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We'll continue our study of spiritual disciplines with a study of the disciple of Sacred Reading or as it is also called, Lectio Divina. 

 

People read for all sorts of different reasons. We read to get information. Students read to learn new material. We read to be entertained. The type of reading that sacred reading emphasizes is really none of these things. It's for an entirely different purpose, one that is explained in this quote by Thomas `a Kempis. "Do not read to satisfy curiosity or to pass the time, but study such things as move your heart to devotion."

Now I don't think there's anything wrong with the other types of reading; they all have their place, but the purpose of sacred reading is to draw our hearts to our Lord. The idea is to come to this reading of a passage of scripture with no other agenda but than to hear what God wants to say to you. This is known as a meditative or devotional reading of the Bible that St. Benedict popularized as part of the Benedictine monks daily routine. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and powerful, so we can assume that through His word God can shape us, mold us and change our lives. That's what we hope to see through Lectio Divina.

Choosing a Scripture

When undertaking this type of devotional reading, you want to choose a fairly short ( 4 to 8 verses) portion of scripture. The Psalms are a wonderful place to start, as are any of the Gospels and Ecclesiastes. To begin, you'll want your BIble and a notebook to record your thoughts in. You'll need to find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed so that you can concentrate. Begin by quieting yourself and praying that God will bless this time with Him and that you will hear what He wants to say to you.

Four Steps of Lectio Divina

  1. Read (lectio). Read your portion of scripture listening for the word or phrase that seems to jump out to us. You can write this in your journal if you'd like.
  2. Reflect (meditate). Read the same portion of scripture again and reflect on why we are touched by this word or phrase. Ask yourself, "What is going on in my life that caused those words to jump out to  me?" or "Where do I see myself in this passage?" You may also record this in your journal if you'd like to.
  3. Respond (oratio). Read the passage a third time. Ask yourself "How does God want me to respond to this?" You may pray something back to God. You may be convicted of a sin. You may be called to do something. Again you can journal your response if you'd like to.
  4. Rest (contemplate). Read the passage the final time and then just rest in what you have learned and in God's presence. Resolve to carry this word with you throughout your day.

This is a simple but powerful way for God to change us and mold us into the people He wants us to be. 

Feel free to share if you've ever tried this spiritual discipline or if you plan on it.

Pray on!

(This post is taken from my site at http://www.onlybyprayer.com.)

 

 

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