A Brief Description of Lectio Divina
Lectio divina is traditionally divided into four steps. They will help you better understand this prayer method. But don’t get too caught up in method! Ask the Spirit for guidance. Here are the steps.
- Reading: of course, you start by reading Scripture. Take only a few lines to a paragraph (yet if the Spirit prompts you, read more). Read so as to listen. What is God saying to us, or to me? Read slowly, and repeatedly.
- Meditation: having read the passage, start thinking about it. Perhaps a word or phrase will jump out as especially meaningful. Stay with it, repeat it, ponder it. Sometimes, it helps to use your imagination: imagine yourself as a character in the story, picture details in the scene, etc. However you meditate, recall that you are listening for what God is saying.
- Prayer: here you petition God based on your meditation. Ask the Lord for something brought to mind by your reflection on the passage. Don’t worry about being eloquent — speak from the heart.
- Contemplation: sometimes a sense of the Lord’s loving presence will come upon you. Active thinking & praying will stop, & you’ll simply rest in the Lord’s presence.
Note: if you have trouble getting through these steps, don’t worry. Any practice of prayer will be dry at times. If you try, that is acceptable to God. If you are wondering for how long to do this, I'd recommend 15-30 min.
Also, see the LINKS page additional resources including: "Give me a word" - insights on the lectio divina from the monks of St. Procopius Abbey, a document offering a walk-through process for doing a group lectio divina, and a printable bookmark on lectio divina.