Lectio divina is a way of praying with Scripture to allow God’s Word to penetrate and change your heart, not just your head. An ancient method of prayer, lectio divina has been used by Christians for almost two millennia. Many Christians today use a similar prayer practice called “savoring the Word.” Lectio divina is not meant to replace Bible study, which God also uses to transform us.
The method of lectio in brief:
1) Surrender to God. Set aside about 15-20 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time and start by asking God’s Spirit to teach you about Himself and yourself. Setting a timer may help you “ignore” the time constraints.
2) Read the Scripture aloud. Next, read aloud the Scripture passage you have chosen at least twice. Read no more than 5-10 verses each day. As you read, watch for a word or short phrase to stand out to you in some way. This word or phrase will almost “shimmer” (not visibly, but in your heart or your attention). It’s likely you will have no idea why that particular word or phrase stands out. Trust that God is bringing this “morsel” to your attention.
3) Meditate on the Word. Then, take that word or phrase and meditate on it. Meditation is like “chewing your cud” mentally, and involves repetitively attending to a thought. Anyone who can worry can meditate. Turn the word or phrase over in your mind and look at it from many different angles. Be free and open in this. If you get distracted, just turn back to it. If distracted easily, consider journaling your thoughts or jotting down short notes.
4) Pray about your meditation. If God has brought to mind something to do or know from your meditation on Scripture, ask Him to help you act on this change or insight. Talk to God directly and take time to listen, giving God space to reply.
5) Surrender again to God. Finally, just sit quietly with God for a while in an attitude of surrender to His loving presence and will. The goal here is not a mystical experience nor an “emptiness” of thought or feeling. The intention is just to enjoy and rest with God, similar to the way friends or spouses sometimes sit silently together, loving one another with gratitude.
6) End with the Lord’s Prayer.