One of the promises that Jesus made to his disciples before his return to his heavenly throne, was that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth (Jn 16:13). The Spirit accomplishes this guidance into truth in several different ways, including devotional reading. One proven method of devotional reading that has helped Christians down through the ages is a method called lectio divina. It is a Latin phrase which means “holy reading” or “prayerful reading.”
Lectio divina works in the following manner:
- Silencio – Prepare your heart to hear from God by slowing down. Get settled and quiet yourself before the Lord. Push out the noise and hurry of life, and focus on God.
- Lectio – Select a passage of Scripture and read it slowly and out loud. Don’t read quickly. Slow down! Pretend God is speaking to you directly.
- Meditatio – Read the passage two or three times, slowly. Let the words sink deep into your heart and mind. Think about what God is saying to you through these words. How do the meaning of the words apply to your life right now?
- Oratio – Pray the passage. Enter into a conversation with God. Be honest and truthful with God about this passage changing your life. Respond from your heart. What is God asking you to do?
- Contemplatio – Rest and relax and wait patiently in the presence of God for a response from God through the Holy Spirit that lives within you. Yield to the Spirit. Ask the Lord to continue to do his transforming work within you throughout the day as you continue to listen. End with a prayer of thanksgiving.
(Adapted from: Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, by J.Scott Duvall & J. Daniel Hays, Zondervan Pub., 2012, pp. 231-232)