The Beginner’s Guide To Lectio Divina (4-Step Guide)
Ever wondered how to pray with the Bible? How do you interpret what you are reading and find God’s voice in the midst of the pages? One way to pray with the Bible is through Lectio Divina, a guided prayer into God’s word that helps you meditate and listen to what God is trying to tell you through scripture. I have created this beginner’s guide to Lectio Divina so that you too can practice in understanding Gods word and apply it to your daily life. Lectio Divina can be the start of a beautiful relationship with God, where it is not only us communicating to Him, but He is communicating with us through His Holy scripture. Lectio Divina invites us to share our experiences with God and relate them to Salvation History. So how do you begin?
Before I explain the 4 steps of Lectio Divina, find a quiet spot where you can sit peacefully with your Bible and have no distractions. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and play some peaceful piano music in your headphones. Find a passage you want to read for the day, it can either be a daily verse or a book of the Bible you are currently reading.
Lectio Divina Steps
Step 1: Lectio (Reading)
The first step of Lectio Divina invites you to simply read the verse you chose. Take time to understand what the reading says in itself, and the literal meaning that it provides. Don’t take time to interpret a deeper meaning, and don’t let your opinion influence the reading just yet. Simply take what is being said and find what the text is saying that everyone should understand. Who are the characters? What is being said? What is taking place?
Step 2: Meditatio (Meditation)
Step two! This next step invites you to relate the scripture to what you are going through in your daily life at this moment. Certain memories of people, places, and events should be rising up to your mind, and realize that God is recalling those memories for a reason. Maybe you are even relating personally to the text and seeing yourself through one of the Bible’s characters. What would it be like to be that person in the Bible, at that moment in time? God is inviting you to meditate and contemplate on something in this verse, so take time to find out what it is. If a phrase is sticking out to you, read it again and find out why you are being called to it.
Step 3: Oratio (Prayer)
Step 3 is the response to the meditation we did in the previous step. God called you to a specific phrase, character, memory, or event in the Bible. What is God saying to you, and what can you say in response? Our Savior is calling us to share what our heart is feeling and speak to Him in our own words. Have a conversation with God, whether that be through petitions of Him, giving Him thanks, or simply telling Him how much you love Him. You can also ask for intercession from our mother Mary or the people mentioned in that Bible passage at this point as well.
Step 4: Contemplatio (Contemplation)
This last step invites us to not only listen to our Lord, but to also let ourselves be influenced and changed by His Holy Word. As we contemplate what we just read, we can recognize that we are sinners and although God loves us, He does not wish for us to live in sin. This step can perhaps be the most daunting and thrilling at the same time– why? Because Jesus himself is inviting us to allow Him to transform us and open our lives up to Him. In this step we must recognize God’s invitation to trust in Him, and trust that He has a greater plan than we ever could. It can be frightening, because letting go and allowing God to take control means losing what we find safe and comfortable. Yet following God and falling into His love is the greatest adventure we could ever take, because it is the beginning of the life we are called to live.
In this final step, we must take time and listen to what God is calling us to do. What conversion of mind, heart, and life is God asking of me? Could he be inviting you to step into the confessional if it’s been a while, or start fasting? Check out my blogs on those two subjects! Whatever it is, its important to pray and ask God what he wants of us in this step.
Lectio Divina Conclusion
Following these four steps to Lectio Divina will help you dive into the Holy Scripture and discover the beauty of God’s word. Don’t fret over the amount you are reading, simply enjoy this time and rest in God, listen to His word, and know that you are so incredibly loved. There is no greater way to spend a moment of your day than in God’s presence, and this Lectio Divina prayer can help you connect with God in a new way. Lectio Divina can help you listen to God’s voice in a world full of noise and distractions. Guided by the Holy Spirit, through Lectio Divina we can deepen our relationship with God and fall even more deeply in love with Him.