Tips for Beginning Lectio Divina (“Statio”)

Physical tips:

  • Physical space: First, we should arrange a sacred place to pray that is restful and devoid of any distractions or things that might distract us (i.e. computers, TV, etc.).
    • Second, create an atmosphere that fosters calm and peace. This may involve lighting candles, burning incense, using icons, crucifixes or other visual aids.
  • Body posture: One that is conducive to prayer and reading. Simple. Relaxed yet alert.
    • “Our posture should reflect one that would be the same as if we were with Christ in the flesh or before him in Eucharistic adoration” (Dan Burke).
  • Breathing: Take slow and deep breaths as you draw your mind and heart to the Lord.
    • “If our minds wander, we should avoid any frustration or self-condemnation and gently bring our attention back to our Lord and the text, breathing in and out in a purposeful and relaxed manner” (Dan Burke).
  • Visualize: Set the scene. Picture Jesus there with you.
    • “Set the imaginative scene” (St. Ignatius). The imaginative scene can become a beautiful setting for a heart to heart conversation with the Lord. Further benefit is that it can help you recall the prayer time more easily in days and weeks to come.
    • “The look of God is love and the pouring out of gifts” (St. John of the Cross).

Spiritual tips:

Concentrate“: Fr. John Bartunek calls this preparatory period for lectio divina “Concentrate” and lists 4 steps:

  1. Recall that God is truly present, listening to you, paying attention;
  2. Recall that God has something He wants to say to you;
  3. Recall that you need to hear that word;
  4. Renew your desire to hear that word.

An example of prayer that includes these 4 steps:

  • “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Jesus, I trust that You are here with me right now, that You are looking upon me with love and that you desire to speak to my heart through this Gospel reading. I desire to hear Your message for me right now. Come Holy Spirit, open my mind and my heart to be transformed by your holy Word so that I may bear your fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Mary, my Mother, teach me how to ponder lovingly on this word and so cherish it in my heart so that I may bring forth Christ to the world today.”

Ask for the grace. Prayer is always grace, always a gift. Ask the Lord for a specific grace to receive in this time of prayer.

Lead a holy life! The fruitfulness of Christian prayer depends far more on our inner attitudes than on the effectiveness of some particular method.

  • So don’t worry if you feel like you cannot masters all the “steps” for lectio divina… there’s no lectio divina police looking over your shoulder to make sure you perform every step perfectly. Don’t worry about the details. Simply seek the Lord in the Scriptures. He’s waiting for you there and wants to lead you into a more profound relationship with Him (cf. Dan Burke’s Intro to Lectio Divina).
  • Click here for more on the importance of living a holy life for fruitful lectio divina.

Final tip:

  • If you’re heart is already ready you don’t need prep steps… the prep steps are a launching pad, not a straight jacket… some days when u meet a friend u can go deep right away, maybe because of a recent phone call, etc.


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