With the Word of God

Lectio Divina: A guide for prayer in School, Home & Parish
Jude Groden, RSM, & Christopher O’Donnell, O.Carm.
McCrimmons Publishing Co Ltd, England. 2003.
ISBN: 0 85597 646 2.

Praying with Scripture
It is common to hear about a hunger for spirituality, or even a hunger for prayer. How are we to satisfy our hunger? If we have not eaten for a long while, then a hamburger at a fast food outlet will be very satisfying. But we are being warned by government and health authorities that too much fast food is not good: it is not a balanced diet, it puts on the wrong kind of weight. It is all right to try one kind of cooking, e.g., ethnic, or occasional take-aways, but we need a healthy pattern of eating for everyday health and growth.

So too in our spiritual life. We can occasionally try various kinds of prayer. But we need some established pattern that we can fall back on, that will sustain us in bad weather and fair weather.

One question we can ask ourselves is, why might we need a new method?

Bible and Life
The task is to integrate religion and life. The glue that keeps together is prayer. Life draws us to prayer so that we can get a better perspective on situations; faith offers a new vision of reality. The main place where this fusion occurs is prayer. It would seem that prayer based on the Scriptures would have an immediate advantage in drawing us from the world to the vision of faith, and of pointing our faith vision to the realities of daily life.

An ancient and new method
For over one thousand years a method has developed that allows such simple reading that allows for the guidance of the Scripture. It is a method, not an elaborate set of rules or a set of hoops that we have to navigate. But a method is helpful. We have all had the experience of opening the Bible and sitting there with no thoughts coming. It is then easy to read the introduction to the translation we are using, look at the maps, admire the cover – all nice things to do, but hardly praying!
The ancient method was called Lectio Divina or Divine Reading. It was a way of praying the Scriptures that proceeds in a few very natural steps.

Alone or in groups
This simple method or prayer in four stages – reading, reflecting, responding, and resting – can be used when we are praying alone or in groups. If we are alone, we can divide up our time according to the way in which we feel drawn.
If we are praying in groups then one person can lead the session and quietly suggest moving on to each phase.

Using this Book
This book is offered as an introduction or guide to praying with Scripture. It is designed for use alone or with others such as parish societies, or Bible groups. It is also very suitable for schools.