praying hands on bible

Preparation:

Be open to be transformed by God’s Word.

Choose a passage from Scripture– which is not too long.

Quiet your body and mind.

Pray to the Holy Spirit, asking for openness, receptivity and awareness of God speaking to you.

Phases:

Lectio Divina consists of four phases, with repeated readings, that take you from reading scripture, through meditation on its personal meaning, to spontaneous prayer, and then to a silent resting with God in love. The direction of this prayer is toward simplicity and depth. 

Read (Lectio) Read the passage slowly and prayerfully, several times, with attentiveness and receptivity. Place yourself in the scene. Listen with your heart. A word, phrase or image may stand out – may seem significant. Gently repeat it - savor, relish, absorb it. Let it speak to your heart. 

Reflect (Meditatio) When a word or phrase touches you, take time to reflect and ponder it. Become aware of its personal meaning for you in the here and now. Notice how it may be giving you insight or challenging you. Perhaps it is calling you to some action or giving a sense of peace, comfort, hope, etc. You may even find that this word or phrase is carried within you, beyond the time of prayer into the rest of the day.

Respond (Oratio) As you reflect, a prayer may arise within you. This speaking with God may express your feelings or desires such as longing, gratitude, praise, repentance, intercession, awe, or regret. Let your heart speak to God as the Spirit moves you.

Rest (Contemplatio) Let go of your ideas, reflections, and dialogue. Allow the word to move from head to heart. Silently rest in God’s presence, experiencing God’s acceptance and love. As you rest in God, God gradually transforms you from within. This transformation will have an effect on the way you are, the way you live, the way you act. 

Concluding prayer: This may be the Lord’s Prayer, the Glory Be or a prayer of your own.

The phases of this type of prayer do not consist of an automatic progression. They are broken down here for ease of explanation and understanding. It is a way of prayer that may be different each time. Beginning with sacred reading opens you up to a gift; go with how God’s Spirit moves you. There is no way to determine ahead of time what shape this prayer will take.

This type of prayer can be done alone or in a group. Done with a group, there is more structure that includes: a time for optional sharing of what was heard and its significance to those sharing; a prayerful honoring what was ‘heard’ in the group; and periods of silence as well as the periods of vocal prayer. Each way – alone or in a group – has its benefits.

By Kay Dodson