It’s our final week of the Spiritual Rhythms Challenge. How did the Daily Examen go for you? Do you feel like your soul got a chance to breathe as you recognized the ways God intersected with your days last week?
We’re wrapping up the challenge with one of my favorite new rhythms – Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina was first established by St. Gregory of Nyssa in the sixth century. In Lectio Divina, you choose a short passage of Scripture and read it four times in total, each time focusing on a specific theme. The four themes are reading, reflecting, responding and resting. In this rhythm, you slowly absorb the scripture into your heart and listen to God’s voice in His Word speaking to you personally. It’s really helpful to read the verses out loud, but you can also read them silently. Or you can do this with a friend and have them read the verses over you!
This week features two of my good friends – Molly and Ryan! Ryan is a fiercely loyal guy who is brilliant (he knows how to code just about anything!) He is also a natural poet and has some mad guitar skills! Molly is the sweetest gal you’ll ever meet. She’s passionate and strong, always looking for ways to grow and serve. She’s also incredibly fun (did I mention she throws parties for a living?!) Let’s check out their experiences.
Molly, what was Lectio Divina like for you?
"Centering my thoughts and focusing my attention on one central passage helped me to really sink into the word of God without being overloaded with content. Lectio Divina was helpful (especially for someone ADHD like me) to sit still, dial into his presence, and meditate on one passage of scripture instead of reading multiple chapters each day and expecting to remember multiple themes. Each day I was challenged to show up to my morning appointment with God. Many distractions seemed to arise –tiredness, the snooze button, phone alerts. Fighting past these temptations allowed me to mean when I say I put God first. During my daily meditation and scripture reading, he always met me. His presence was thick and my soul received the connection and healing I needed each day. He made me smile, laugh, cry, feel loved, and known. It took some time to still my heart (even first thing in the morning). An important note is that the coming into the presence step is important to open your heart and mind to meet and receive from God."
How about for you Ryan?
"It was like going to the beach and looking at the sand. You realize there is so much detail in the sand and that the sand is made up of all these little rocks. beach. Lectio Divina was like looking at the sand. You are drawn to a single word in a verse. Instead of God talking to me through a big story, he talked to me through one single word. One word always caught my attention more than the others. It was like, “Hey Ryan! This is for you.” And then I paused and it led to a conversation with God. It was definitely a conversational experience."
Molly, what passage(s) did you focus on and how did they impact you?
"With the past few months of fear, uncertainty, disappointment, lack of motivation at times and instability, I felt the need to study Proverbs, the book of wisdom to cling to for a lifeline. Proverbs 8 was one that I felt struck a chord with me in a different way this time around reading it. Specifically, Proverbs 8:23-36. Meditating on this passage and realizing how much God loves us, chooses us and delights in ME (and you!) was a joy to unravel with him. I have heard these truths over and over again but to picture Jesus delighting over me in while creating the world was the imagery that still carries me through this day."
“The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else...I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.” -Proverbs 8:23,30
Ryan, throughout your day, did you find yourself remembering the word or phrase that stuck out to you in the morning?
"The words definitely echoed throughout my day. Since it was a word or few words, they stuck as opposed to remembering an entire passage or Bible story. It was definitely stronger. It was like eating food – I was full, satisfied. As the day went on, it faded away. If I were more disciplined, I think it would start to stick more throughout the entire day."
Would you recommend this spiritual rhythm to others?
"Yes, I’d recommend it to any generation. It’s definitely a relational experience with God. The repetition adds a new element to it."
Molly, what advice would you give to a student who is trying out Lectio Divina for the first time?
"Stick with it. Select a time each day to meet with God in this rhythm. I came to find everything in the enemy’s power tried to distract me from this divine appointment. Don’t let him win. Even after a few minutes of pressing through the worship and presence portion of Lectio Divina, I did not want to leave this powerful place of worship and connection with God. Once you are in the thick of the Word and hearing from God trust me when I say, you don't want to leave."
And that’s a wrap, folks! Thank you for adventuring with us on our Spiritual Rhythms journey over these past four weeks! We may be done here, but it’s really just the beginning! If one of these rhythms stood out to you, I encourage you to listen to Molly’s advice and stick with it. You are paving new pathways to encounter the God of the universe – and that is so exciting! I bless you in your journey into deeper intimacy with the One who loves you most!