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I am certainly by no means an expert. However, I have been trying to focus on a few passages in the Bible by practicing lectio divina and I must admit that it’s certainly one way to put some skin on the scriptures you usually read and gloss right on over. Or maybe it’s just me that does this.
Lectio Divina is a Latin word meaning “divine or sacred reading”. It is a slow and thoughtful reading of scriptures utilized by the Benedictine monastery.
During our Bible study last week, a wonderful handout was provided on the process of Lectio Divina and I share this with you today:
1. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to protect and lead you during your time with Him.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you let go of your own agenda and listen to God speaking to your heart through His Word.
3. The text is read four times. Each time, a question is asked:
First Reading: (Lectio) – Read the passage. What word or phrase stands out to me?
Second Reading: (Meditatio) – Read again. What in the text touches my life or relates to it in some way?
Third Reading: (Oratio) – Read again. What is God inviting me to do or be? How is He asking me to respond?
Fourth Reading: (Contemplatio) Read again and rest in God’s loving presence.
Being the word-junkie I am, I enjoyed seeing the corresponding Latin words for each reading; however, the handout also includes a more memorable “Read-Reflect-Respond-Rest” to remember each reading.
Shall I share how I used Lectio Divina with the Matthew 14:22-33 passage I’ve been reading? Here’s the passage:
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
1. The words/phrases that stood out to me? Come, take courage, and don’t be afraid.
2. What in the text relates to my life? Peter being unsure of it’s really Jesus and testing him – responding to Jesus’ invitation to “Come”.
3. How is God asking me to respond? Trust Him. Fully accept His invitation and put all of my heart, not just some of it, in His hands.
4. Rest in His presence. Prayer of thanksgiving.
I have found this to be helpful as I’m reading certain passages and I want to read for application and understanding instead of checking off “Read the Bible” on my list. Much can be revealed and I have found this practice to be one in which I more deeply internalize the message.
Need a few passages to begin with? Of course, Matthew 14, John 1:35-39, Matthew 11:28-30, Jeremiah 29:10-14, and John 15:1-8 are good ones to begin with but there are SO many others as well!
Do you practice Lectio Divina? If so, please share any helpful hints, tips, and verses you have studied!