Basic Instructions from Pastor Corey Laughary
Overview: “Lectio Divina” is literally Latin for “reading divinely.” Lectio, as it is often called, is an ancient practice of reading and praying the Bible. It is a practice that assumes God’s Holy Spirit inspires the Scriptures and that the Holy Spirit also desires to speak to us today through the scriptures.
It is a practice that was developed mainly by monks, but can be used by anyone. It is not a quick spiritual practice, but one that takes time, repetition, silence, thought and listening. It can take 10 minutes or it can take two hours, it depends on your schedule and your ability to do this spiritual exercise.
Steps to Lectio:
Find a passage to read. It can be any passage in the Bible, but some are easier to read and contemplate than others. For example reading genealogies isn’t always easy for this purpose. If you are just starting out, the Psalms provide ample supply of scripture, as do Jesus’ words in the Gospels. I would recommend something in length from 1 verse to 10 verses. We are not reading for quantity in Lectio.
So did you find a passage yet?.... Great. Now spend time, ample time, reading it. Read it over and over again. Read it out loud to yourself, if that is helpful to you. As you are reading, you may notice a phrase popping out to you in your mind or heart. Keep reading, chew the words over in your soul.
In this second step you may still be reading a bit, but you are beginning to allow yourself to really ask questions about this scripture. What do the words mean? How do these words relate to me? What was being said here originally? What would it be like for me to be in this scene (if appropriate)?
My basic advice here is to really focus and think on the words, especially any words that “jumped” out to you during the initial readings of the passage.
“Oratio”= Talking to God/Praying. When you have spent several minutes, and/or you have exhausted the questions you could ask of the passage or of yourself in relation to the passage, we now move on to asking God about the passage. Like Jacob (Genesis 32), this is where we wrestle with God. God- what words are you wanting me to hear? Why? God what do you have for me? This time of “wrestling” is filled with asking and listening; alternate between questioning and listening.
“Contemplatio”= Contemplation. This is the hardest phase for me. We seek to be quiet and let God’s wisdom and love take us over. Try to disengage from every thought. Do not allow yourself to think about the distractions that come into your mind, but rather let them simply dissolve. Just sit there. Let God speak to you in the silence. Don’t pretend to speak for God. Just sit there and be silent. If you need something to focus on, just focus on breathing, don’t think about it too much, just breath deeply.
That’s it. There is no defined end “result” of each session. Lectio is done to spend “quality time” with God. The “result” over time is a deepened relationship with God and a dependence on upon the Holy Spirit.
Message Remix Solo
By: Eugene H. Peterson
Navpress / 2007 / Paperback
“Looking for a truly different devotional, one with real impact? This unique daily approach to Scripture combines the early church technique of lectio divina---read, think, pray, and live---with Peterson's modern conversational paraphrase. It features numbered selections, a topical index, and a thought for rest and reflection every seventh day. 640 pages, softcover from NavPress.” (from CBD.com)
Intervention: Encountering God Through the Ancient Practice of Lectio Divina
By: Tony Jones
Nav Press / 2006 / Paperback
For 1500 years, Christians have
used contemplative Bible study or "Lectio Divina" as a way to tap
into the power and vitality of God's Word. For ancient Christians such as