The spiritual practice of lectio divina is our primary mode of reading the Bible when our purpose is spiritual transformation. Our reading in this manner is directed toward depth rather than breadth. We are not studying, we are allowing our hearts to be drawn to the incalculable depths of God’s love. Our goal is to be immersed in that love, to be washed and shaped by it as stone is by the waves or the rushing of the river.
Once the passage or section is chosen, a quiet environment free from distractions is the ideal place in which to pore over the scriptures. Before the first word is read, allow the quiet of your environment to still your soul. This is not a practice for the coffee shop. God does not normally speak to us through thunder or fire from the sky. It is a quiet voice, a whisper to which we must be attuned in order to hear it. To listen for that hushed voice, we must be expectant and prepared to welcome it into our soul.
When we read with a listening spirit our objective differs from our other reading practices. The words are not as much in focus as is the speaker of those words. We read in such a way that the words of Scripture transcend the page, the ink and even the particular person who is in view in the text, and we hear our Father telling us His story. Read the text without stopping, hearing the voice form the story. Hear His inflections and emphases as our expectant heart directed by the Spirit clues us into the particular message that He wants to communicate to you and me through these words. Repeat the reading a second and third time, repeating until the emphasis becomes crystal clear.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
When you have extracted the personalized word that the Spirit has guided you to, you are ready to move to the next phase of lectio divina, reflection. We will pick this up in the next post. Until then, grace and peace to you.