Actively Listening to the Divine
Through the ancient spiritual practice of Lectio Divina we can quiet our hearts and minds in order to better hear what God might be saying to us. It takes discipline and time. But dedicating ourselves to actively listening can lead to discovering the mystery that is God's Spirit stirring deep within us.
Did you know that approximately 75 percent of our thoughts are self-sabotaging? They run on a loop in our minds over and over. Lectio Divina offers us the opportunity to capture those thoughts and offer them to God. By doing so, we can focus on the truth God is speaking into our hearts and minds on a regular basis.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." — 2 Corinthians 10:5
What is Lectio Divina?
Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual practice from the Christian monastic tradition. Its title derives from the Latin words meaning "reading" and "divine/holy".
In Lectio Divina, we seek to experience the presence of God through reading and listening, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Instead of trying harder, we simply sit still and abide in Christ. This oftentimes can be the most difficult thing for us to do—especially in a loud, hectic world that constantly cries for us to produce more.
"There is something mysterious and hidden about the way the Kingdom of God works." — Jason English
Consider carving out one hour each week to fully practice this discipline. Take your time as you work through the six specific steps. Try to limit your phone use to reading Scripture or for emergencies only. And enjoy discovering the thoughts and dreams God begins to stir within you.
Selection Begin by choosing a section of Scripture that you would like to read and pray. Try not to set a goal for how much content you will cover; the goal is to listen for God and to experience His presence.
Preparation Do what you must to quiet and prepare yourself to hear from God. If you need to find a quiet place, sit in silence for several minutes, or sit in a comfortable chair. Take whatever posture you can that will help you prepare to receive and experience God’s presence.
Reading/Listening When you sense that your heart is prepared, begin by slowly reading the passage of Scripture that you have selected. Move slowly through sentences and phrases. As you read, pay attention to what word, phrase, or idea catches your attention.
Meditation Next, begin to meditate on the word, phrase, or idea that has captured your attention. Repeat it again and again. Consider: What thoughts come to mind as you meditate on this word, phrase, or idea? What are you reminded of in your life? What does it make you hope for? Meditation is no easy task—as you try to concentrate don’t be disappointed if random thoughts enter your head. As they do, offer them to God.
Prayer Now begin to speak to God. Tell God what word, phrase, or idea captured your attention and what came to mind as you meditated upon it. How is God using this word, phrase, or idea to bless and transform you? Tell God what you have been thinking and feeling as you’ve listened and meditated. Tell God how you hope this word, phrase, or idea will change your heart to be more like His.
Contemplation Finish by focusing your attention on God’s presence being with you. If as you try to focus on God’s presence you sense a need to read the text again, to continue meditating, or to simply continue talking with God, allow yourself to do so. As you do, know that you are in the presence of God.
Like any change in discipline, it will take some time for this spiritual practice to take root in your life. Be patient. Be diligent. And embrace every minute you spend experiencing the mystery of God's Kingdom.
Pastor Jason shared more about Lectio Divina during a recent teaching. You can listen to it here:
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