Lectio Divina–A Form of Scriptural Reading, Meditation, and Prayer

Sep 18, 2022

Friends, I’m pleased to introduce you to an emerging writer (who also happens to be my niece) Brenna Nail. Here, she shares her first experience with Lectio Divina, a form of Sacred Reading. Discover how God met her during her prayerful reading of Scripture.

by Brenna Nail

As a 21-year-old wife and mother, the term Lectio Divina, Latin for divine reading, was foreign to me until a week ago: even though I grew up studying the Bible and attending church. I started to do some digging for this piece. Derived from the Latin term “spiritual reading,” Lectio Divina is a method of quiet contemplation and prayer while reading the Bible. This practice has four fundamental principles: lectio (read), meditation (reflect), oratio (respond), and contemplation (rest).

Starting with lectio, choose a small portion of Scripture: a few verses or a short passage. Then, reflect on how the verses can apply to your life through the next step, meditatio. After that, oratio invites you to converse with God through prayer: asking Christ to work within you. Pray while still continuing to slowly and methodically read through your chosen verses. The last step, contemplatio, encourages you to quiet your mind, silence the busy thoughts that overtake your day-to-day life, and actively listen to God and rest in Him.

It can be difficult to notice what God is speaking to us in our busy routines. Lectio Divina positions us to hear God’s still, small voice and focus on prayer guided by Scripture. By going to a quiet space and opening your heart and mind through prayer, it is easier to focus on your relationship with Christ while reading His Word.

When practicing Lectio Divina, it is vital to utilize discernment when listening for God’s voice and consistently weigh your thoughts against Scripture and God’s character. I try to remember that my feelings are sometimes separate from God’s will, and Satan occasionally uses emotions to cloud my judgment. When God speaks to us, He will never contradict the Bible’s teachings since that is His perfect written love letter to his children.

As you ask for guidance and discernment while going through the passage you have chosen, remain open to what He is trying to tell you. Also, ask God to open your heart to receive His message. Pray that He will apply His Word to your day-to-day life. Along with prayer, have a quiet, reflective time where you focus on your chosen verses. The goal is to connect with Jesus, and one of the best ways to do that is by reading His Word.

For example, I might go into my room during my daughter’s nap so I am free of any distractions. Then I choose the verses Matthew 6:31-34 (NASB)

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I try my best to focus on the verses I am reading and read through them as often as I feel necessary. I grasp the meaning and realize I am filled with worry. I worry about my husband’s search for a job, my daughter’s health, and my diagnosis. I realize that I am just like the Gentiles in verse 32: worrying about earthly problems that an all-powerful God can take care of. We all worry at times, and I am sure many can relate to my struggle. The last verse sticks out to me the most, so I continue to read through it and begin to pray. Every prayer looks different, but I pray that the peace of God would wash over me, that He would release me from the burden of worry and help me to rely on Him fully. I pray that God would help strengthen my faith in Him and seek Him first in everything I do, whether raising my daughter to know Christ or modeling the love of Jesus to my husband and the people I come in contact with throughout my week. Then, I try my best to quiet my mind and sit in the presence of the Lord.

You may not hear literal words. I didn’t, but that’s ok. You have God’s Word right in front of you. You may just have a feeling of peace wash over you; that is one way God communicates with us. He can be a  still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13). All we have to do is open our hearts and quiet our thoughts to hear Him.

Brenna Nail is a Jesus follower and a 21-year-old Liberty University student majoring in English and Creative Writing and minoring in Apologetics and Christian Counseling. She is also a wife and stay-at-home mother.