Praying The Scriptures: Lectio Divina
This has been an amazing week at The Awakening Institute, as we have launched our FaceBook Live ministry, which consists of morning devotionals each weekday morning Monday-Friday from 7:30-7:45am, as well as our Wednesday Evening Worship and Word from 6:30-7:30pm. What a blessing it is to have hundreds of you join us for our first two live experiences held on Wednesday Feb, 13th and Monday Feb.18th. These, as well as each of our live events can be found at www.facebook.com/pastor.gene.7.
This week, as part of our series on spiritual disciplines, practices, and holy habits we will consider the practice of Lectio Divina (Spiritual Reading or Praying the Scriptures).
Lectio Divina 1
(Reading God’s Word from Our Spiritual Center or Praying the Scriptures)
Lectio Divina is an ancient practice that is a beautiful way to pray the Scriptures. This is a way of reading God’s Word from our spiritual center in such a manner that the Word moves through our entire being, gradually and gently bringing us to a contemplative, with God, knowing and being. This does not stand in contrast to reading God’s Word by way of study from an intellectual center. I have found such study to be quite enlightening and gratifying. However, the way of study alone does not take us as far as we can toward a complete immersion into God’s Word. Praying the Scriptures combined with studying the Scriptures brings our experience of God’s Word to a new level of wholeness that goes beyond the informational to now include the transformational. The effectiveness of studying the Scriptures is limited to our individual capacity to grasp such things as information, concepts, language, and history. Whereas, Lectio Divina is relational, in that it promotes communion with God and a contemplative (with God) way of knowing and being. This both compliments and transcends our study of the Scriptures alone. In short, the study of Scripture, as it is generally practiced, is limited to our own finitude, whereas, lectio divina is a way to become better open, non-judgmental and in the moment, where the light of our humanity, as those who are created in the image and likeness of God, is drawn to and touched by the glorious light of God. Studying the Scriptures is of great importance, but there is a point when the study of Scriptures can become stagnant and fruitless if we fail to pray the Scriptures from our spiritual center. In short, information must be completed by transformation if we are going to experience God’s Word fully. To some extent the accumulation of information is by our own effort and will, whereas transformation occurs by a way of being that can only take place within an ever deepening relationship with God, in Christ Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, such transformation is by God’s grace. Lectio Divina, praying the Scriptures, promotes just such a relationship, thus makes our immersion into God’s Word living, effectual 2, sharp and piercing, at a soul and spirit level, which has a profound positive effect on our mind, thus our thoughts (see Hebrews 4:12). Thus, Lectio Divina can be transformational for every aspect of the human being; spirit, soul, mind and body. God’s Word is then not merely being studied, but is known as the “Living Word”, which it is.
Lectio is primarily a process of encounter; it is about surrender to Truth, It is a seeking of God and God’s own word within the scripture…Lectio’s design facilitates an encounter with the living God in such a way that we gradually are transformed into Christ’s own likeness.
Norveen Vest, Gathered in the Word, pgs.13-14
Traditionally, the practice of Lectio Divina is comprised of four interlocking movements, which build upon one another, leading the person who is praying toward a contemplative (with God) way of being that is of course profoundly transformational. These four movements are 1) Lectio (reading), 2) Meditatio (meditation), 3) oratio (prayer), and 4) contemplatio (contemplation). At the Awakening Institute we have found it fruitful to allow for two kinds contemplative movement. The first employs a sanctified imagination where we live and experience the Scriptures. The second is an immersion that includes a kenotic, letting go, of all we think, we know of God that we may simply rest in the unknowable mystery of God’s presence and glory.
May God Bless You All, Gene Yotka
1 The Awakening Institute is offers a 3 hour seminar/workshop titled “Lectio Dina; Praying the Scriptures”. For details please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.theawakeninginstitute.com
2 From the Greek word evnergh.j (energace), from which we get our English word energy, is translated effective, effectual, active, and powerful in various translations
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