Lectio Divina–A Praying Spirit


Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabonni!” (John 20:16)

Lectio divina as a spiritual exercise transitions our encounter with the scriptures through four steps, beginning with a reading that listens for the voice of the Rabbi to call out to each of us individually. It is His call to slow down and reflect on what we read, moving the content from head to heart. Meditating on the word that the Spirit has brought to our attention piques our desire to apply it in our lives, and for this, we require prayer.

The third step of this discipline is oratio. We pray at the sound of the voice of our Lord, turning almost involuntarily toward the One who is whispering in our ear. Just as we strain to hear every word uttered by our human lover, we lean into the voice of the ultimate Lover. At the sound of His voice we are moved to look Him in the face, to look deeply in His eyes and know that what He is telling us is true and right.

Through prayer we engage the text in which we are centered. As we pray in response to the voice of the Lord, the written word of God recorded for all of the people of the world has transformed into a personal word to me alone. This sounds dangerous if it is understood as the interpretation of theological truths on an individual basis. It is not. Remember, we are not interpreting the scriptures in this exercise, we are listening to hear God speak through the words. These are safe waters in which to tread.

Our prayer, intertwined with the intercession of the Spirit, leads us to grasp the reality of what the Lord says to us. We are overwhelmed by gratitude, confession or lament or any of the innumerable attitudes that guide our interactions with God and man. The lectio divina prayer is unconcerned with other things at this moment. It is only in response to the voice we have heard and where that voice wants to lead us.

Grace and peace to you.

image c jill reed

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