Day 13: Practicing Lectio Divina

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, “The Lord is…”  As you exhale whisper, “…my Rock and my Salvation.”

**NOTICE: Today our order is a little different. We will be putting into practice all we have learned this week. We will begin by getting our hearts and minds in alignment through Kingdom Prayer then follow the Lectio Divina steps.

2. Kingdom Prayer

All-Powerful Father, we thank You for being our God.

Lord Jesus, thank You for a rich and satisfying life. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling our lives with joy. Lord, we Your Godly children, sing for joy to You. We praise You with melodies on the lyre and make music to You on the harp. We will sing a new song of praise to You because Your Word is true and we can trust everything that You do.  You love what is just and good and Your unfailing love fills the earth.

Wonderful Father, we declare that as we keep Your commands and remain in Your love; Your joy will remain in us and our joy will overflow.  We know that the joy of the Lord is our strength, so we will not allow the cares of this life to cause us to turn from You, Your Word or our faith in Your promises.  We will maintain our Godly joy on a daily basis because greater is the Holy Spirit in us, than any spirit that lives in the world.  We will allow joy, which is a fruit of the Spirit, to rule in our lives.

What is keeping you from walking in God’s joy? Jot those things down, and then talk to God about them:

Holy Spirit, please guide us each day.  Remind us daily of the Word which tells us that a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.  Holy Spirit, please help each of us to learn how to be joyful in all situations.  Help us to enjoy life and laugh daily.

Loving Father, forgive us for our sins including being mean to our siblings, friends or classmates.  Forgive us for anytime that we have made someone else feel sad because of the way we treated them.  Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).

Holy Spirit, remind all of us of those we need to forgive and help us 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 show you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive.  As He shows you, say aloud, “I forgive name of person(s).”)

Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Almighty Lord, You are the blessed and only Almighty God.  The King of kings, and the Lord of lords. You alone can never die.  You live in light so brilliant that no human can approach You.  No human eye has ever seen You, nor ever will. To You belongs all honor and power forever and ever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture References for the Written Text:  John 10:10, Psalm 96:4, Psalm 24:1-2, Psalm 33:20-22, John 15:10-11, Nehemiah 8:10, I John 4:4, Galatians 5:22-23, Proverbs 17:22, Matthew 6:13, I Timothy 6:15-16

For further exploration:

Video review: http://bit.ly/LectioReview

3. Lectio Divina Practice

3a.  “Lectio”

Slowly READ aloud the following Scripture. Take note of any words or phrases that the Holy Spirit illuminates for you.

God is for us refuge and strength, help in troubles, readily available. Therefore we are not afraid when earth changes and when mountains fall down into the midst of the seas, Its waters foam in rage. The mountains quake when it rises up.  (Rise)

A [stream gladdens] God’s city, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God in its midst, it does not fall down; God helps it as morning comes. Nations have raged, kingdoms fallen down, He has given voice, [the] earth shakes. [Yahweh of Heaven’s] Armies is with us, Jacob’s God is a haven for us. (Rise)

(Psalm 46:1-7, Goldingay, ©2007)

3b. “Meditatio”  (5-15 minutes)

Read Psalm 46 again slowly and out loud. This time use your voice to give a bit more emphasis to God’s Name(s) in the text, e.g., “God/the Lord/Most High,” etc.

After reading  for the second time, then begin to…

MEDITATE on one of the Biblical words, phrases or images arising from Psalm 46. Remember, “meditatio” is focusing our mind’s eye or walking around our word/phrase/ image for the purpose of allowing the Word of God to transform us. We are giving God room to work. We are coming alive to His Word.  If your mind wanders, gently return to  your word/phrase/image.

3c.  “Oratio”

Next, let’s read Psalm 46 one more time, slowly and out loud.  This time, vocally emphasize every reference to God’s attributes or actions, (e.g. “refuge,” “strength,” “helps,” etc.)

After this final reading, then PRAY the Psalm back to God using personal pronouns and personal references to God.  You may wish to write this prayer down.

3d. “Contemplatio” (5-15 minutes)

Now just take time to CONTEMPLATE the loving Presence of your Divine Parent.  Rest in the assurance that God’s grace is sufficient in your life.  Gaze upon the “beauty of His holiness.”  (Psalm 96:9)

4. Reflection Questions

  1. Personal Reflection. What did God reveal to you through His Word today as you read, meditated, prayed, and contemplated?
  2. Kingdom Reflection. Who will you share your new insights with today? How has practicing Lectio Divina with Psalm 46 impacted your view of the world and our responsibility in it? What will you go and do today that will proclaim/activate the Kingdom of God in the world?

5. Concepts to Consider (Optional)

The Hebrew word “selah,”  found only in the Psalms and Habakkuk, has been translated in various ways over the centuries (“interlude,” “pause,” “consider,” etc.). Many Bible translators don’t even bother to translate it at all, or it is omitted altogether from the text. Why?  First of all, it’s truly unclear exactly what “selah” means. There is absolutely no scholarly consensus on the matter. It’s root in Hebrew and its cognates in other ancient Near-Eastern languages are even disputed. Further, it does not have a consistent usage or context pattern in the Scriptures.  So, since we believe God left this word in the text for a purpose, what then can we learn from a word that seems to be vestigial (like our wisdom teeth or  appendix) to the core of the Scriptural text?

Dr. John Goldingay (Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Seminary) offers this whimsical  insight in his commentary on the Psalms,

Dictionaries usually connect the word “selâ” with the root “sālal,” “rise.” It appears at the end of lines in psalms without any consistent patterning. Though it sometimes comes at the close of sections (Ps. 66), it often also comes in the middle of a section or in the middle of a sentence (Pss. 67; 68). It may be a liturgical or musical direction (“raise the voice”?), but we do not know. I understand that David Allan Hubbard advocated the theory that it was what David said when he broke a string, which is the most illuminating theory because there is no logic about when you break a string, and there is no logic about the occurrence of “selâ.”

Dr. Goldingay’s translation choice, “rise” is a very illuminating one. While the liturgical or musical direction makes a great deal of sense, it could also stretch to mean a “rising” of our whole being.  To raise our emotions, our thoughts, and our bodies in reading, praying, meditating, and contemplating God and His Word.

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