The practice of lectio divina

Choose a Scripture passage. If you are new to this practice, start with a familiar story from the Gospels or your favorite story of healing story in the Gospel of John.


Take a moment to come fully into the present. With your eyes closed, let your body relax, and allow yourself to become consciously aware of God’s presence with you. Express your willingness hear from God in this moment. This can be a simple prayer of “Come, Lord Jesus.”


Turn to the passage and begin to read slowly, pausing between phrases and sentences. You may read silently or aloud, but allow the passage to sink into you and listen for a word or phrase that sticks with you. Allow for a moment of silence, repeating the word of phrase softly to yourself…without judging it or analyzing it.


How is my life touched by this word or phrase? Read the passage again, this time listen for the way this passage connects with your life. Allow for some time of silence. Ask yourself, “Where am I in this scene of this passage?” What do I hear as I imagine myself in the story?


What is my response to God based on what I have read or encountered? Read the passage one more time, listening for your own deepest and truest response. In silence after the reading, allow your prayer to flow spontaneously from your heart as fully and as truly as you can. Pay attention to what God is inviting you to either act or respond in some way to the word you have heard. You may find it helpful to write a prayer or journal at this point.


Rest in the Word of God. In this final reading you are invited to release and return to a place or rest in God. You have given your response its full expression, so no you can more to a time of waiting and resting in God.


As you emerge from this place of personal encounter with God to life in the company of others, resolve to carry this word with you and live it out in your daily life and activity. As you continue to listen to this word throughout your day, you will be led deeper and deeper into is meaning, until it begins to live in you. Sometimes it is helpful to choose an image, a picture or a symbol that you can carry with you to remind you of it.

(Ideas and invitations to Solitude are from Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Sacred Rhythms)