For many Christians, praying daily with scripture is an important devotional practice. There are a number of ways to do this. One of the easiest and most portable is to use the Irish Jesuit’s Sacred Space 2019 prayer book or find it free on their website (www.sacredspace.ie). They include a short snippet of scripture from the daily lectionary — scriptures chosen to be read in churches and homes worldwide — with suggestions for points of reflection. You can read it daily with the book or online at your computer or smartphone and use it for the practice of lectio divina (“prayerful reading”) as outlined below.
Here’s another structure to help you do lectio divina with any scripture. I’m posting today’s lectionary passage for your reflection. Why not try lectio and also check out Sacred Space 2019 to see the options you have for praying with scripture?
Revelation 22:12-16 The Message (MSG)
12-13 “Yes, I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon! I’m bringing my payroll with me. I’ll pay all people in full for their life’s work. I’m A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.
14-15 “How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they’ll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters — all who love and live lies.
16 “I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star.”The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
- Step One: Silencio. Become still and quiet within. Silently turn all your thoughts and desires over to God. Let go of concerns, worries or agendas. Just be for a few minutes.
- Step Two: Lectio. Read the passage slowly and carefully, either aloud or silently. Reread it. Be alert to any word, phase or image that seems to have energy for you. It could be a word that invites you; a phrase that puzzles you; an image that intrigues you. Wait for this word, phrase or image to speak to you, but do not rush or force it. Read the passage as many times as you like.
- Step Three: Meditatio. Take whatever word, phrase or image from the passage that has energy for you and allow yourself to ponder it in your heart. Repeat it to yourself like a mantra. Allow this word, phrase or image to interact with your deepest self — your thoughts, desires, memories. Let it speak to your life.
- Step Four: Oratio. Let your soul be deeply in prayer, allowing God to transform us by the word, phrase or image from scripture. Let your feelings be open and honest with God. Let your heart be in dialogue with God. Consider how this word, phrase or image connects with your life today. How is God present to you in it?
- Step Five: Contemplatio. Rest silently in the presence of God. Move beyond words, phrases or images. Enjoy the freedom that comes in contemplation.
- If you want, write about this prayer experience in a journal. What is your word, phrase or image? What does God reveal to you in it? What does it have to say about your life right now?
I hope you find this ancient practice meaningful this Advent season. Be sure to use it year round, as it is a wonderful way to encounter the Holy in scripture, poems and other short writings.