Reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies. As a child I could pass away an entire summer afternoon while I devoured a book — usually a new Nancy Drew mystery.
As a young adult I discovered my passion for nonfiction as I read books to learn a new skill. Once I became a Christ-follower, a whole new world opened up to me: reading to draw me closer to God. I loved to read my Bible and discovered the world of Christian nonfiction books.
Within the last few years, I’ve learned about the spiritual discipline called sacred reading, or Lectio Divina. It’s purpose is to encourage our communication with God and to explore His Word and how it relates to us personally. Sacred reading in 2022 is just as helpful to us to navigate our times as it always has been.
Sacred Reading Practices & Preparation
Ready to explore this spiritual discipline? You’ll need your Bible and a journal. Find a place where you can be undisturbed and pray that the Holy Spirit will lead and guide you and give you ears to hear. Next, choose a scripture to focus on. Keep it fairly short, about four to eight verses. Start with a scripture you’ve been currently reading. Another suggestion is to choose a Psalm, Proverb, or a section from any of the four Gospels. Now you’re ready to begin.
4 Steps to Sacred Reading of the Bible
- Read (lectio). Read your selection of Scripture and be attuned to the word(s) or phrases that resonate with you. Record this in your journal.
Reflect (meditatio). Read the scripture again. Think about why the words from step 1 resonated with you. Ask yourself, “What is happening in my life that caused these words to be important to me?” Or “Where do I see myself in this passage?” Write this down in your journal.
Respond (oratio). Read the scripture for the third time. How does God want you to respond? You may feel called to pray, be convicted of a sin, or be led to take an action or stop something. Record this in your journal.
Rest (contemplatio). Read the passage one more time. Rest in what you have learned and in God’s presence. Decide to carry this word with you throughout the day. Sometimes I will write what I want to remember on a sticky note and put it where I will see it.
Lectio Divina today is a simple but powerful way for God’s word to come alive and personal to us. God can use it to change us and mold us into His image. Have you tried this practice before? I’d like to hear about it. Please leave a comment below.