The other day I came across an ancient Christian practice called "Lectio Divina" or "spiritual Reading", as it is sometimes referred to as.
Lectio Divina is described as "the slow, contemplative praying of the Scriptures which enables the Bible, the Word of God, to become a means of union with God"
To embrace the process of Lectio Divina, is to "give room" in our busy lives and "create a rhythm" whereby we can flow in the discovery of the "ability" and the "how to" of offering ourselves and "enhancing our relationship with" God through his word - the reading, speaking and hearing of it.
For the word of God to have meaning, impact and manifestation in our lives, we can take a leaf out of this ancient practice of the early church - Lectio Divina.
The process of Lectio Divina involves the following:
- Reading / Listening
- Thinking / Meditating
Deuteronomy 11: 18 - 20 reads 18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates..."
How do we lay up the words of God in our heart and soul? This is by reading, not once, twice but constantly.
Also, God constantly speaks to us, thus, we should learn to recognise and listen to his voice. In
1 Kings 19:12, We see an example of God speaking and Elijah listening. It reads " 12And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice." This was the revelation of Elijah (It is important to read the whole chapter for completeness).
Thinking / Meditating the Word
After reading and listening to the word of God, the next step is to think about it. To meditate on it. Not just muse over what has been read, but to really, really, think about it. It sounds easy doesn't it? But in today's busy world, it's so easy to let our minds wander over verses, chapters and books, rather than simply focusing on their contents; what is God saying? How does this apply to me? What do I have to do about what I've read? What is God going to do?..... and much more.
It's like going on a sight-seeing holiday. You get to a beauty spot, to view some of the world's most beautiful landscapes, from the top of a hill. Most will take a fleeting glance and say "well that was beautiful, next sight please", but some will place a mat on that hill, sit down and "take in" the whole scenery, the landscape - where the hills stopped and where the valley began, the types of trees, animals, the feel in the air and all of that. Now, imagine that...same scenery, different experiences.
We can take an example from the Psalmist David in Psalm 119: 15, which reads "I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways."
Imagine the start of your day, you wake up in the morning, have devotional time, and you read a passage in the bible that You get ready for work - thinking about this passage, on you way to work - you are thinking about this passage, whilst at work - you are thinking about this passage. There will come a point during your day that you will voice up and say something like "right God, this is really bugging me, what does this passage mean, what are you trying to tell or explain to me here" Hands up, those of us who have been there!
That "bugging" feeling is the conversation starter with God about his word. Going through all the points above leads us to have conversations with God. It leads us to pray about his word, and the prayer that results from this is not usually the normal "prayer list" of "I want", No. It could be prayers about what his word is simply saying about him, or about the country or city we live in.