Lectio Divina for Christian Writers

Lectio divina is a helpful practice for Christian writers – and for anyone who wants to grow in relationship with God.

The term lectio divina means “divine reading.” This is where you engage the Bible spiritually – not with your mind, but with your spirit. While there is a time and place to engage your heart and mind in Bible study, the practice of lectio divina focuses on the spirit. It is an amazing combination of scripture, prayer, and presence. So quiet your mind before you begin.

With lectio divina, you are engaging with God through His Word – spirit to Spirit. This is not the time to take notes about your next book or blog post. Resist stopping to write things down. Just enjoy the spiritual engagement with God. As you receive revelation, just stay present in the moment with God. Trust Him to bring those things back to you later, so you can write about them.

While no spiritual practice is meant to be formulaic, lectio divina has four steps as practiced by the monks for centuries. Let the Holy Spirit lead you through this process. It’s more important to be present with Him than to follow a specific practice. However, these steps will get you started.

(1) Read

You can begin lectio divina by reading a scripture passage God has led you to read. Read through the passage slowly, several times. It helps to read it out loud, where possible, so you engage more of your senses. Try for at least three times, as the repetition helps move the passage deeper into your spirit. Allow the Word to wash through you and settle deep within you.

(2) Meditate

Now read through the passage one more time. Listen for a part of the scripture that really stands out for you. It may be a verse, a paragraph, a word, or several words. Take time to meditate on that specific part. Savor it like a favorite meal. Through this process, the Holy Spirit is filling you with His Word and forming His Word in you.

When we meditate on scripture, as Christians, we aren’t meditating like other religious or secular practices. We are not emptying our minds; that is the worst thing we could do because the enemy will fill that empty space. Instead, we are bringing our thoughts captive to Christ. We are letting Him fill our minds with His presence. We are meditating on Him and on His truth in the scripture passage at hand.

(3) Pray

After some time of meditating on a portion of scripture, let the Word create a prayer in your spirit. Pray that prayer out loud. For example, if you have been meditating on Psalm 23:1, you may begin to pray, “Lord, thank You that You are my Shepherd. Thank You for reminding me that with You, I lack nothing. You are everything I need.” Let the Holy Spirit move you in prayer over the scripture you have just meditated on. Don’t make your prayer a formula. Let your prayer flow from the Holy Spirit to your spirit.

(4) Contemplate

The last step of lectio divina is contemplation. This is a time for you to sit quietly in God’s presence. Let Him move the truth of His Word through every part of your being. Don’t try to think or write. Just be. Let God do all the work. You might feel His presence and you might not. You might receive revelation or not. Just be with God. He knows how to bring the scripture passage into every part of you. This is part of God forming you in the image of Christ. Just be, and let Him do the rest.

That is the full practice of lectio divina. It is a great way to make scripture a deeper part of your life. And it is a wonderful way to grow in your relationship with God.

 

 

 

 

The Writer’s Prayer Life

Prayer is a key part of the writing process. We should seek God regularly for what He would have us write. We need to begin and end our writing time and writing projects with prayer. We should remain prayerful as we write. Ideally every word we write should be bathed in prayer. But that’s just part of the prayer life of the writer.

Here are five ways that will enrich our writer’s prayer life:

1. Daily conversation with God – As we spend time each day growing in relationship with God, we will experience a daily process of transformation. That process is about our life, not our writing, but it will shape our writing and give us a new excitement for the things God calls us to write.

2. Seeking God for inner healing – Again, this is part of our transformation, and we should do this whether or not we are writers. But the benefits will be clear to us and our readers. Imagine how different our writing will sound when we have found peace or forgiveness in an area where we have struggled with bitterness. Imagine the testimony through which the Holy Spirit can impart peace to those who read our words of God’s healing.

3. Lectio divina – This meditation on scripture that has been practiced for centuries in the monasteries can benefit the prayer life of the writer. We just need to be sure we are engaging the process as God’s kids, not as writers. While we can (and should) engage in lectio divina as part of our preparation to write about scripture, we also need to take time for ourselves to immerse in scripture with no writing agenda. A time to just be with God in His Word. As the Word of God comes alive in us, He will shape our writing.

4. Centering prayer – This spiritual discipline, also practiced in monasteries, is devoted to simply sitting quietly in God’s presence. Just being with Him. During this time with God, we are not aware of anything God is doing. We are simply present with Him, focused on Him, and filled with His presence. Not talking, not listening, just being. This time spent with God will shape our whole day. And the next time we sit down to write, we will see that God has been (and is) with us.

5. Soaking in God’s presence – God is always with us. But the world is also very distracting. It is life-sustaining to take time and intentionally soak in God’s presence. Just breathe Him in and revel in who He is. This may look different for each of us on any given day. It might be taking a walk and enjoying nature, listening to music, playing with animals, reading an uplifting book, or enjoying a meal with friends. If we ask the Lord, He will prompt us for what He knows we need that day. Our writing will reflect what we have soaked in.

Those are just five (of many!) ways to engage a life of prayer as a writer. We need to remember that we are not simply practicing these ways for the sake of our writing. The life of prayer is vital to our spiritual growth and well-being as God’s kids. But a healthy prayer life will also affect our writing and will impart God’s peace to our readers.