Lectio Divina as a Means of Grace

Throughout the season of Lent we are exploring spiritual practices, or means of grace, that help to grow closer to Christ.  Means of Grace are spiritual practices that help us make room in our hearts and lives for God.  This week we explore the practice of Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading – Listening to God)

Bible heartLectio Divina is an ancient practice of praying the scriptures; a reflective reading that calls us to listen to God’s Word with our heart. It is a reflective reading of scripture, a method of prayer that leads us into the deeper meaning of scripture.  Lectio Divina is a reading, reflecting, responding, and resting in the word of God that helps one grow in relationship with God. Spend some time exploring this ancient prayer practice and experience the goodness of God as you fall in love with the Word. Lectio Divina involves five basic steps:  lectio, meditatio, oratio, comtemplatio, and incarnatio. Don’t be intimidated by the Latin words or be too rigid in following the steps! Simply embrace & enjoy some quite time in God’s presence, reading, hearing, & responding to what He has for you today!

You may want to begin with a time of silence, taking some deep cleansing breaths as you let go of all your concerns and worries.  Just be still in the presence of God.

Lectio (Hearing the Word):  Read the Scripture slowly, either out loud or silently. You may want to read the passage more than once to truly hear it, with a time of silent rest between readings. Pay attention to any word, phrase, or image that intrigues you or puzzles you.

Meditatio (Pondering the Word):  Ponder more deeply on the word, phrase, or image that caught your attention.  Repeat it.  What images, ideas, and perceptions of God does it evoke?  Allow this word, phrase, or image to engage your thoughts.  How is God speaking to you through it?

Oratio (Dialogue with God): What prayer emerges from your meditation?  Ask God to transform you through the word, phrase, or image from Scripture.  How does it connect with your life?  What is your response to what God is saying to you?

Contemplatio (Heavenly Rest):  Rest your heart and mind and just be silent in God’s presence. 

Incarnatio (A Calling Forward):  Now that you have rested in God’s Word, how do you emerge?  How might you represent God’s love and grace in your family, community, and the world?

“Meditation is holding the Word of God in the heart and mind until it has affected every area of one’s life and character.”  Andrew Murray

For additional reflection on Lectio Divina, visit Faith UMC’s website and listen to Pastor Steve Stultz Costello’s sermon from March 10, Word, Faith, Action, Healing, http://faithum.weebly.com/listen.html

We’d love to hear how you have experienced Lectio Divina! Click ‘leave a comment’ to share your thoughts!

May God richly bless you as you seek to experience God’s grace through His Word this Lent!
In Christ,
Kathy Schmucker, Director of Christian Education & Spiritual Formation

Check out these links for more information:

http://devozine.upperroom.org/articles/lectio-divina-listening-to-god/

http://www.soulshepherding.org/2012/07/lectio-divina-groups/

Audio Lectio:http://alivenow.upperroom.org/audio-lectio/ – Audio Lectio is a weekly recording of a guided Lectio Devina meditation using the gospel reading from the lectionary.

Lectio on Life:  http://alivenow.upperroom.org/2012/08/15/lectio-on-life/

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About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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