By Linda Harmon
Lectio Divina (divine reading) is a method of prayer I have studied and attempted to learn for quite some time. I loved hearing stories of people who successfully practiced Lectio Divina, and I wanted to experience this prayer too. I read books and searched the internet for how to pray Lectio Divina – and I practiced the steps for doing the prayer, however I never felt like I connected with this type of prayer. Recently, I attended a workshop on praying Lectio Divina and my experience with this prayer changed — I had a breakthrough with Lectio Divina.
The workshop appealed to me because I personally knew the leader, Fr. Jonathan Kelly, and I thought he might be able to help me connect with what I felt I was missing with Lectio Divina. To my surprise, it wasn’t what Fr. Kelly had to say but what I experienced when my small group practiced Lectio Divina together! I was surprised because I believed Lectio Divina to be a personal prayer, and I was skeptical about our success when we were asked to practice the prayer as a group. Instead, I witnessed each person hear a different message as they reflected on the same gospel passage. What I had always been told – that God speaks to each of us, individually, through scripture – was playing out in front of me. Somehow, by hearing the different and unique messages of others, it convinced me that the message I was hearing was truly a message for me from God.
I also realized from this workshop that a critical key for me to be successful at Lectio Divina is to be sure I am absolutely open to hearing God speak to me. The skepticism I carried into the group practice could be a clue to why I had not been successful on my own. Perhaps there was some spiritual warfare keeping me from my goal? For me, clearing my mind and being present to God before, during, and after I pray is critical for me to feel connected to God.
Whether you are new to Lectio Divina, a master, or someone like myself who was trying to grasp what she was missing, I would encourage you to attend one of Fr. Kelly’s upcoming workshops.