We are exploring some ways we can use prayer, meditation, and spiritual practice to better embrace the fullness of who we are and who others are, so encountering the living Christ in new ways. These previous notes on daily spiritual practices explore some such practices. I would love to hear which practices help you and how.
I’m continuing my look at discovering Christian meditation practices. I began looking at breath prayer as a way of connecting with your own heart and also the Divine. I began to share resources to find daily Scripture readings appropriate for deep meditation on the Biblical text as a whole, saying today and tomorrow I would share regarding some practices of deep Bible meditation.
The first practice I want to share is Lectio Divina. The website Ignatian Spirituality shares a very good overview of this practice, which I will share with you below:
“This method of prayer goes back to the early monastic tradition. There were not bibles for everyone and not everyone knew how to read. So the monks gathered in chapel to hear a member of the community reading from the scripture. In this exercise they were taught and encouraged to listen with their hearts because it was the Word of God that they were hearing.
“When a person wants to use Lectio Divina as a prayer form today, the method is very simple. When one is a beginner, it is better to choose a passage from one of the Gospels or epistles, usually ten or fifteen verses…
“First one goes to a quiet place and recalls that one is about to listen to the Word of God. Then one reads the scripture passage aloud to let oneself hear with his or her own ears the words. When one finishes reading, pause and recall if some word or phrase stood out or something touched one’s heart. If so, pause and savor the insight, feeling, or understanding. Then go back and read the passage again because it will have a fuller meaning. Pause again and note what happened. If one wants to dialogue with God or Jesus in response to the word, one should follow the prompting of one’s heart. This kind of reflective listening allows the Holy Spirit to deepen awareness of God’s taking the initiative to speak with us.
“Lectio Divina can also be an effective form for group prayer. After a passage is read, there can be some extended silence for each person to savor what he or she has heard, particularly noting whether any word or phrase became a special focus of attention. Sometimes groups invite members, if they so desire, to share out loud the word or phrase that struck them. This is done without discussion. Then a different person from the group would read the passage again with a pause for silence. Different emphases might be suggested after each reading: What gift does this passage lead me to ask from the Lord? What does this passage call me to do? The prayer can be concluded with an Our Father. Whether one prays individually or in a group, Lectio Divina is a flexible and easy way to pray. One first listens, notes what is given and responds in a way one is directed by the Holy Spirit.”
Tomorrow we will look at another approach to deep meditation on the Scriptures.
I challenge you to seriously make space in your life to connect with the Sacred, whether through the forms of meditation and prayer I am sharing, or other forms of spiritual practice. I invite you to share what spiritual practices you engage in and how they transform your life.
Your progressive redneck preacher,