Day 14: Practicing Lectio Divina:
“Once More With Feeling”
1. Center Down
Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “Jesus invites us…” As you exhale whisper, “…to sit at His feet.”
2. Kingdom Prayer
Sovereign Father, we thank You for honoring our prayers as a nation and extending Your mercy toward us. Thank You for protecting our borders. Thank You for protecting our nation, Syria, North Korea and Russia from the threat of World War III. Your Word is true, and we can trust everything that You do. You love whatever is just and good. Your unfailing love fills the earth. You merely spoke, and the heavens were created; You breathed the Word, and all of the stars were born. You assigned boundaries to the seas and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear You and let everyone stand in awe of You! How great is the goodness that You have stored up for those who fear You. You lavish it on those who come to You for protection, blessing them before the watching world.
Righteous Father, in the Name of Jesus, we rebuke the spirits of fighting and war and command peace to be still with the diplomatic expressions between the United States, Syria, North Korea and Russia, now! God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we declare that Your very Name keeps us safe from all harm. Father, we admit that some nations boast of their chariots and horses, their armies and weapons, but as Your people, we will always boast in the Name of the Lord, our God. We declare that President Donald Trump, Syrian President Bashar Hafez alAssad, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jongun and Russian President Vladimir Putin will find a diplomatic solution against war and will not react hastily, but they will respond out of wisdom. They will turn from evil and do good. They will search for peace and work to maintain it, so that we all live in “Shalom” and terror will not come near us!
Holy Spirit, please help these leaders to rightly discern through the rhetoric and propaganda surrounding this situation so that the truth is revealed and every lie exposed. Help them to make decisions that align with Your plans for all our nations. Holy Spirit, please reveal and expose every evil plot, plan and strategy that have been devised both internally and externally. Stir the hearts of Christians around the world to pray; please, do not stop until we all respond.
Merciful Father, please forgive President Donald Trump, Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin and all citizens for all acts of sinfulness, including the shedding of innocent blood. Forgive the Church throughout the world for our ignorance concerning this conflict and for failing to pray consistently for this conflict of imminent war. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed). Holy Spirit, remind President Donald Trump, Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin of those they need to forgive and help them all to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them to you, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help President Donald Trump, Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin not to yield to temptation but deliver us all from the evil one.
You are the Lord, our God, and there is no other. No one is holy like You. There is no one besides You. There is no Rock like You, our God. Lord, You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. You rule and reign forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 33:4-8, Psalm 31:19, Mark 4:39, Exodus 3:15, Psalm 20:7, Psalm 34:14, Matthew 6:13, I Samuel 2:2, Revelation 19:16
TODAY’S OPTIONS. Today you have a choice on how you would like to practice Lectio Divina. You may either use the “Option 1” video session as a guide, OR use the “Option 2” text-based session. After you have completed one of the sessions, please go to the Reflection Questions on page 67 to round out your time with God.
Note: Both Lectio Divina options add a sub-component to the normal “Medidatio” section called “Visio.” This invites us to use an image as another tool to help us delve into the Psalm excerpt more deeply. It’s just another way to focus our spiritual senses intently on God’s heart toward us in the moment.
OPTION 1: VIDEO SESSION (approx. 35 min) http://bit.ly/LectioDivinaWV
OPTION 2: TEXT-BASED LECTIO DIVINA SESSION
(Adapted from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
2018 Vital Worship Grant Event)
As you slowly read the excerpt from Psalm 139 out loud, you are invited to listen deeply. Hear with the “ear of your heart.” Hear the words, receive them, hold them lightly, loosely in your heart, in your mind. Begin to patiently wait for the Spirit to reveal the Word, Jesus Christ, to you through the words you are hearing. Let yourself be taken in by the words.
Examine me, God, and know my mind; test me and know my concerns. See if there is an idolatrous way in me and lead me in the ancient way. (Psalm 139:24-25, Goldingay)
You are invited to meditate on the words of the psalm. Notice what word or phrase stands out to you, moves you. Hold that word in front of you in the presence of the Lord, turn it over, observe it, taste it.
SEE. Return to your word or phrase and turn your heart to “hearing and seeing” Jesus in the words and in the image on the next page. You are welcome to turn your eyes upon the image to continue to meditate on the psalm. Ask the Spirit to give you eyes to see what God has for you to see here. Note what thoughts, impressions, memories, feelings, other images come to mind; hold them before the Lord.
Artwork: “Soaring Spirit” by James Fissel, ©2008. Eyekons.com
Respond to God with the prayer of your heart and lips. Offer up your spoken response to the Biblical words and image you have heard and seen. You are welcome to draw or write it. You are encouraged to pray back the Psalm 139 excerpt to God. You may also want to draw or write an additional response.
You are welcome to simply rest. Rest in the presence of the God who loves you. Let go the thinking, meditating, praying—and just rest. Like a child in its mother’s arms, content and safe, rest. Surrender all that stirs— observe it and let it go, and rest in God’s arms.
- Reflection Questions.
(You are encouraged to tangibly record your reflections based on the Biblical readings, Kingdom prayer, Concepts to consider, etc. Write, sing, create, etc)
- Personal Reflection. What will you take away from your experience in Lectio Divina over the past week? How has it changed your perception of how you might interact with God and His Word?
- Kingdom Reflection. All Christian “Best Practices” must necessarily lead to Kingdom action. As a result of your experience with Lectio Divina this week what will you do to reflect/implement what you’ve discovered in your interaction with God and His Word?
- Concepts to Consider
Iconography. Since the earliest church we know that artists used their abilities to assist the church’s worship and contemplation of God in a holistic way. You experienced incorporating a picture in today’s Meditatio/Visio. This usage was very much
in line with ancient Christian practice. To be clear, there is a great difference between worshiping the image itself and using an image as a window that narrows our field of vision and helps us focus on God or helps us get a clearer understanding of the Gospel Story . The former is idolatry and the latter is holistic adoration of our Lord and His work. A Coptic church (traditionally believed to have been planted in Alexandria, Egypt by St. Mark in 42 AD) icon is shown below. Take time to observe what Jesus may reveal to you about Himself and our Gospel call through this image.