One of the most central and ancient practices of Christian prayer is Praying the Scriptures (lectio divina, or divine reading). When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. We stay alert to connections the Spirit may reveal between the passage and what is going on in our lives. We ask, "What are you saying to me today, Lord? What am I to hear in this story, parable, or prophecy?" Listening in this way requires patience and a willingness to let go of our own agendas and open ourselves to God's shaping.
Once we have heard a word that we know is meant for us, we are naturally drawn to prayer. From listening we move to speaking — perhaps in anguish, confession or sorrow; perhaps in joy, praise, thanksgiving, or adoration; perhaps in anger, confusion, or hurt; perhaps in quiet confidence, trust, or surrender. Finally, after pouring out our heart to God, we come to rest simply and deeply in that wonderful, loving presence of God. Reading, reflecting, responding, and resting — this is the basic rhythm of divine reading.
Pick out a portion of scripture (just a few verses is fine) and make some time for quiet. You’ll read the verses three times, listening for a different thing each time.
Try Audio Lectio, an audio meditation using these steps to pray the scripture.
"God comes to the woman who feels in exile in her own marriage. To the man who grieves the loss of life dreams. To the child who lives on the street. To the parents who struggle to feed and clothe their children. To the one whose loneliness or depression intensifies every Christmas." Click to watch video.