Tag Archives: lectio divina

My Breakthrough with Lectio Divina

January 26, 2017

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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.

Linda Harmon

Linda Harmon

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.

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Promised yourself you’d pray daily? Help is here

October 11, 2015

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Sacred ReadingHow many times have you told yourself you’re going to do it this time, you’re going to take time to pray every day, no matter what?

“Sacred Reading: The 2016 Guide to Daily Prayer” will help you keep your promise. It’s a page-a-day, affordable paperback ($15.95) that eases users into reflecting on how they are following Jesus Christ in everyday life, challenges with thoughtful questions and prompts prayer to flow naturally.

Published by the Apostleship of Prayer through Ave Maria Press at Notre Dame, “Sacred Reading” offers a simplified wrinkle on “lectio divina,” and, if you’ve been put off by the Latin name of that approach to prayer, fear not, this is for you.

This version offers six steps — steps repeated each day so you’re not paging back to the introduction — that are extremely easy to follow:

  1. Know that God is present with you and ready to converse. This puts you in the frame of mind to pray well.
  2. Read the Gospel. The day’s Gospel is printed for each day. No need to find your Bible or buy another resource.
  3. Notice what you think and feel as you read the Gospel. This is the “lectio divina” piece that is so key to prompting one to reflect on gospel-based values. Here is one example: “The disciples were blessed to see Jesus, to hear and touch him. They recognized him instantly. Do we? Or are we often too self-absorbed and skeptical to see the Lord at work in our lives? As you read this Gospel, what impression does it leave with you?”
  4. Pray as you are led for yourself and others. It’s conversing with God, sometimes thanking, sometimes praising, sometimes questioning, asking, sharing what’s troubling you, and doing the same for others.
  5. Listen to Jesus. What is he saying to you through this Gospel?
  6. Ask God to show you how to live today. This is the call to action. How will you react?

Here’s an example of how one is guided into prayer:

“Lord, I repent of my sins so that you can come to me. Show me the ways I resist your love, help me to forsake all habits of sin, and give me grace to . . . (Continue in your own words.)”

And here’s a sample of an action step:

“Lord, lead me to do something today that is pleasing to you, perhaps something I have never done or even thought of doing. Glory to you, Lord. Amen.”

Now here is an important point. “Sacred Readings” starts with the beginning of the church year, the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29. Don’t wait for the new calendar year to start keeping that promise to pray every day.

 

 

 

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