Back to Basics: How to do Lectio Divina (Pray Scripture)

Praying the scriptures is an integral part of a Christian’s life. How can someone get to know Jesus and the heart of God without reading His Word? And, although it seems like a “well-kept secret” for us Catholics, praying the Scriptures (Lectio Divina) is a long-time tradition within the Catholic Church. In fact, reading/praying the bible wasn’t just for priests or religious, but for the laity as well.

There are many books on Lectio Divina, but the simplest instructions I found is on the Plain Catholic site (used with permission – italics are my insertions):

How to do Lectio Divina

1. “Take up the Bible in your quiet prayer place. Say a simple prayer such as the opening lines to the Liturgy of the Hours: “God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me. Glory be…” or “Lord open my ears and steady my heart to hear Your Word,” (I like to pray the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ prayer).

2. Open the Bible to the Gospel readings for the day (or other scripture verses that speak to your heart). Slowly and prayerfully read the passages. Imagine yourself listening to Christ Himself, just as Mary did at His feet.

3. Sit with the Scripture you have just read, listening with the ear of your heart (As St. Benedict called it in he Prologue of the Rule). Do not rush it. Simply move through it gently.

4. At the end of the prayer time, thank Jesus and offer praises to the Holy Trinity; offer up your day to Him. (I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be…)
Notes:

The average time for Lectio Divina is 20 minutes (you don’t have to use a timer unless you want/need to). Some days it will take 10 minutes. Other days it will take longer. Give what you can to the Lord and be at peace about it.

When you first begin Lectio Divina, stick with the gospels. They are easier to start with because it will feel more natural to “sit with Jesus’ words and listen to them”. Eventually, you will find the Psalms, Proverbs, and all the New Testament as fertile ground for Lectio Divina.

If you are having difficulty during your prayer time, try to remember that there is no such thing as “wasted prayer time.” If you get distracted, simply offer Jesus that distraction. Do not force yourself into trying to conform what you think they prayer time should look like. Most importantly, do NOT let yourself give into discouragement: instead, do the best you can and give the rest to God.

Listen to the Advice of St. Benedict:

‘LISTEN carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it, that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory’

Therefore, if you don’t already spend a part of your day with the Lord, reading the Bible and praying over God’s Word, I highly encourage you to do so. Even if you can only find 5 minutes to read the Bible, and pray the Scriptures, I promise you, the time will be well worth it.

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REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EDT and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EDT. I hope you will join me! In tomorrow’s FB live, I will be expounding on this topic and giving more detail on the purpose of Lectio Divina and how to get the most of your time out of praying the scriptures.

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

31 Days of Prayer – The Bible

Sundays are sometimes (hopefully!) quieter days with less going on. It is the perfect day to spend some time reading and praying over the scriptures.

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

The Catholic Church encourages us to spend time in “Lectio Divina.” This is a Latin term for slowly, prayerfully, and reflectively reading over the Bible verses. It doesn’t have to be a long time; it just has to be a time of letting the verses speak to the heart.

I have a longer post with step-by-step instructions on how to pray the Scriptures (with a free pdf printable), but here is the gist of process:

  • Find a quiet spot and say a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance and inspiration.
  • Pick a short bible passage to pray over (a part of the Mass readings of the day is good) and read over the passage slowly and gently, imagining yourself present in the passage and listening to the words.
  • After reading the passage, sit in silence and meditation, letting the words wash over you and speak to your heart.
  • When your time is up, say a short prayer of thanksgiving.

Today, begin the wonderful habit of Lectio Divina. If you make it a regular habit, I guarantee it will change your life!

