Praying Lectio Divina
“Lectio Divina means Divine Reading. It is a prayerful way to read scripture or any spiritual writing.
Read -- Read Deeply
Read a scripture passage slowly and hear deeply the sound and meaning of every word. Imagine that God is speaking to you through these words. Listen attentively to see which word or phrase catches your attention and speaks to you and your life.
Meditate – Think, imagine Deeply
Take what caught your attention from your reading and think deeply about it using your imagination. Imagine what it meant to those at that time who first heard it? Why is this important to you and your tradition and your experience and your life today? What about it particularly moves you.
Pray -- Pray from the Heart
If your heart is moved or your emotions touched, go with the feelings and offer what you are feeling to God in prayer.
Contemplate -- Rest
Fall into the love of God and the love from God that was generated. Rest in the silence. Just be.
Finally, memorize or copy the thought that moved you and try to remember it from time to time during the day.
Journal if possible about what happened during the prayer.”
Modified from the Community of Reconciliation at Washington National Cathedral and the Friends of St. Benedict
Lectio Divina is an ancient Benedictine practice of reading the scriptures, which similar to centering prayer cultivates contemplative prayer. It was practiced in community in monasteries during the time of St. Benedict. This is a time-honored way to try to connect to God through reading scripture, prayer, meditation, and contemplation or listening for God. If your tradition has fixed lectionary readings for Sunday, this is an excellent way to prepare for Sunday by practicing Lectio Divina with one or all of the readings daily as your personal discipline or in a group.
Macrina Wiederkehr in her book, A Tree Full of Angels, Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary, writes extensively about Lectio Divina, calling it “plowing up the field of the soul.” She uses as her guide a quote from the Benedictine Abbot Marmion, “Read under the eye of God until your heart is touched, then give yourself up to love.” She uses imagery in the process, and waits for a mantra, a holy word, a phrase, a sentence that may stay. She then carries that word or phrase with her during the day. She describes giving yourself to God as surrender, melting into God.