Welcome to our third week of exploring the practice of Lectio Divina. We hope you’re filling up the pages in your journal and drawing closer to God’s presence in ways you haven’t experienced before!
Let’s gather with those who’ve come along on the journey for lunch and fellowship, with His Word as the centerpiece.
Lord, we are so grateful for the Way You made for us to enter Your presence and to connect with Your people by the power of the Holy Spirit. Bless our gathering today. Reveal Yourself to us.
Basically there are four components that make up lectio: reading, thinking, praying, and living.
–David Crowder, Praise Habit
Lectio Divina is a prayerful meditation on God’s Word with the purpose of experiencing God in a personal way and increasing our understanding of living out Scripture — making the Word flesh in our lives just like Jesus.
Our Scripture focus for the month is a single verse:
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth!
This past week we asked you to listen for the questions which rose from your time of being present to God in your reading of Psalm 46:10 then turn those questions into prayer.
As you presented yourself to His Word this week, what questions came to mind?
How did it feel to question God about His Word?
Did you hear Him respond to your questions? How?
Some questions cannot be answered with a simple reply. Others take time. Some may never be answered.
How do you respond when you can’t seem to find the answer to hard questions?
How are you in the waiting?
What happens within your spirit when you think: “There is no answer to this.”?
We serve a God far greater than anything we can imagine: His thoughts are beyond our comprehension and His ways so much more complex than ours (Isaiah 55:8). He knows there are some things impossible for us to understand. Unanswered questions will be a reality in our relationship with Him. How we handle the silence can move us closer to God or push us away from Him.
How do unanswered questions move you toward God?
Has a question ever turned you away from Him?
Wrestling with unanswered questions may cause confusion or even bitterness at times. We don’t get what God is doing, and certainly don’t understand why it had to be this way. But when we embrace God as Sovereign and humbly present ourselves before Him as Lord, we find peace in God instead of the answers to our questions.
Remember, at the heart of our relationship with God is faith. Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Living with unanswered questions is a way we exercise our faith and trust in God.
This week we’re adding a third component of lectio divina: Search through thinking.
search – verb 1: to look into or over carefully or thoroughly in an effort to find or discover something: as a: to examine in seeking something b: to look through or explore by inspecting possible places of concealment or investigating suspicious circumstances c: to read thoroughly: check
Our questions naturally move us into this next facet of meditation, searching for answers.
Did you find yourself beginning a search in response to your questions? Where did you go? What did you discover?
Thinking about God’s Word means listening to the answers the Holy Spirit gives you in your time of prayer. It is the time where we allow Him to move us to resources to think more deeply about His Word, its meaning, and how it impacts our lives personally.
I know I may be pressing the limits by only focusing on one verse of God’s Word for four weeks, so if you have any complaints it’s all on me.
One thing I do believe about His Word, is that every bit of it represents His infinite character, and if we look long enough, dig deep enough, He will reveal something to us in a different light.
I often think of His Word as a beautifully cut diamond. It has many facets and every time you look at a different side, in a different light, you see a new sparkle which brings joy. And I believe this is true of every verse in the Bible.
It is in the process of searching and thinking where God often blesses us with revelation. He invites our wrestling with His Word and receives our questions, but He also calls us to participate in the search for answers.
Read Proverbs 2:1-5
What must we do to find the knowledge of God? List the verbs.
What image comes to mind?
Accept. Store. Listen. Direct. Call. Lift. Seek. Search. Discover.
All of these verbs are ways God calls us to approach His Word. The picture of a miner mining for precious metals is one of the images depicted in the way we are to handle His Word in our search for knowledge of Him.
The knowledge He wants us to find in our digging deep into Scripture is experiential knowledge of Him. Not just more information. We need the knowledge which transforms us and makes His Word flesh in our lives.
Read the passage again. Look at your list of verbs.
Does one action word stand out to you in this moment? Why?
