Looking for a way to make scripture come alive? Follow these 4 steps of Lectio Divina.
Have you ever immersed yourself in the story of the Bible? Inserted yourself into the action of the scene of what’s going on in a passage of scripture that you’re reading. I have found that this is such a great way to engage with scripture on a deeper level, and it also helps me to connect with God more in prayer. Today I want to share the steps of Lectio Divina.
A few years ago, I came across something called Lectio Divina as I was researching and learning more about different Bible study methods. It quickly became one of my favorite ways to engage in scripture for many reasons. One of them is that it’s a great way to connect with God through something called contemplative prayer.
If you are somebody who likes to think deeply and feels things deeply like a lot of highly sensitive introverted women do, then this is going to be right up your alley. It will speak to all of those needs and desires to go deep and feel deep and connect with scripture, but also more connection to God.
Lectio Divina is this method of reading scripture that’s going to help you really immerse yourself and understand scripture in a new way, and that’s going to then allow you to have some deeper, more intimate conversations with God.
Step 1 of Lectio Divina: Read the Passage
I like to teach four steps of Lectio Divina. If you want to add this to your quiet time it’s really easy and simple to do. The first thing that you want to do is to read a passage of scripture out loud. I found it’s best to take really short narratives in scripture. This is not the time to read an entire book of the Bible.
If you think of a movie or a play, you want to take a scene and you want to stick to that narrative account in scripture and keep it short. Read the passage out loud to familiarize yourself with the text, with the story, with what’s going on, and who the characters and the players are. Then read it again.
This time instead of orienting yourself in the story, I want you to see if there are any words or phrases that catch your attention or tug at your heart. It’s a lot like color coding your bible when you were looking for those keywords and phrases by trying to see what was jumping off the page at you.
Instead of using your eyes to find those things, you’re using your ears and your heart. Even when I am going through a passage that I am super familiar with, there’s always something new that jumps out at me that didn’t jump out at me the first time or the third time that I’ve read it.
Read it a third time if nothing stood out to you the second time. Two readings are what we’re aiming for, but sometimes it can take more than two to really tune your ear into what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to you. And to discern what you’re feeling and what’s going on. If you need to, you can read the passage a third time.
A little tip here, if you struggle with reading out loud or it’s hard for you to focus on the words try an audiobible. Most translations have an audio version. You can pick your favorite translation and do it that way.
I also like to listen to a dramatization of the passage because it’s almost like listening to a play or a movie where there are different voices and music. It’s a great way to bring that account in scripture more to life. Play with it and see what works for you and stick with that.
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Step 2 of Lectio Divina: Meditate
After you’ve read the passage and have a feel for it, and you’ve figured out what’s jumping out at you, the second step is to meditate on the words and phrases that stick out to you.
If I’m reading a passage and I keep hearing the word grace I’m going to start asking myself what God might be trying to say to me through the things that he brought to my attention. Take a few minutes to consider what God is speaking to you about. Those words or phrases. Maybe there’s a character that jumps out at you.
In the story where Jesus heals the lepers but only one comes back to say thank you, I usually resonate with the guy that came back. But one time when I was studying that passage I resonated with the nine who got healed but didn’t come back.
Step 3 of Lectio Divina: Prayer
The third piece is to respond to God in prayer. Any time that you are spending time in God’s Word, it’s always helpful to talk to him about it. That’s what prayer is – talking to God. Talk to God about what you’re learning, about what jumped out at you when you were reading the passage, about what you thought.
Talk to him about what you’ve learned. Ask him any questions that you have. Some of my best time in scripture is asking lots of questions. Try writing down questions as they come up because it then leads to further study.
Step 4 of Lectio Divina: Be Still and Listen
The fourth step is for me the hardest. To be still and listen. Sit quietly with God in a quiet place. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, quiet your thoughts, quiet your heart, and tune your whole being to the voice of God to see what it is that he has to say to you based on the passage of scripture that you’ve been digging into.
I know it sounds like a lot, but honestly, this can take five minutes, 10 minutes, or whatever time you have, depending on how long the passage is. It’s such a great way to engage with scripture and really think deeply and have those deep conversations with God.
To really be vulnerable and ask your questions. When I say put yourself in scripture, I’m not talking about putting yourself as the hero or a specific role. I mean experiencing that account in scripture as if you were actually standing there.
If you’re looking at the passage where Peter walks on the water, imagine yourself in the boat actually witnessing this with your eyes. It’s a great way to look at all angles of a passage. For example, the prodigal son.
A lot of us will identify with the prodigal son, that child who strayed and finally got their act together and came back looking for repentance and forgiveness. That’s usually where we stop. But he’s not the only person in that story. You could look at it from the perspective of the father or older brother. You could look at it if you’re in the pigpen.
Take time to put yourself into different spots of the narrative and look at things in a new way. You’ll be amazed at what jumps out at you when you start looking at things from different angles and in different ways.
Those are all the steps I follow for Lectio Divina. It’s a great way to connect prayer and scripture in a deep thinking, deep feeling, and contemplative manner. I would love to hear if you try it out. To hear what passage you tried and what that experience was like for you. Hop on over to our private group and share how it goes.
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These steps of Lectio Divina are a great way to hear from God through contemplative prayer and bible study.
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