I have a love-hate relationship with the early morning hours in my home.
The hate part comes the moment my alarm jolts me from sleep. It’s set to a soothing, soft melody, but it somehow feels like a marching band pounding into my eardrums every morning. I hit the “off” button, stumble out of bed, and shuffle toward the kitchen to start the coffee, inky darkness still visible through the windows.
And then the love part begins. I settle onto the couch with a warm blanket and my Bible at hand, enjoying the blessed sound of silence while the rest of my family still sleeps. I sip from my fresh cup of coffee and begin reading. (Caffeine has been a tremendous Bible study aid for me over the years.)
I’ve tried a variety of different Bible studies and read dozens of books exploring God’s Word over the years, but recently, I discovered a “new” spiritual practice that’s added fresh color to these quiet devotion times. It’s a process called lectio divina and it’s actually not new at all—the practice originated within monastic communities centuries ago. I recently wrote a blog post exploring this spiritual practice in more detail: I’d encourage you to read it if you’d like a deeper understanding of how it can be incorporated into your spiritual life.
(And I especially recommend it to all the recovering perfectionists out there, like me.)
For those who want to give this spiritual practice a try, I’m excited to share this free printable lectio divina guide today! It’s a simple one-page sheet, with instructions/questions for each step of the lectio process. I included some open space for journaling, but you may prefer to use a separate journal for recording your thoughts and prayers. (I find it easier to keep all my thoughts in one book rather than having to print and keep track of multiple sheets. I just tuck the single-page lectio divina guide into my Bible as a reference for my reading times.)
You can download the lectio divina guide by clicking the blue button below. If you’d like to see some beautiful journal options, I invite you to check out our shop for some great notebooks and journals. And for those of you who’d like just a bit more detail about the lectio divina process, I’m including a description of each step at the end of this post as well.
(Downloads are only available to More Like Grace subscribers: By clicking the download button below, you consent to OPT-IN to our email newsletter with monthly encouragement and freebie news. Unsubscribe any time.)
I hope this little guide will help you explore a new spiritual practice that can deepen your Bible study moments.
Above all, I’m praying that however and whenever you turn to God’s Word, you’ll experience the beauty of the Spirit speaking straight to your heart.
The Steps of Lectio Divina:
If you’d like to try lectio divina for yourself, I encourage you to read through the steps below and start with a story from the gospels: Stories provide a great way for beginners to get started.
Take a few moments to quiet yourself, get in a comfortable position, and become aware of God’s presence. You might say a simple prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit into this time. (Try a few deep breaths with the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit, Come.”) I often take a quick inventory of my body, mind, and heart, asking God to quiet each of them in turn.
Read the passage slowly, out loud if possible. In this reading, you want to familiarize yourself with the basic meaning of the passage, what it says to everyone. Avoid analyzing and simply savor the words, letting them sink in. Listen for a nudge: What words or images is the Spirit drawing you toward today? Is there a character you identify with? A moment in the story that captures your attention?
Re-read the passage, lingering over the person/word/phrase that captured your attention. Let your imagination engage the story/text. What do the characters experience/feel/think? Or consider the phrase or image you noticed: Reflect on how it might intersect with your life today. What (or who) does it bring to your mind? Notice the feelings this passage evokes in you–is there attraction, or resistance of some kind? Invite the Spirit to reveal how this passage might be speaking to your life today. (You might find it helpful to journal some of these reflections before continuing.)
Read through the passage another time, allowing the Scripture to lead you into a prayer/response to God. Talk to God about what has come to mind, and how he might be inviting you to respond. Are you feeling led toward a prayer of praise? repentance? a plea for help or healing? (Again, it might be helpful to focus your prayer by journaling.)
Rest in the awareness of God’s presence, remaining open to anything else the Spirit might stir in your heart. If your mind wanders, gently redirect your thoughts toward God. Simply be still. Expect nothing. Enjoy a moment of fellowship with God that goes deeper than words. Relax in this moment to be with God, and know you are loved.
As you give this simple spiritual practices a try, I hope it will bless your faith journey as it has blessed mine, friends. I’m praying for you friend, to enjoy the beautiful and healing presence of God.