Prayer is meant to be relational. We not only speak to God, pouring out our hearts to him, but we must also listen to his voice. Lectio divina is an ancient form of prayer perfected by monks. It entails reading Scripture, meditating upon it to unpack its meaning, responding to it in prayer, and resting in silence in response to this give-and-take conversation with God.
Beginning by reading God’s revealed Word gives him the first word in the conversation, which we receive and unpack, which then allows us to respond with our own word of prayer in silence.
The final stage of silence is called contemplation: a loving union in which we open ourselves to the power of God’s presence. Prayer is something ultimately beyond our control because we must receive it from God, relating to him and allowing ourselves to be transformed by him.
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen laid out an easy method for praying Lectio Divina here:
- Read the section of scripture.
- Read the section a second time, this time considering for 3-5 minutes what word or phrase most stands out to you as you read again.
- Read the same section of scripture a third time, followed by 5-7 minutes of prayer and meditation with that word or phrase. Then, ask yourself these two questions: 1) what does this word/phrase say about God? and 2) what does this word/phrase say about myself?
- Read the same section of scripture a fourth time, followed by 10-15 minutes of prayer and meditation with that same word or phrase. This time, ask yourself two more questions: 1) what invitation do I feel from God? and 2) what is my hesitation to saying ‘yes’ to that invitation?
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