Each Sunday in Lent, I’m going to suggest a spiritual practice you might want to include in your life. So far, we have looked at the Daily Examen, Prayer Partners, Practicing Gratitude and Journaling. Today we’re going to look at a devotional method for reading scripture. It’s called Lectio Divina.


Lectio Divina comes from a Latin term which means “divine reading” and is an ancient method of prayerfully reading a passage of scripture which engages both the heart and the imagination. This is not a Bible Study, but a devotional approach. It is not a tool to understand what a passage means, but a way of engaging scripture personally.  It should not take very long. Keep it short.

Choose a passage (a few verses are good, you don’t want it to be too long), then clear your mind, and in prayer ask for God’s presence and direction.

Then there are four steps:

  1. Reading (Lectio) – Choose a few verses and then read the passage slowly several times. Think of it as God’s word written for you. Is there are word, a phrase, an image that catches your eye, moves you, or connects with you emotionally? What part tugs at your heart?
  2. Meditation (Meditatio) – Using your imagination, picture yourself in the setting and context of the passage. Does any part apply to your own life?
  3. Prayer (Oratio )– The next step is to take all the thoughts, feelings, and questions you have meditated on and offer them to God in prayer. From what you have read and thought about, what is God inviting you to do?
  4. Contemplation (Contemplatio) –The final step is simply to be silent for a bit. Try and free yourself from thoughts and listen for God. You might have a sense of what God wants you to do about a particular concern that has come up in prayer. It is about opening your mind, heart, and soul to the influence of God.

Linda Ashfield, minster at Knox Waterloo