Five Steps from an Ancient Work Toward a Stronger Devotional Life

The Lectio Divina means “holy reading” or “prayerful reading.” While my Christian tradition (Baptist) does not interact with this work, there are five phases included there which can help us in our prayer and devotional reading. Below is directly quoted from the work Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (by J. Scott Duvall and Daniel Hays).

Silencio —Prepare your heart to hear from God by slowing down. Get settled in one place and begin to quiet yourself before the Lord. As you cast your cares on him, intentionally begin to let go of the hurry and noise that often prevents us from listening to God. Now is the time to slow down.

Lectio —Select a passage of Scripture and read it slowly and out loud. Forget about reading quickly. Slow down. Use your imagination to picture yourself as part of the setting. Resist the temptation to analyze or judge the text or use the text to develop a message for someone else. Focus on listening as if God were speaking directly to you.

Meditatio —Read the passage again, pausing to let the words sink deeply into your mind and heart. As a particular word or phrase catches your attention, repeat it several times. Without trying to overspiritualize the meaning, ponder what God seems to be saying to you through these words. How does this word or phrase connect with your life right now?

Oratio —Respond by praying the passage as you read it a third time. Enter into a conversation with God. Honestly and truthfully talk with God about what he seems to be saying to you through this passage. Now is the time to respond to God. How does the passage make you feel? What action or attitude is God calling you to embrace? Respond from your heart to what God is saying.

Contemplatio —Rest and wait patiently in the presence of God. As you give God’s Spirit time to work in your life, yield to him. Entrust your past, present, and future to the Lord in light of what he has spoken. Ask the Lord to continue to do his transforming work throughout the day as you continue to listen. Conclude with a prayer of thanksgiving.

Being a disciple of Jesus means we take time to commune with Him via prayer and the Word.


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