The Daily Office: Day 28- Our Shepherd—Lectio Divina

Silence for 2-5 minutes:

If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.


Bible study is essential for every Christian.  It is a wonderful thing to “master the text.”  We need to regularly engage in this practice. 


Scripture:  Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Reading:

Lectio divina (sacred reading) is focused on letting the text master us, internalizing the word of Christ and then acting upon it.  The believer in a sense is both reading and praying the scriptures.   Through lectio divina we seek an encounter with God in the depths of our being.  We read scripture for spiritual formation and become receptive to God’s loving call of grace.   It is the fulfillment of Paul’s admonition: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  It is obeying the admonition to meditate upon the scriptures day and night.  (Psalm 1)


What is Involved: (by Richard Peace)

Reading/Listening:  Read aloud a short passage of scripture.  As you read, listen for the word or phrase that speaks to you.  What is the Spirit drawing your attention to? 


Meditating:   Repeat aloud the word or phrase to which you are drawn.  Make connections between it and your life.  What is God saying to you by means of this word or phrase?


Praying:  Now take these thoughts and offer them back to God in prayer, giving thanks, asking for guidance, asking for forgiveness, and resting in God’s love.  What is god leading you to pray? 


Contemplating:  Move from the activity of prayer to the stillness of contemplation.  Simply rest in God’s presence.  Stay open to God.  Listen to God.  Remain in peace and silence before God.  How is God revealing himself to you?


The Process:  Practice lectio divina with Psalm 23.

1.  Prepare by quieting yourself to listen to God’s word.

2. Listen to the Word of God.

  • As the passage is read twice, listen for the word or phrase that strikes you.  During the silence, repeat that phrase softly or silently to yourself.

  • Then, when invited say aloud to the group this word or phrase without comment or elaboration.

3.  Ask, “How is my life touched by this word?”

4. The passage is read again, This is followed by personal meditation on how this word or phrase connects to your life.

5. When invited, state in one or two sentences the connection between the phrase and your life.

6. Ask, “Is there an invitation for me to respond to?”  After the passage is read a third time, ponder whether you are being encouraged to do something in response.  Share this with others.

7. Pray for one another.

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