(Holy or Divine Reading)
Lectio involves a slow, reflective reading of Scripture that offers a way of opening to God’s initiative. It is prayerfully dwelling on a passage of Scripture, reading the text and responding with periods of silence, in order to be read by it.
“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”’ - Joshua 1:8
“Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.” - Luke 8:18
“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” - Luke 2:19
“For the word of God is living and active.” - Heb. 4:12
You will want to choose a short passage of Scripture, around eight verses in length if it’s a story and even less if it’s prose. Isaiah 43:1-4, Matthew 14:22-33, or Mark 10:46-52 are good places to begin. Then, spend your time with the text in five movements:
Silence – A quiet preparation of the heart, two to five minutes. A time to slow down and pray, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Read – Read the passage aloud, twice, slowly, listening for a word or phrase that catches your attention. This might be a word that stands out from all the rest that brings about either a deep sense of resonance or resistance. After the readings, allow for a minute of silence and remain with this word or phrase. After the silence, if in a group, have each one simply speak the word or phrase aloud, without comment or elaboration.
Reflect – Read the passage aloud again, pondering your word or phrase, listening for where it intersects with your life. What in your life needed to hear this word or phrase today? Why do you think the Spirit brought it to your attention? After a minute or two of silence, if in a group, go around and share your reflections in a few brief sentences. Do not comment on another’s sharing, just listen prayerfully.
Respond – Read the passage aloud again, listening this time for God’s invitation to you, through your word or phrase. Allow for silent reflection. Is God calling you to thanksgiving, confession, obedience, trust, conversation, etc.? Share briefly with the group, again, without comment by others.
Rest – Read a final time and simply rest, and wait quietly in the presence of God, enjoying his presence, receiving his love, and trusting that he will enable you to actually do what he is inviting you to do. After the silence, pray for the person on your right. If alone, close with the Lord’s Prayer.