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Devotional Reading

Devotional Reading/Lectio Divina

(pp 185-190 of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook)

Watch our video on Devotional Reading

"The Word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it"-Deuteronomy 30.14

The practice of Devotional Reading encourages us to prayerfully meditate on God's word through repetition, prayer, meditation, reflection, and contemplation. Devotional Reading has us thinking less about the little details of the passage, and instead centres us on the words and has us asking what God might be saying to us. This practice of Lectio Divina is rooted in ancient tradition-dating back to 5th century when Christians would repeat Gods word over and over. This was in large part due to illiteracy and Bibles being inaccessible to the regular folk, by memorizing scripture they were able to dwell on God's word. Because the Bible is so readily available to us today, we've moved (unintentionally) from this practice and have shifted more into Bible Study model of learning God's Word. With Bible Study we tend to ask a lot of questions about the passage, learning the facts, whereas with Devotional Reading we are less focused on facts and asking questions, and more concerned with hearing how this passage speaks to us in daily living.

There 5 stages of movement for Devotional Reading

  1. Silence- Start by entering into a place of physical and mental silence- push aside the distractions and noise in the world and enter into silence. Invite God into this time

  2. Lectio- Read God's word, read it slowly, recite it out loud. Pay attention to the words or phrases that speak to you. Stop reading and focus on those words/phrase

  3. Meditation- Meditate. Read the passage a second time again out loud. Listen to what God may be saying to you through this passage. Ponder the words that have spoken to you. Write them down or highlight them in your Bible

  4. Oratio- Respond- read through the passage a third time. Spend time in Prayer with God, talking to him about the word that spoke to you. Ask him to help you understand what he's saying to you. Allow yourself to become aware of your feelings and emotions

  5. Contemplate- Contemplate, rest, and wait in the presence of God. As you end your time of lectio divina, allow yourself time to contemplate. Create a reminder of the word or phrase and return to it later in the day or in a few days to see how God has been speaking to you

Reflection Questions

  1. How has your faith been shaped by Bible Study? by Devotional Reading?

  2. How do you experience the differences between Bible Study vs. Devotional Reading?

  3. What is your preferred method to know/learn God's word? Why that method?

  4. What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of doing Devotional reading as opposed to Bible Study (and vice versa)

  5. What is a time when you have really felt God speaking to you through scripture

Spiritual Exercises

Practice Lectio Divina using the 5 stages listed above. Start with a passage that is familiar to you so you don't get caught up wondering about the facts of the passage.

When you read Scripture, read it personally. Insert your name as though God is speaking specifically to you (ie. "He who created you, ________ (say your name)"- Isaiah 43.1-5)

Find a biblical character that really speaks to you and read their stories intentionally and thoughtfully, placing yourself in the story. Listen to what God is saying to you through this character

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