When we pray with the scriptures, we are engaged with God’s word personally. In praying scripture, the imagination is engaged and we dwell with the text instead of thinking about the text. In the tradition of the church, the praying of scripture was known as lectio divina – the process of divine reading of scripture.
Here is one way to understand how to practice lectio divina:
- Lectio (to read): If a lesson is read in public, it should be read very slowly and clearly so that the listeners can fully hear it. If you read it alone, you may want to read it more than once aloud until you have made it your own.
- Meditatio (to meditate): Enter the passage fully. Be present to it, enter into it, and let it engage you completely and personally. Exercise you imagination and experience the text.
- Oratio (to pray): Converse with God about your experience. Reflect on this piece of scripture until God reveals to you some insights and implications for your life of faith.
- Contemplatio (to contemplate): Be silent before God, empty your conscious mind, and open yourself to receive the grace God desires to give you so that you might, with God’s help, live out the implications of your conversation with God.
How do you choose what piece of scripture to practice lectio divina? Here are a few ideas:
- Choose a piece of scripture from the daily lectionary
- Choose a selection from one of this coming week’s Sunday readings
What pieces of scripture have you found helpful to meditate and pray with? Please share them here!