During this season of Lent we have been encouraged to give up good things for the sake of (or to focus on) something better- i.e. Jesus. This week we are fasting from the internet and social media. (Which means, if you’re reading this post, you have fallen off the wagon. Ha!) As a way of providing balance to the weekly fasts, each Tuesday we have been providing you with ways to deepen your prayers. Our hope is that when you begin to feel the effects of fasting, it will prompt you to pray, and perhaps to begin incorporating some of these distinctive prayer practices. Today, that practice is called: Lectio Divina
John and Carol Kim are pastors of a church in NYC (www.the166.org) and they explain the basic steps of Lectio Divina this way:
Lectio Divina is a Latin term that means “divine reading” and it is a slow and reflective way of engaging Scripture in prayer. In Lectio Divina, you are basically taking a passage in the Bible and reading it over and over again and really soaking it in. It will require you to slow down and be patient as you contemplate the verses you are reading, and following each reading there will be different activities to help you connect to God.
Use the simple acronym T.I.M.E. to help you remember the process of Lectio Divina.
First prepare your heart to encounter God through His Word. Sit in silence, take a few deep breaths and ask for God’s guidance.
1.) TEXT – (Objective Focus) Read the passage slowly and aloud for the first time and let the words sink in. Use the next two minutes of silence (or however long or short you want) to identify key words or phrases that strike you. This portion of Lectio Divina asks, “What are the main ideas of the passage?” This is the time for a studied examination of the passage where you identify the objective of its meaning. You can read commentaries and look up the meaning of words if you wish.
2.) IMMERSE – (Subjective Focus) Read the passage slowly and aloud for the second time. Take the next few minutes of silence to meditate on what the passage personally means for you. While the first reading sought the text’s objective meaning, now we are reflecting on subjective meanings and personal associations that come to mind. Use your imagination to enter into the text: What do you see/feel/hear as you enter the scene? What are you feeling as you read the text? What personal longing is God speaking into? Explore it with Him.
3.) MINISTRY – (Prayer & Response) Read the passage slowly and aloud for the third time. Take the next few minutes of silence to see what prayers emerge and stir up within you based on the previous two movements. What is God inviting you into through this text and how will you respond? Pray them out to the Lord. The goal here is intimacy with God so this may be a time to simply dialogue with Him, to wrestle with Him or to do something He asks you to do.
4.) ENCOUNTER – (Resting) You can read the passage for the fourth time if you would like. It’s optional at this point. During these last few moments of silence, simply dwell in God’s presence and rest in what He said to you. This is the time to let God’s living word soak into you for your ongoing formation.