Lectio divina (holy listening) is an ancient, contemplative form of prayer. Lectio traditionally has four phases where the listener lets a sacred text guide the prayer time:
- Read (lectio)
- Meditate (meditatio)
- Pray (oratio)
- Contemplate (contemplatio)
In my own experiences with private and group lectio divina, I've changed this to three different phases:
- Attention (what catches your attention in this reading?)
- Imagination (what sparks your imagination in this reading?)
- Invitation (what invitation do you hear in this reading?)
By yourself read through the passage you've chosen three times. If you're praying in a group or with a partner, read the text out loud each time. The first time through, listen for what phrases, words or ideas catch your attention. Spend 5–10 minutes in silence contemplating what caught your attention; use this to guide your prayer. Ask yourself “Why did this catch my attention? What is important in this for me right now?" If with a group, consider sharing what caught your attention after the silence.
The second time through, listen for what sparks your imagination. Do certain memories come to mind? Are there pictures in your imagination?