Lectio Divina refers to experiencing God’s voice through His word. We often go to Word and experience it with our mind and them immediately jump into action. The practice of Lectio Divina can help us to slow down and engage Scripture with our hearts and minds. It’s an ancient practice, used in a myriad of ways by different groups of people throughout history—some ways beneficial and others less so. This just means that if you google it, you might find some strange and unhelpful tools in addition to helpful ones. The steps below can act as a guide for you to engage in Lectio Divina in a simple way that allows you to engage deeply with God’s Word in your daily life—whether studying on your own or with a group.
Read slowly through a section of Scripture and listen for a word or phrase that stands out. If you’re doing this with others, share what word or phrase stood out to you. If you’re studying alone, maybe write the word or phrase down. Don’t provide or look for an explanation of why that word or phrase stood out to you—simply listen for it and share it. (Sometimes listening through an app can be helpful too in order to hone in your focus and limit the possible distractions or barriers that come with reading.)
Listen as you read or hear the Scripture again. Be still and let your heart and mind engage with it together. In traditional Lectio Divina, this step is simply called meditation because that was a normal practice in culture upon its creation, but for us this step takes extra effort and guidance because meditation isn’t as typical in our culture. Maybe ask God to give you a picture to go along with what you’re taking in. A word picture is one way to help engage both your mind and heart together—be wary of being overactive and creating something in your mind without listening. The picture should be tied to what the Scripture is actually saying and not act as a message in itself for you or others to interpret. Other ways to help engage in meditation is to imagine yourself as one of the people in the Scripture, receiving or witnessing whatever is unfolding. If with a group, share your reflection. Remember, don’t extract or share any meaning—simply share the picture or feeling you found in reflecting.
Ask God, considering what you’ve just heard from him, what response He’s asking from you. It could be an action (like spending time with Him or serving someone), or something He’s asking you to believe (like trusting in His provision despite hard circumstances), or an invitation to feel something (like grief, gratitude or wonder). Whether it’s an action, belief, or expression (or all three), it’s all worship—engaging our head, hearts, and hands in response to God’s voice.
This might be the hardest step of the Lectio Divina process for some of us, but one you don’t want to skip. Take time to rest in all of what you’ve found—being silent and still for several minutes—and then pray.