What is Lectio Divina?
You are invited to join me in praying with one of the weekly lectionary texts on my Lectio Divina Podcast page (lectiodivinatodd.com). I have produced this podcast weekly since February of 2009. My listeners have come from over 130 different countries across the globe. So, when you are listening, you are participating in a truly international contemplative movement of the Spirit. This brings me a lot of joy!
If you are interested in learning a bit more about the practice of Lectio Divina and getting some suggestions, the following may be helpful.
“Lectio Divina” is Latin for “holy reading” or “divine reading.” It is an ancient Christian spiritual practice that allows a person to meditate and pray with a brief scripture text. There are many ways to practice Lectio Divina, but all of them include some combination of: opening oneself to God’s spirit in moments of silence and stillness, slowly reading or hearing a passage at least 2-3 times through, listening for a word or phrase, or image or feeling that God is wanting to give you through the text, inwardly savoring or sitting with what is given, allowing a prayer to arise out of the pondering and then returning to God’s presence in wordless rest. As Thomas Keating says, one can approach these elements as consecutive steps, which was the way many folks during the latter Middle Ages approached Lectio, and the way I most often lead it here on the podcast. But, the earliest form of practicing Lectio Divina in the Christian tradition comes from the monastic Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity, in which one allows all of the elements to arise in no particular order, as if they are upon a vast circle which one slowly experiences over and over as one reads the text numerous times. For a more complete description of the distinctions between the two forms of practicing Lectio, see Keating’s article, The Classical Monastic Practice of Lectio Divina.
Some suggestions: Use a journal. Write your word or phrase, image or feeling. Write the prayer you most need to pray. Listen to the podcast with a friend, your family or a small group and then quietly, without intellectualizing or trying to “fix” one another, share with each other what you discovered. Remember that this is a time for listening for our loving God, not a time for squeezing ideas out of scripture or “nailing it down” into one “right” interpretation. God is so economical, that thousands of gifts can come from one small text, and each gift can be exactly unique for each person. You are encouraged also, to share some of your experience by posting comments on the podcast webpage.
Oh, and don’t get too upset when you experience frustration or inner distractions during the quiet. Those are just part of the experience. Simply return back to the text or the word or gift God seems to be giving you, repeating or savoring it and allowing it to sink deeper into your heart. And if a word or gift doesn’t come, simply use this quiet time to rest with God and allow your breathing and just being open to God to be your prayer.
I pray that you find my Lectio Divina podcast helpful for your continued growth in love of God. Let me know how God is reaching you through this activity sometime. Check back to the Podcast page regularly. Again, it is most often updated weekly. Listen and be known by God.
God’s Light and Love,
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
(Photo on this page by Isaac Taylor from Pexels)
13 thoughts on “About the Practice of Lectio Divina”
Wow, Todd. I just happened upon your site as I was hunting for good Advent sites. I just finished listening to your podcast and if this is anything like your other ones, well all I can say is…I am undone by the Presence of God. My husband and I are currently in training to become spiritual directors. We desire to become contemplative/activists as Eugene Peterson says about Jesus. He was both. I look forward to more listening…Blessings, Sandy
Good evening, Sandy! I am quite touched by your words and encouragement. A big smile on my face! Peterson has such an impact on me and on so many of us seeking contemplative-active lives, doesn’t he? Please stay connected here. I would enjoy hearing how our time with the texts weaves nourishment into your life and your husband’s. Warmly, Todd
I am a minister with the Uniting Church in Australia, living and ministering in Perth on the west coast of this great and ancient land.
I found your site a little while ago and really enjoy your lecto divination podcasts. Sometimes I use a podcast when leading a meditation group. Those who attend really appreciate your work. Many thanks and deep blessings
Great to get your note. Thank you. I enjoy the fact that you are occasionally using my podcast with your group! Tell everyone hello from Colorado.
I am hoping that by clicking for notification by email of new posts that I will get your podcasts in my inbox weekly or as you post. Love LectioDivina and appreciate the work you are doing with these podcasts.
Welcome, Traci! I am pleased you are with us. Yes, if you subscribed you should get an email each time I put a new Lectio up. Most of the time it will be weekly. But right now it is more sporadically, as I am taking a three-month sabbatical and doing some traveling. I would enjoy learning more about you. What brings you here? Where do you live? Meanwhile, deepest peace!
Todd, Members of our church have experienced your Lectio Divina podcast for several years. Our pastor, Ray Medeiros, recently wrote to you about us. I have attempted to make a donation to your ministry but each time I fill in the information, including charge card number, it appears all in Arabic! This has happened three times so I do not want to try it again. Is there an address where I can send you an old fashioned paper check? I hope so.
Thank you for all you do.
Good to hear from you. Yes, Ray has shared about your wonderful group. I’m so grateful that you want to make a donation! I’m sorry about the difficulty with it. I’ll have to check into that. If you’d like, you can send it to my home address:
2342 Distinctive Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Again, good to hear from you, Sandra.
Hi again, Sandra. Real quick, where exactly did you encounter the Arabic looking language? I’m trying to find it on my end and haven’t yet. Thank you again for the heads-up, Sandi. And for your generosity.
I love listening to your podcast. I have tried several times to give a donation by Visa but it is not working properly. It keeps flipping to another country instead of the United States. Please tell me what to do.
Thank you so much. I am sorry for the difficulties! Darn. I had a techy friend look into it and it worked. And it did for me as well. If you’d like to send a check instead, here’s my address:
2342 Distinctive Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
But above all, I just thank you for being a part of my podcast.
Your Dec 20th podcast suggesting a retreat in solitude inspired me to use your idea in a slightly different way. January 5th is my birthday. On January 5th 2020 my 14 year old Golden Retriever Finlay passed away making the year even more intolerable. To honor him this Jan 5th, I decided to go to all of his favorite places so that is how I spent the day beginning with the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH. We never missed a blessing of the animals there held in the outdoor chapel and then we would walk on one of the trails. During one service he pointed out a wooly bear caterpillar. He was such a special canine energy. Although I do not think this is what you had in mind when you suggested a retreat in solitude I can’t thank you enough for the idea as my journey was incredibly healing.
What a touching story. Thank you! I am a big dog lover and every single one of mine has an eternal space in my heart. We just had to put down one of my dearest ones, a yellow lab named Bolt, in the fall and I’m still aching for his sweet-goofy ways. (Sigh) Anyway, I am really moved by your retreat day, celebrating Finlay. And so pleased I could be a small part of this holy honoring. Keep in touch, okay?