Lectio Divina

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A prayerful way to read Scripture

This method of prayer was introduced by Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century. It is used now by many Christians who want to use Scripture to pray as it enables the words to be taken in and reflected on and in so doing to find them a source of spiritual strength and intimacy with God.

This is not Bible study and it requires an intention to put reason and learning to one side and to listen to what you hear.

Allow 20 mins at minimum and take a section of Scripture, ideally something from the Psalms, the Gospels or a letter of Paul. Keep it short and if it is a whole story, it needs to be comfortably read 4 times, say 10-15 verses ( suggestions at the end of the page).

Find somewhere quiet and turn off the phone. Have a pen and paper to hand. Get comfortable, but not so comfortable that you might fall asleep. You may find a lit candle helps you to focus your mind and also is a reminder of God's presence with you. When you are ready, continue with the following steps

  1. Lectio (read)

    Read the passage out loud, slowly. In your slow reading you might notice one or two words or phrases stand out to you.

  2. Meditatio (reflect) 

    On the second reading you may reflect on the words or phrases which spoke to you before. Take as long as you like over this.

  3. Oratio (respond)

    Read the passage for a third time.

    This time make a note of your responses to the words or phrases. You may notice something about the person of Jesus or the nature of God, or the words may challenge you about some aspect of yourself. Write this down and use it as a way into prayer.

  4. Contemplatio (rest)

Read the passage again and this time spend abut 10mins in contemplation.

If you manage to do this fairly regularly, you will find a rhythm and meaning which deepens your relationship with God.

Suggested passages of Scripture for use with Lectio Divina

Luke 10 v 38 – 42

Matthew 5 v 14 – 16

Matthew 5 v 19 – 21

John 8 v 2 – 11

Psalm 46 v 1

The Parish of St Leonard, Hythe 

Oak Walk 



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