In our coming to know God, we may need to accept a specific truth about God we haven’t before or hear God calling us to something new. When our search for deeper knowledge of Him is combined with a desire for a closer walk with Him, He blesses us with new revelations and insights. He wants us to know Him and experience His presence in our daily lives.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8 ESV
Searching out answers as a part of lectio divina is not something we do on our own. As a spiritual discipline, thinking and searching means listening for Holy Spirit to respond to our questions offered in prayer, then allowing Him to guide our search. His leading spurs us on to think more deeply about Scripture, its meaning, and how it impacts our lives personally.
So often when I hear God answer my questions, I respond with the question:
Is that true?
God’s answers don’t always line up with my reasoning or they are so surprising I just wonder if it could possibly be true. This wondering leads me on a search deeper into His Word.
Sometimes He answers our question with a question. Sometimes we’re inspired to open a dictionary, lexicon, concordance, or commentary. Other times, He directs us to think back to a memory, a conversation, or the way we are currently living our lives.
Reading through the focus Scripture caused me to question, “Do I know God?” and if so, “How do I know Him?” Instead of my usual approach to searching Scripture, I felt Spirit move me to intentionally ask the question each day, and reflect over moments when I felt God revealing an answer.
I have been practicing the spiritual discipline of silence for years without much struggle. It is a time with God I’ve grown to cherish. Yet recently, I can’t seem to shut my brain off, to “be still” in my thoughts. It leaves me feeling like a failure and disconnected from God as if I’m failing to “know” Him in some way.
You can imagine my struggle when Carol shared the Scripture focus for Lectio Divina, “Be still and know that I am God.” How in the world would I lead others in something I am currently failing at. Yes, I use the present tense because even now, three weeks into the study, my racing thoughts frustrate me. Stillness eludes me. Yet God is showing me through small things along the way that I do “know” Him.
As I search daily for the answer to my question, God lovingly shows me unstillness doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t know Him. He reveals I know Him in a Scripture I remembered when considering my messy life, in a conversation with my brother about how to love better, and in writing curriculum for our junior youth. God is showing me living examples of how to know Him, and it is just what I need in this season. The more I recognize knowing Him, the more I want to know.
Thinking or searching is a response to our being present to God and asking Him the questions that come to mind. Sometimes a word or phrase within Scripture grabs our attention as if God highlighted it in neon yellow. When we notice it, we should ask: Why is this word jumping out at me? Is there something God wants to show me in this word?
We are blessed to live in a world where information and knowledge is at our fingertips. What once took a trip to the library, now takes seconds. This can be both a blessing and a challenge. Lectio Divina is a listening spiritual discipline not a research paper assignment.
Have you noticed a word or phrase in our focus Scripture that seems to be highlighted?
Did you turn to another resource for more information? Where did you go?
What resources do you use to help you think deeply about His Word?
One of our favorite resources is Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. We often assume we know or understand the meaning of a word, but reading the actual definition can expand our understanding of the language we speak and God’s too.
We’ve found the Holy Spirit using all sorts of resources to lead us deeper into truth. But we want to remember we’re searching for His truth and revelation, not just more information.
This week we want you to continue your prayerful meditation on Psalm 46:10, incorporating the three aspects of lectio we have discussed. Even though we’re breaking down the process into parts for the practical purpose of discussion, in reality they form a rhythm with which we can approach Scripture:
Present in our reading,
attentive to the questions that rise and offering them to Him in prayer,
being ready to think and search as He leads.
- Humbly present yourself to God
- Read Psalm 46:10 daily
- Let go… be present to His Spirit’s teaching
- Notice a word that grabs your attention. Look it up in a dictionary.
- Search a concordance to see where else in Scripture the word is found.
- Consider looking at the verse in another translation.
Continue keeping notes in your mini-journal as part of the process.
Father God, open our hearts to all You have for us. Amen.
If you need a mini-journal click the links below to print your own from the PDF.
Lectio Divina – Journal Cover [We printed ours on card stock.]
Lectio Divina – Journal Pages [Be sure to print double-sided.]