Lectio Divina is the discipline of listening for the voice of God through the words, phrases, and moments that catch our attention as we read the Scriptures. In the first 1,500 years of the Church’s existence, Lectio Divina emerged as a way for Christians (including those who were illiterate) to encounter God’s word for them. As the Scriptures were read, they listened for the voice of God. Lectio Divina is a way to prayerfully encounter Scripture and hear the voice of God through reading and reflection. Lectio Divina is listening to scripture with the ear of our heart. “In silence and in meditation on the eternal truths, I hear the voice of God which excites our hearts to greater love.” CS Lewis
Truly knowing God, His heart and His character, comes from spending time with Him. In Deuteronomy 30:14 we read “the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” We can only “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) One of the greatest ways that we can be made new is by spending time with Him in His word. As our faith deepens our desire to spend time in Scripture should deepen as well. It is not the same as a bible study. In Lectio Divina we let go of more intellectual, studious, or effortful ways of reading scripture and enter a state in which we are quiet and receptive to God’s word. We let go of our own words, and let God speak to us. In this practice, the words of scripture become very alive and touch the heart in spontaneous ways that lead us more deeply into our relationship with God.
Step 1: Spend time in prayer, prepare your heart to enter the presence of the Lord and ask Him to steady and quiet your mind and heart. Open yourself to what He has for you through the words of Scripture.
Step 2: Slowly read through the scripture passage that you have chosen or felt led to read. Sometimes it is helpful to read the passage out loud to yourself.
Step 3: Pause and reflect on what you read, focusing on the words or phrases that stood out to you. Continue to ask, “Lord, what do you have for me in these words? I ask that you reveal yourself to me.”
Step 4: Slowly reread the passage with the same posture of your heart. Reflect on the words that stand out to you, listen for His invitation to look deeper into the passage. Savor the words.
Step 5: Close your time with prayer, resting in His presence, thanking Him for revealing His heart to you through Scripture. Trust who He says He is and surrender yourself to walking out what He has revealed to you. Allow yourself to experience the calm and peace we feel when we quiet ourselves to hear His voice.
Set aside 15 minutes to try this, Spend time beforehand preparing and quieting your heart and mind to hear God’s voice through Scripture. Ask yourself these questions the first few times that you practice Lectio Divina:
- What speaks to my heart?
- What new thoughts or ideas am I having?
- What do I feel like He is saying to me?
- What is this passage moving me to do?