Sacred Practices: Lectio Divina

Posted by Laura McCullough on

Sacred Practices Series: Ancient spiritual practices are worth exploring. That's the takeaway. There is so. much. goodness and wisdom in the practices of those who lived on this earth in the years and centuries before us. People who sought the Lord. Who were deeply committed to understanding Who-He-Is and How-He-Loves. It's a gift to explore these practices, and I hope you find gold in them, too.


Our live scripture experiences for Sacred Space follow the practice of Lectio Divina, Latin for divine reading. For the past two years, this practice has been formative for my soul. The more I practice it, the more it becomes an integral part of teaching me to commune well with God and be formed in the likeness of fully human, yet entirely divine, Jesus.

Scripture is a meeting place, a sacred space to have a conversation with the Lord. Whether you're new to reading the Bible or you've read it your whole life—Lectio Divina is a transformative way to have a personal encounter with the Living God-Who-Loves. Lectio is a contemplative way of reading the Bible by intentionally focusing on a short scripture passage. It can be done personally or communally.

In Lectio, we show up. We slow down. We let wisdom soak into our marrow. We follow a structure that encourages us to stop and listen. To let go of our own agendas. To really hear what God has to say and let it form us.

In our Sacred Space time, we follow the method I was taught—to read through 3 translations of the same text, looking at it from 3 different angles, meditating in silence between, asking a different question of the text each time. We base our readings on the sacred calendar (basically, a way of structuring the spiritual year to intentionally follow a spiritually-minded life of Christ). See more here.

Step One:
Read through the chosen scripture. A great version to start with is the NRSV or ESV. They tend to be more literal, word for word translations. Read the text out loud.

Meditate for 2 minutes. Set a timer. (Try the Insight Timer app for therapeutic sounds.)
Think about these questions: What is the Scripture saying? Actually saying. What is the context? What words are used? Who is there and what is happening? What is the historical or contextual meaning? What is this particular story of God, written on these pages, actually saying?

Step Two:
Read through the Scripture again in a different translation. NLT is a great one. Read the text aloud.

Set your timer and meditate for another 2 minutes. Contemplate these questions: What is the scripture saying to me? On this day, where I am right now, where is it shining a light on my soul? What's it spark inside of me? What does it mean to me on a personal level?

Step Three:
Read through the Scripture a third time, out loud, in another translation. The Message is really helpful since it's very readable and conversational.

Set the timer for one minute. Meditate on these questions: What role will this Scripture play in my life as it takes up residence in my heart? What does it mean for me going forward—today, this week, etc. How will I carry this text with me, and how it will form me?

Stepping into the richness and quietness of this time with God is a gift. Some days it's easy to let our minds be directed; others it's not. That's why the practice of Lectio is so valuable. Over time, as we engage, we cannot help but be molded and formed into what is filling our minds and souls. Scripture becomes oxygen, and God-Oxygen is breathtakingly life-giving. The purity of this Oxygen will enhance your life in the most stunning ways.


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