimately by communing with Him through Scripture.
- Silence: Find a quiet spot, relax and choose a passage.
- Read: Slowly read the text aloud. Read again in a different translation.
- Meditate: Focus and meditate on the word or phrase that captures your attention. Repeat it slowly again and again. Reflect on its meaning and how it speaks to your own heart and life. What might God be inviting you to see about His character and His promises?
- Pray: Open your heart to God and pray to Him however you feel is appropriate: joy, longing, sadness, thanksgiving, repentance, worship, etc. How might God be inviting you to grow in Him? Be honest with Him about your thoughts, feelings, desires and frustrations. What might God be revealing about Himself in your current situation?
- Rest: Quietly sit in the presence of the Father and rest in His arms.
**Reflect on the phrase or word throughout your entire day – incorporating it into your daily life. Pray it, journal about it, write it on an index card, share it with a friend, etc. Allow His Scripture to become a part of you.
Lectio Divina with Lament – AWPC Discipleship
Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divinia by Jan Johnson