Lectio Divina is a delightful way to pray through a Bible passage. In our Soul Shepherding ministry, we use an especially refreshing and encouraging approach to this ancient discipline.
The best way to understand Lectio Divina (Latin for “Divine Reading”) is to experience it personally, especially with someone who is experienced with this quiet, reflective, and Spirit-led method. (We mentor you in Lectio Divina as part of our Soul Shepherding Institute.)
To illustrate the benefits of Lectio Divina I (Bill) would like to share with you from my journal of meditating on one of our “Lectio Divina Guides” from Mark’s gospel called “Jesus’ Sabbath Day”
As you’ll see, my journal entry features my responses to the three focus questions (one for each reading of the Bible passage) that we typically use in Lectio Divina.
May the Lord speak to you through his Word and help you to feed off of the fruit of my meditation on Scripture!
Jesus’ Sabbath Day
Mark 1:21-39 (NIV 1984)
1. What is one word or phrase the Holy Spirit impresses on you? Meditate on that.
“Jesus gives orders”
2. Enter into the Scripture passage. What do you feel? What specific situation in your life today relates? Write down a prayer or pray quietly.
Jesus, how did you know what to do and where to go? How did you respond to people’s urgent needs in such a calm, gracious way?
Often I’m unsure what to do next. Often I live scattered, pulled by what I feel or what people want from me in the moment. And when I live that way I’m not at peace. Like yesterday I slipped out of your easy yoke and got caught up in the press of trying to respond to all my e-mails from people and get all my desk work done.
Today I still have this long To-Do List. Thankfully, you’ve helped me to set it aside for this retreat. But after my solitude and silence when I re-engage my work I want to do so without hurry or anxiousness, but led by you in your peace.
3. What is God’s personal invitation for you from the Scripture? You can write down what God may be saying to you or a prayer of thanks. Or rest quietly in God.
This is what I sensed Jesus wanted me to know:
“You think my Sabbath day was not ordered in the way that you’d like to see. The contemplative side of you wants to see me relaxing all day and the activist in you wants to see my accomplishing great work. Let me show you the divine order. Look at the ways the Father cared for me and how I, with him, cared for the people near me.
“I had been walking beside the Sea of Galilee and then into the village of Capernaum. I went to the synagogue with friends to pray and to read and discuss Scripture. I went to Peter’s home and his mother-in-law served us. I got up early and enjoyed quiet solitude with the Father, pouring out my heart to him and listening to his voice.
“At the lake, I invited Andrew, Peter, James, and John to become my disciples. At the synagogue and at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house I responded to the needs of the people, teaching, and healing. I wasn’t straining — I was sharing the Father’s love that I was enjoying. I was following the Father’s orders and ministering in the power of the Spirit.
“I invite you to join the Father’s ordered way. I share with you my orders. It’s an easy Sabbath rhythm of being with the Father continually — resting in his love and responding with his love to the needs of people. A divinely ordered life is a delight.”
Experiencing Lectio Divina
Soul Shepherding’s Lectio Divina Guides are a set of 70+ printable PDF handouts that will guide you or your small group step-by-step in using Lectio Divina with a key Scripture passage. You’ll listen for a word or phrase from the Bible text, engage emotionally with the Lord, listen to how God applies the Word to your life, and rest in the Lord’s embrace of love.
Kristi and Bill would love to personally guide you in the practice of Lectio Divina. You can experience this as part of our Soul Shepherding Institute, which includes an option to earn a certificate in the ministry of Spiritual Direction.
We also offer an online video course, “Lectio Divina For You and Your Ministry.”
Sabbatical For Pastors and Leaders
The best way to learn the practice of Sabbath for pastors and other men and women in ministry is on a Sabbatical. We show you how this can be a reality for you in our Sabbatical Guide.
Listen to SoulTalk episode, Listen: Rest in the Word of Encouragement
Bill opens up about his personal challenges during a recent Sabbath. Rest is difficult for many of us and can often stir things up in our hearts that we have pushed away. Bill honestly shares his journey with rest and how the practice of Lectio Divina guided him in to rest and intimacy with God.