Lectio Divina is not scary.
The very fact that it has a Latin name is enough to put people off, the Latin names for the four, five or six parts that make it up are offputting too.
The technical and theological language used to describe it sound difficult. But it is easy. I have a theory that theologians do not like easy and are a major barrier between ordinary people and God. But I digress.
As an autistic person, I love the quiet in this type of prayer. It is an antidote to the busyness of church.
All Lectio Divina consists of is reading a passage of the Bible slowly, whilst asking God to speak to you. That’s it, there is nothing else.
So why four to six parts?
The first is because you may need to prepare yourself, you are going to read slowly and listen to God. So find a quiet comfortable place and say a simple prayer such as, “Holy Spirit speak to me as I read.” It does not need to be longer than that. In any case, if your attitude is listening while you read this step is optional. That is Prepario, or preparation dealt with.
Then you read slowly through the passage, not speed reading, but a slow conversational speed is slow enough, practice reading out loud at first. Did any phrase in the reading stand out? If not then you have finished. That is it. I told you it was easy. That is the Lectio or reading step, the only part that isn’t optional.
Prayer is both talking and listening to God. If you have got something from the text, a phrase or even just a single word such as hope, say a prayer of thanks to God for what you have found. “Lord, I thank you for your hope,” or, “Holy Spirit give me hope,” is enough. Do not make being with God harder than it needs to be. That is the Oratio or prayer step. This again depends on your circumstances, sometimes it may be right to skip this, or do it after the next step…
Think about it. Hold on to the phrase or word lightly, tangents may not be a bad thing here, and consider it from different angles. This is not a critical Bible study (which in itself is a good thing to be done separately from Lectio Divina) we are trying to listen to the Holy Spirit speak to us, so do not be too critical of the text. After this, you may be led into further prayer, or into prayer, if you have not done it earlier. That is Meditiatio in Latin or meditation.
I said it was easy. I lied. This is the difficult bit. Be quiet, Do nothing. Doing nothing does not come naturally. Resting in God’s presence is the goal here. That in Latin is Contemplatio, or contemplation.
Has anything come to mind that you need to do during this? To go to visit someone, to forgive or ask for forgiveness or to confess something. Or you could be full of God’s love and want to adore him. Do it.