Last updated 11/15/2007 at Noon
The sunset is beautiful tonight. You would never know December is a wink away outside of the noticeable drop in the temperature of the ocean waves cresting over my feet. No, you’d swear it was a summer’s eve as sunbeams make a path across the sea to the heart of the sinking sun. God feels so tangible and warm here. He is also just as available through an ancient prayer form called Lectio Divina, (pronounced lexio diveena) AKA Divine Reading which enables the Bible to become a means of union with God.
There are four basic steps to Lectio: reading of scripture; reflection; spontaneous prayer and then resting in God or contemplation. Beforehand, I let my mind quiet and my body relax, lulled by the breaking surf. I already have the scripture in mind that I want to meditate on. Monastic tradition prefers Lectio be practiced by starting at the beginning of a book in the Bible so that its full meaning isn’t compromised. However, it is quite acceptable to use a scripture that is haunting our hearts or a particular theme such as God’s provision, love or care.
It is my custom to take a few minutes to anticipate the exchange between God and I which I note in my heart will be a deepening of our growing relationship. Tonight I’m going to take a chunk from Psalm 23 reading it slowly and attentively… The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. I could read the whole psalm and wait for a verse to meditate on… but this is where I stop for now. I meditate on the line over in my head in different ways… The Lord is my Shepherd. Oh, Lord you are my shepherd and I shall not want…Then I reflect on how the Lord has been my shepherd, how he has always taken care of my family, been a light to walk by, a security in time of need. This reflection naturally leads to conversation or prayer with God. Thank you Lord, for being with me all the days of my life, for blessing me and taking care of my needs and wants. Praise you for this sunset, this time with you, this beautiful night, my health, my family and wonderful friends… all your provisions. Yes Lord, you are my Shepherd and I have been blessed. Then I just sit in silence before him and let him set ablaze my entire heart with his presence.
As I write this, my heart is filled with that same warmth, because our Savior is poised and ready to save us each day, through our heartaches and triumphs. All we need to do is be committed to the relationship and Lectio is a profound way to strengthen that tie.
Richard Foster states: Contemplative prayer is a loving attentiveness to God which leads to union with God. This union brings about full-personhood—we become all that God created us to be.
Give Lectio a spin. Why would you want to miss a ride like this?