Author Ruth Haley Barton says that, “Most of us are not very good at sitting with longing and desire - our own or someone else’s.”
Longing and desire feels tender, vulnerable and out of control. It is perhaps where we cannot fix or fill another, nor can we fix or fill ourselves…..it IS a place where only God will do.
In the practice of silence we encounter God that is not mediated by words, theological constructs or religious activity or by our own manipulations of our relationship with God. Silence is a spiritual practice used by seekers down through the ages to experience intimacy with God rather than just talking about it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book Life Together, said:
"The Word of Scripture should never stop sounding in your ears and working in you all day long, just like the words of someone you love. And just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all....Do not ask 'How shall I pass this on?' but 'What does is say to me?' Then ponder this word long in your heart until it has gone right into you and take possession of you. "
Lectio divina (translated “divine [or sacred] reading") is an approach to the Scriptures that sets us up to listen for the word of God spoken to us in the present moment. Lectio divina is a practice of divine reading that dates back to the early mother and fathers of the Christian faith. Referring to the material being read and the method itself, the practice of lectio divina is rooted in the belief that through the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are indeed alive and active as we engage them.
This practice is a powerful way of involving a delicate balance of silence and word. The practice invites you to enter into a time of silence and then into a rhythm of reading, silence, and listening. God is yearning to speak to each of us, and so this quietness creates a space for us to hear God.
For this practice, you will need your Bible and a space that is quiet and comfortable.