A very ancient tradition of Christian meditation was introduced in the 4th century and used extensively in the monastic tradition. It is also slowly becoming known in the Protestant Church. It is called the Lectio Divina, or literally the “sacred reading” of scripture. Richard Foster calls it “reading with the heart” and sees it as a very worthwhile approach to meditating on the Word. I have found it helpful because it uses Scripture as the focus of our meditation and not the “empty mind” meditation popularized by Eastern Religion.
The Lectio Divina is composed of four parts; not necessarily consecutive steps but integrative parts of a whole process:
- Lectio– The chosen text is read out loud, slowly and deliberately.
- Meditatio– As you read, stop at a word or phrase that somehow grabs your attention. Reflect on these, ponder them as God’s Word to you, and listen to His voice in this Word.
- Oratio– Respond to God in prayer; turn His Word as a prayer back to Him; thank Him for how he revealed Himself to you or perhaps uncovered your secrets; or pray about anything else that this passage has brought to mind.
- Contemplatio– Remain silent in the presence of God, in humility and gratitude. “Simply being present to God in loving communion serves as the exclamation point to the meditative moment.” (Demarest, p. 137)
So here is a suggested assignment for the next week; spend 15 minutes each day applying the Lectio to the following brief passages from the Psalms. For those of you who journal, keep track of what God is saying to you through His Word. May God bless you with a deeper awareness of His presence in your life this week.