The first step in the Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) is to read the Scriptures. While this seems self evident, it really isn’t as we all have different ways of reading. For example, there are some folks whose goal in devotional reading is to make it through large chucks of Scriptures. And while there is a time and place for reading large amounts of Scriptures (after all we NEED to get the overall story line of a particular letter as well as the Bible as a whole), reading with the Divine Reading is not that place.
The reading of the Lectio Divina is a prayerful reading. It is using our senses to perceive the works of the Lord – to slowly savor each word. It is a gradual reading of a verse or a few verses, pausing after each word and recognizing how carefully the Spirit chose each word to be recorded. It is reading like you would fondle over a new toy or tool – looking at over and over, turning it over and over, seeing the beauty and life behind the printed text.
In fact, I would recommend reading the verse(s) out loud as there is something powerful about physically voicing the Scriptures. In speaking the words out loud, it is almost as if the verses become real and moves from your mind into your heart. It is not a magical formula or a way of manipulating God – it is a way of using all of our senses to experience the words of God given to us.
It is about seeing the words on the page – hearing the words read out loud – about touching the pages of the Bible (or one’s cell phone, tablet…) – smelling the paper and perhaps a candle or two.
It is about slowing down and relaxing… opening yourself up to read a letter from your Lover and King….
Read the passage…re-read it…re-read it yet again… savor each word… that is the first step of praying through the Lectio Divina.
After all, the Scriptures are, in the words of King David:
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.