Lectio Divina is Latin for divine or sacred reading. It is a holistic, experiential way of reading scripture that uses mind, emotion, imagination, the senses, and prayer. It is letting scripture soak deeply into us as we interact with a particular passage or story. It is listening prayerfully for what God wants to say to us through scripture.
Prepare for the receiving of God’s word by sitting comfortably alert, with eyes closed or looking at a candle with an unfocused gaze, centering yourself with relaxed breathing.
Hear the word addressed to you. Have one participant read a short selection (approximately three to five verses) of scripture one time simply to get the sequence and detail of the scripture selection. Read the scripture again. Listen for a word or phrase that draws your attention. Repeat the word or phrase gently to yourself in the minute of silence following the reading. The leader will signal the end of the silence. Each participant has an opportunity to say aloud, without elaboration, the word or phrase that attracted his or her attention. (Or you may pass.)
Ask, “How is my life touched?” Have another participant read the passage again. In the two to three minutes of silence, listen to discover how this passage touches your life today. You may receive a sensory impression or simply reflect on how this passage might be speaking to your life at this moment. When the leader gives the signal, briefly share a sentence or two perhaps beginning with the words I hear, I see, I sense. (Or you may pass.)
Ask, “Is there an invitation here for me?” Have a third participant slowly read the passage again. In the two to three minutes of silence, listen to discover God’s invitation or encouragement toward a behavior or action relevant to the next few days or week. When the leader gives the signal, speak of your sense of invitation. (Or you may pass.)
Pray for one another’s empowerment to respond. Pray, aloud or silently, for God to help the person on your right respond to the invitation received. The leader begins by praying for the person on his or her right, after which the person on the leader’s left prays for the leader, and so on around the circle. Whether your prayer is aloud or silent, end the prayer with an
“Amen” to signal the next person when it is their turn.
Adapted from GATHERED IN THE WORD. Copyright © 1996 by Norvene Vest. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. —Psalm 119:105, 114, 130 NRSV