Lectio Divina: a way to pray during Advent

Welcome to Advent Lectio Divina, a guided prayer experience presented by First United Methodist Church, Oak Ridge.  Through prayerful engagement with scripture, we invite you to prepare yourself spiritually for the coming of the Christ child. We will make a new guided scripture reading available three times a week, each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from November 30th through January 2nd

What is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina, Latin for Divine Reading, is a way to pray with scripture. The idea is to open ourselves up to the voice of God through prayerful engagement with a sacred text. It differs from Bible Study in that we are not seeking to understand, analyze or interpret scripture, but instead aim to encounter the living God through Scripture.

Some see the roots of Lectio Divina in the way the ancient Hebrews prayed with scriptures, others point to the desert Abbas and Ammas, the Rule of Saint Benedict and the beginnings of the Christian monastic tradition, while the four-part prayer now typically associated with Lectio Divina can be traced to Guigo II, a medieval Christian leader.  In any event, Lectio Divina is rooted in the long-standing tradition of seeking communion with God through engagement with a sacred text.

There are many ways to approach Lectio Divina, but as mentioned earlier, it has come to be understood to comprise four components: Lectio, meditatio, oratio and contemplatioLectio is reading, a quiet, slow reading of a limited number of verses.  In meditatio we reflect on, or ponder, the meaning of the sacred text.  Oratio refers to our prayerful response or a dialogue with the Divine.  And contemplatio is contemplation, where we simply rest in the presence of God.

Lectio Divina is an incredibly rich, meaningful process where we open our hearts and minds to the presence of God.  May you be blessed on your journey with the living God.

How do I pray this way?

There are many ways of practicing Lectio Divina and throughout this Advent series, we will engage in several different styles.  There will, however, be some constants.  We will begin each session of prayer with a brief period of preparation, calming and focusing our minds.  Each time you will hear the chosen scripture read a total of four times, with two minutes of silence between each reading.  You will be given directions at to what to focus on during each period of silence.  After the two minutes of silence you will hear a chime.  If you are not ready for the next reading please feel free to pause the recording until you are ready to proceed; please honor your own timing and process.  The prayer session will close with a final chime.

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