Lectio Divina and the Rhythm of Life

Life is hurried and we rush through it, buzzing from one activity and requirement to the next.  And all too often, along the way, something unpleasant gets tossed into the mix that stirs up our souls and causes us spiritual restlessness.  It’s important that we make time in our lives for God to speak to us, to reveal the Divine to us, and to find the natural rhythms of life that bring us into a more harmonious existence with God.

A few days ago I shared with you the prayer of Examen.  Today, I’d like to share the wonders of the praying through the scriptures through the ancient practice of Lectio Divina.

  1. Make yourself comfortable–Remember, this is a spiritual discipline, not a hobby, so be intentional about it.  When I read for leisure I like to lay on the couch or stretch out in the recliner, but when I’m studying scripture or need to keep my mind more focuses, I find sitting a desk or table to be a more comfortable position.  But choose what is right for you.  Sit in a pew at church, stand at a podium, etc…
  2. Silence yourself–I pray The Lord’s Prayer, a habit I have had since childhood when I need to calm myself down.  But you can simply spend a few moments in silence, recite a prayer word or phrase, or use another prayer to center yourself.  The important thing is to let the world slip away, quiet your mind, and make room for God’s presence.
  3. Read the text–You can use any part of scripture for Lectio Divina.  Some people use lectionary readings, while others like read through a book.  Don’t limit yourself, and don’t set goals.  God alone will dictate the speed by which you cover the text and the amount you will get through.  On this first reading, go slow and gentle.  Let the words flow over you.  At some point in your reading you will find a verse or a passage that is speaking to your soul… this is God speaking to you.  Lectio Divina is about learning to listen to God, so don’t expect God to shout it at you.
  4. Make it a part of you–once you’ve found that word or phrase that is speaking to you, repeat it to yourself, commit it to memory and let it become a part of you.  Spend some time focusing on it, letting it settle in.  If you feel yourself distracted by a memory or a thought, don’t force it out, but enter into a dialogue with God.  Often, those “fleeting” thoughts are making us aware of things that we need to bring to God, so use it.
  5. Speak to God–I am an introvert, so I tend to use my “inner voice” to do this.  Other may prefer to speak out loud.  And still yet others may choose to use images and ideas to interact with God.  But let your soul commune with the Divine.  Share those memories that have arisen and give to God what you have found in your heart.
  6. Rest in God’s embrace–Just be with God in this moment.  When you feel God drawing you back into conversation, do so.  But don’t be afraid of silence, allow yourself to find comfort in simply being in God’s presence.

Sometimes you will feel yourself drawn back to the text over and over again, and sometimes you find the text slipping away as that single word or phrase captivates your soul.  Go with the flow.  The only goal you are trying to achieve is to spend time with God, so don’t assume you are doing it wrong if you don’t read a certain amount, or if your experience is different from day-to-day.  Allow God to have control of the rhythm of your life at the moment.

Some resources on Lectio Divina:

Creative Commons License
Appalachian Preacher by Rev. Amanda Gayle Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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