Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina


Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of slowly, contemplatively reading the words of Scripture, an invitation to savor God’s Word as we are nourished, fed, and refreshed in His holy presence.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (Colossians 3:16a)



Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of slowly and contemplatively reading the words of Scripture, an invitation to slow down and experience God’s Word deeply, to be nourished, fed, and refreshed by the words of Scripture, and to be fully present with a holy God. Lectio Divina is a gentle invitation to talk with God in prayer.

As we step into the practice of holy reading, we begin to discover the underlying spiritual rhythm of our lives, a rhythm steeped in the creation of the world. Day follows night. Tides rise and fall. Months and seasons change with the waxing and waning of the moon. New life is celebrated even in the midst of significant loss.

Lectio Divina is practiced in five stages:

  1. Silence
  2. Reading
  3. Meditation
  4. Prayer
  5. Contemplation



The best way to learn a new practice is through experience, so let’s begin with the beautiful words of Isaiah 58:11.


The Lord will guide you always,

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.




Choose a quiet place, settle into a comfortable position, close your eyes, and allow the distractions of the day — all those voices clamoring for your attention — to quiet. Feel your shoulders relax. Notice the rhythmic beating of your heart. Lean into the presence of God as you breathe in. As you breathe out, release the burdens, pressures, and fears of your day.




Slowly read the words of Isaiah 58:11. Focus on each word. Allow yourself to be with God in the words. Listen for a word or phrase that captures your attention. Underline, circle, or highlight that word or phrase.


The Lord will guide you always,

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.




Meditation is our response to God’s Word. Use these questions to help you begin.

  • What word or phrase caught your attention? Why?
  • What does that word or phrase mean to you?
  • Is there something you sense God asking you to change?
  • Is there someone you need to forgive?
  • Might there be something you need to release?




There is no right or wrong way to pray. Prayer is simply, profoundly, mysteriously, intimately, powerfully how we enter into the presence of God. Sometimes we come with words, sometimes with the groanings of our hearts.

In prayer, it’s OK to:

  • wrestle with God
  • ask, seek, or plead with Him
  • thank Him
  • pause in wonder and awe
  • sing
  • worship
  • weep
  • hold God at arm’s length
  • lean close with no words at all

Sometimes it helps to enter into prayer through the words of others:

You are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light, and causes me to know your truth.

Saint Catherine of Siena

Lord, come as sweet, healing oil
into my weary mind,
my bruised heart
and my dried-up soul.

Ulrick Schaffer

O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You.
Let Your mighty calmness reign in me.
Rule me, O King of gentleness, King of peace.
Give me control, the great power of self-control:
Control over my words, thoughts and actions.
From all irritability, lack of meekness, lack of gentleness,
         dear Lord, deliver me.
By Your own deep patience, give me patience.
Make me in this and all things more and more like You.

Saint John of the Cross


Contemplation is the stage of surrender, when we lean into God’s presence. It is a deep, intimate place of quiet rest in the presence of the One who spoke all of creation into being, who formed man from the dust of the earth, who formed Eve from Adam’s rib, and who breathed life into us.

Lectio Divina is an invitation to lean into God’s deep love for us as we encounter Him in His Word, a growing awareness of His presence in every moment, breath, and heartbeat of our lives.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina

An ancient practice of slowly, contemplatively reading the words of Scripture.

Loving God, please grant me peace of mind and calm my troubled heart.

My soul is like a turbulent sea. I can’t seem to find my balance, so I stumble and worry constantly.

Give me strength and clarity of mind to find my purpose and walk the path you’ve laid out for me.

I trust your love, God, and know that You will heal this stress.

Just as the sun rises each day against the dark of night, please bring me clarity with the light, God.


Verses to Comfort and Encourage

Verses to Comfort and Encourage

The most significant thing we can do when we’re lonely, anxious, afraid, or overwhelmed is to turn to the One who knows us and loves us completely – the God of all comfort.


An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

Micheal Casey

Discover a spiritual and prayerful approach to reading scripture. Readers will find his application of traditional imagery of a spiral journey into the depths of Scripture particularly illuminating as a guide to reading sacred texts. That a spiral journey is marked by repetition leads Casey to remark that "there is a kind of monotony that is not boredom but paves the way to a more profound experience."

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An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush

Mary Margaret Funk 

Sister Mary Margaret's describes the process and combines her personal life and everyday practice with the history and the theory of lectio divina. She suggests "sustained lectio." Often Lectio is seen as taking a text, meditating on it, praying about it and moving on to the next text. Her suggestion is that the reader take a text and stay with the text for a longer period. She also includes art, music, and talking with others about the text to savor the text.

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An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina

Thelma Hall

This book is a great for both those who are familiar with and new to the practice of lectio divina. Discover a step-by-step guide for being nourished deeply by scripture, allowing the rhythm of meditation of a word of phrase will guide you to experience a deeper level of spirituality .

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An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina

Jan Johnson

Jesus is speaking to us here and now. Lectio divina is a practice of Scripture reading that treats the Bible not only as a text to be examined, but also as the living Word of God spoken anew to us. Discover forty Scripture meditations, organized topically, giving us the tools we need to practice lectio divina on our own.

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An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer

David G. Benner

Prayer is not merely something we do; prayer is what God does in us. Benner invites us to discover openness to God as the essence of prayer, spirituality, and the Christian life. Using the four movements of lectio divina, he explores prayer as attending, pondering, responding, and being. He opens us to a world of possibilities for communion with God: praying with our senses, with imagination, music and creativity, and much more.

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