Reading scripture is something we do as Christians. But that can seem a bit daunting sometimes. There is an ancient practice of reading scripture that anyone can do and receive much spiritual benefit from. Below you'll find a description of how to practice "Dwelling in the Word" or "Lectio Divina". Why not try it during your daily devotions this Advent!
Dwelling in the Word, or Lectio Divina involves reading the scripture passage four times while listening for a particular prompting. You might want to alternate reading the scripture out loud.
In order to practice Lectio Divina, select a time and place that is peaceful and in which you may be alert and prayerfully attentive. Dispose yourself for prayer in whatever way is natural for you. This may be a spoken prayer to God to open you more fully to the Spirit, a gentle relaxation process that focuses on breathing, singing or chanting, or simply a few minutes of silence to empty yourself of thoughts, images, and emotions.
Reading (lectio) - Slowly begin reading a biblical passage as if it were a long awaited love letter addressed to you. Approach it reverentially and expectantly, in a way that savors each word and phrase. Read the passage until you hear a word or phrase that touches you, resonates, attracts or even disturbs you.
Reflecting (meditatio) - Ponder this word or phrase for a few minutes. Let it sink in slowly and deeply until you are resting in it. Listen for what the word or phrase is saying to you at this moment in your life, what it may be offering to you, what it may be demanding of you.
Expressing (oratio) - When you feel ready, openly and honestly express to God the prayers that arise spontaneously within you from your experience of this word or phrase. These may be prayers of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, lament, or praise.
Resting (contemplatio) - Allow yourself to simply rest silently with God for a time in the stillness of your heart remaining open to the quiet fullness of God’s love and peace. This is like the silence of communion between the mother holding her sleeping infant child or between lovers whose communication with each other passes beyond words.
At the end you might just thank God for the gift you have received.