Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading. It is a way to pray with the scriptures that promotes union with the living God. This method of prayer allows us to enter into a conversation with God where God speaks to us in his Holy Word and we respond in prayer and contemplation.
Lectio (reading) – slowly read the scripture passage, listening carefully.
Meditatio (meditation) – reflect on those words that captured your attention during the reading.
Oratio (prayer)- respond in prayer to the words Jesus spoke to you through the Scripture passage.
Contemplatio (contemplation) – simply rest in the presence of the Lord, focusing your attention completely on God in loving adoration.
Choose a short passage, 2-4 verses. I find it useful to read two translations of the same verse. Throughout the prayer, feel free to write down how the Holy Spirit has spoken to you through the Scriptures.
Pray With Structure
This structure came from my biblical studies class. I’ve seen others, find one that suits you, but this will get you started.
Sign of the Cross (or if you are not Catholic, us a short simple prayer to get you started “In Jesus name” etc.)
Opening prayer: “Heavenly Father, I am mindful that I am always in your presence. Jesus, I know you are here and that you love me. Thank you, Lord, that I belong to you. Thank you, Lord, that you want to speak to my heart today in Scripture. Come Holy Spirit; open my heart to the truth of your word as I read [selected chapter and verse translation. Show me what you want me to see in this passage.
Lectio: Read the Scripture passage twice at a steady pace a loud. (I prefer to use two translations of the same verse here)
(Pause and reflect for 2 minutes)
Oratio: Silently speak to the Lord in response to His Word.
(Pause and pray for 2 minutes)
Contemplatio: Thank God for this time of drawing closer to him. Then rest in His presence.
(Pause and rest for 2 minutes)
Closing Prayer: “Lord, we thank you for this time spent together with you, reflecting on your word. In you
We live in such a busy, crazy world. It is always a good thing when we can take some time to speak with God. This structure allows me to keep my focus. The times suggested are just that… a suggestion. Don’t stress, you can set a timer or not, but realize that two minutes in silence can be awkward at first. Just keep focusing on that passage.
When my mind struggles to focus, I find it useful to read some of the notes on that passage in my study bible during the pause. I know, this may take away from the meditation aspect… but it keeps me in the Word instead of thinking about the pile of laundry or dishes in the sink or how long before I wake the kids… Any time spent in quiet contemplation is good. It does not have to be perfect to be effective.
This is traditionally a Catholic form. Don’t let that steer you away from giving it a shot if you are not Catholic. Prayer and speaking with God are not exclusively Catholic.
We can certainly learn from others different techniques to get our busy minds focused on God and speaking to Jesus.
I pray that the Holy Spirit speaks to you through this and that it helps you connect more deeply with God and His plans for you.