Praying with God’s Word: Lectio Divina

The Sacred Scriptures are an indispensible source and guide for personal spiritual growth. In our Divine Liturgy, the words of Sacred Scripture permeate and animate our prayers. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

An ancient Christian practice for praying with the Bible is called lectio divina (Latin: divine reading). This method of prayer is a great help in deepening one’s relationship with God. In lectio divina, we read and re-read a passage slowly and prayerfully, inviting the Holy Spirit to guide and inspire our prayer. Through this meditation on Scripture we nourish our communion with the One who not only loves us but longs to be one with us.

He speaks to us through his Word, for it is living and effective (Heb 4:12), and has the power to move and transform us. Each one of us can cooperate and open the ears of our hearts, quiet the inner and outer distractions, and pay attention to what is really happening within, and specifically to the areas in our life that God is calling us to change.

The four steps of lectio divina are simple: Read, Reflect, Pray, Act. The duration of each step can be adjusted to each one’s needs and circumstances. A passage from the Bible is selected (possibly the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel). Then the steps below are used as a guide to ponder quietly the passage, allowing the words to penetrate, encourage, challenge and inspire one in becoming a more authentic disciple of Jesus.

1.     Read- Read the passage slowly and thoughtfully.
2.     Reflect- Reread the passage. This time notice what stands out: is there a word or image or a particular verse that resonates with or challenges or consoles you? Ponder it. What is God saying to you?
3.     Pray- After reflecting, pray by listening to God and speaking to Him in your heart. God loves to listen to us and wants to hear what is in our hearts–our feelings, fears, hopes, and the intentions of the people we love and care for.
4.     Act- What resolution or actions are you inspired to make from reading this passage? Think of something realistic and practical e.g. to be more grateful, to be less critical, to be open to seeking counsel and spiritual direction, to spend more time in prayer, to go to Divine Liturgy and Confession more regularly. You may be inspired with other resolutions.
Conclude the lectio divina giving God thanks for this time of prayer.

Let us pray:
O Holy and Immortal Lord sanctify our minds and purify our consciences that we may praise you with pure hearts and listen to your Holy Scriptures. To you be glory, forever. Amen.

For a summary of this see this video link on praying with the Word: 

If you have any further questions, thoughts or need some resources on prayer or spiritual direction please contact the Maronite Servant Sisters at sister@maroniteservants.org or at 508-996-1753.