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How to Pray the Scriptures

Praying the scriptures is an integral part of a Christian’s life. How can someone get to know Jesus and the heart of God without reading His Word? And, although it seems like a “well-kept secret” for us Catholics, praying the Scriptures (Lectio Divina) is a long-time tradition within the Catholic Church. In fact, reading/praying the bible wasn’t just for priests or religious, but for the laity as well.

prayscriptures

There are many books on Lectio Divina, but the simplest instructions I found is on the Plain Catholic site (used with permission – italics are my insertions):

How to do Lectio Divina

1. “Take up the Bible in your quiet prayer place. Say a simple prayer such as the opening lines to the Liturgy of the Hours: “God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me. Glory be…” or “Lord open my ears and steady my heart to hear Your Word,” (I like to pray the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ prayer).

2. Open the Bible to the Mass Gospel readings for the day (or other scripture verses that speak to your heart). Slowly and prayerfully read the passages. Imagine yourself listening to Christ Himself, just as Mary did at His feet.

3. Sit with the Scripture you have just read, listening with the ear of your heart (As St. Benedict called it in he Prologue of the Rule). Do not rush it. Simply move through it gently.

4. At the end of the prayer time, thank Jesus and offer praises to the Holy Trinity; offer up your day to Him. (I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be…)

Notes:

The average time for Lectio Divina is 20 minutes (you don’t have to use a timer unless you want/need to). Some days it will take 10 minutes. Other days it will take longer. Give what you can to the Lord and be at peace about it.

When you first begin Lectio Divina, stick with the gospels. They are easier to start with because it will feel more natural to “sit with Jesus’ words and listen to them”. Eventually, you will find the Psalms, Proverbs, and all the New Testament as fertile ground for Lectio Divina.

If you are having difficulty during your prayer time, try to remember that there is no such thing as “wasted prayer time.” If you get distracted, simply offer Jesus that distraction. Do not force yourself into trying to conform what you think they prayer time should look like. Most importantly, do NOT let yourself give into discouragement: instead, do the best you can and give the rest to God.

Listen to the Advice of St. Benedict:

‘LISTEN carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it, that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory’

Therefore, if you don’t already spend a part of your day with the Lord, reading the Bible and praying over God’s Word, I highly encourage you to do so. Even if you can only find 5 minutes to read the Bible, and pray the Scriptures, I promise you, the time will be well worth it. 🙂

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For reference, you can print this post as a pdf here (no opt-in required): How to Pray the Scriptures

Image in Public Domain

Changing Your (My!) Attitude with a Little Gratitude!

Yesterday (Wednesday) wasn’t the best of days. It was bad. It was one of those days where I wished I never got out of bed. Ever have one of those days? I hadn’t slept well the night before, so I woke up tired and cranky and the day went downhill from there:

  • I went into the bathroom and found a HUGE centipede in my tub which snapped me out of my grogginess and completely freaked me out.
  • By 9:30am Andrew had lost all of his stones, and was showing no hope of earning any of them back in the near future (due to several tantrums /  melt-downs, among other issues).
  • Two business appointments didn’t go very well.
  • Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong and it seemed like nothing I did was right.

By the time 2pm rolled around I was ready to crawl back under the covers and never come out. I sent Andrew to his room for quiet time, and curled up on the couch. It was then in the silence of the moment that I realized something. I hadn’t prayed.

I usually make it a point of spending at least ten minutes alone with Lord and His Word everyday. Well, I haven’t made the time to do that this week. It has been a busy week, but that’s really an excuse. I could have taken the time; but, I forgot and I didn’t.

So, while Andrew played in his room, I took up the bible and read this verse (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

Um. Yeah. Not doing that so much. Certainly not praying without ceasing. And I certainly wasn’t giving thanks for the day I was having.

I took out my journal and started writing to the Lord. I have a ‘gratitude journal” but it’s been a long time since I’ve written in it. Anyway, I started writing down all the things I was grateful for. I started with Andrew and all the wonderful things about him. Then I went on to other things I was grateful for. I praised and thanked the Lord and by the end was even thanking Him for the terrible day I was having.

It didn’t take very long; but, those few minutes transformed my thinking and my attitude. Did my day get better? No, not really. But I had a changed perspective.

It’s amazing how reminding ourselves of all the things we have to be grateful for each day can impact our attitude! What about you?  What are you thankful for today?