At Community Groups yesterday we tried out our next prayer practice: Lectio Divina or "contemplative Bible reading." This practice involves reflecting on a passage of Scripture and seeing what God has to say to us through it. It is a subjective experience and does not require theological training in order to do. Here is what it looks like when done in a group:
First, we prepare ourselves to hear from God by slowly relaxing our body and focusing on our breathing. We then ask God to speak to us through his word.
Next, someone reads the passage out loud slowly two or three times. Everyone else is either following along or listening to the passage seeing what word or phrase pops out to them. Our passage yesterday was Luke 10:38-42,
After reading it out loud twice we go around and share what word or phrase popped out to us or we could choose to pass. For example, the phrase the jumped out to me was "welcomed him into her home."As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me." But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her." (NLT)
After sharing, the passage is read aloud a couple of times again while everyone meditates on their word and phrase asking, "what is God speaking to me about with this phrase? How does it apply to my life?" Once the passage is read we go around and share again with the option of passing. For example, "welcomed him into her home" seems to speak to my own act of opening up my home to others. Moving into a smaller place at the end of this month could give me the excuse of not opening up my home but God seems to be speaking to me to not use that as an excuse.
The fourth step is reading the passage aloud again two or three times. This time, while meditating on what God wants us to practically do with what he has spoken to us. After the passage has been read a couple of times we again go around and share or pass what God spoke to us. For example, I believe God was telling me to open up my home when I move despite it being a smaller place.
The final step involves spending time thanking God for speaking to us through his word and asking his help and guidance as we seek to act upon what he has spoken to us.
This practice can be done in a group or by oneself. Just pick a passage (I wouldn't recommend an entire chapter) and read through it a few times until a word or phrase pops out and then spend sometimes meditation on that word or phrase asking those questions. First, What is God trying to say to me? How does this apply to my life. Second, What is God calling me to do with what he has spoken to me?
Try doing Lectio Divina with your youth this week. If you would like a resource then speak to me and I can lend you a book that has five sessions. It takes you through a Bible Study of the passage and then guides you through a time of contemplative reading on that passage.