Pastor’s Blog June/July 2020

Jun 3, 2020 by

One of the most basic and ancient forms of prayer in the Christian tradition is known as Lectio Divina – “divine reading” or praying through the Scriptures. In Lectio Divina, one chooses a Scripture text, often part or all of a Psalm, and lets the words of the text be one’s prayer. A good way to begin Lectio is to start with Psalm 1 and pray through all the Psalms gradually, over time. Sometimes, the words of a Scripture text will feel like one’s own words to God; often they will feel like God’s words to oneself. The important point is to listen deeply for a “word” from God that speaks to you in your present context – where you are right now in your life and in your spiritual journey. Here are some helpful tips for praying the Scriptures: first, find a quiet place or corner that is conducive to prayer. Secondly, get into a comfortable position, sitting up enough to enable uninhibited breathing, for this helps us relax. Thirdly, take a moment to become aware of God’s presence with you, trusting in God’s unconditional, deep love for you. Fourth, begin to pray slowly and attentively through a Scripture text. There is no need to finish reading an entire text; just choose short texts or sections. If a particular word or phrase speaks to you in a special way, pause a moment and sit with that until you are ready to move on. If you do not hear a word spoken specifically to you at the moment, be accepting of that, too. It is okay. In that case, simply be peacefully present with God and know that God is working lovingly in you now, even if you are unaware of it. Finally, put down your experience and insights in a journal, in any form you wish, perhaps using incomplete sentences, phrases, sketches, or watercolors, etc. Over time, we tend to forget details. These recordings can prove to be rich gifts to which to return later. The goal of prayer is not to have a particular or warm experience. God may grant us that sometimes, but that is merely a by-product. The main goal is to adore, commune with, and delight in God and to allow God to work in us, helping, growing, healing, and guiding us. Remember that Lectio Divina is a natural way of prayer, and that the Holy Spirit will teach us and guide us. Even so, we need to test our discernment frequently against the wisdom of the Body of Christ, so working with a spiritual director, pastor, or small covenant group is invaluable. If you become troubled over a particular “word” you think you may have heard in your prayer, but it doesn’t feel right, seek out a spiritual director or wise person of prayer in your church and ask for guidance. When we show up regularly for prayer – even if it’s only for 10 to 15 minutes a day – we are working with God’s grace and will be richly blessed! Next time, we will continue discussing kataphatic prayer.

Wishing you God’s Grace and Peace,

Betsy Caudill

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