Q: I've been practicing Centering Prayer for a while now, and also sometimes practice Lectio Divina either on its own, or after my Centering Prayer time in the morning, but recently the conversation with God seems to have changed. I THINK that He sometimes speaks to me out of my own mouth, but I'm not sure if it's just wishful thinking on my part or not. Sometimes, but not all the time, when I am experiencing that wonderful, heart-swelling sense of closeness with him, I sense words coming out of my heart.
Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion. The method of Lectio Divina includes moments of reading (lectio), reflecting on (meditatio), responding to (oratio) and resting in (contemplatio) the Word of God with the aim of nourishing and deepening one's relationship with the Divine.
Centering Prayer & Resting in God by Fr. Thomas Keating
Centering Prayer moves us toward the deepest level of relationship and intimacy with God described in Matthew 6:6: as an invitation to participate with Jesus in the life of the Father.
This conversation, recorded with a hand-held iPhone, was recorded at a Contemplative Outreach retreat on deepening the contemplative dimension of servant leadership near St. Louis MO. I very much appreciate Sr. Maria's willingness to share with others on short notice and rolling with the conversation.
There are important reasons why a commissioned presenter of the Introduction to Lectio Divina Workshop is required to be a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer. The following are the principal reasons for this requirement:
A. Formation Training Program for Presenters of Lectio Divina
|Lectio Divina||Centering Prayer|
|More Concentrative||More Receptive|
|Word of Scripture has content||Sacred Word has no conceptual content except intentionality|
|Use thoughts, images, and insights|
If you are not affiliated with a local Contemplative Outreach chapter, first seek permission from your church pastor or minister to host a Lectio Divina (Praying Holy Scriptures) Introductory Program (this program consists of the introductory workshop to Lectio Divina and six follow-up sessions). Then, contact the nearest chapter coordinator in your area and collaborate with the coordinator to present the introductory program. If there is not a chapter in your area, contact the regional representative listed for your region to assist in planning the program.
Lectio Divina is primarily a private prayer. It is a way of praying the Scriptures. When prayed privately, the movements of the prayer are free-flowing, responding to the movements of the Spirit within. However, Lectio Divina can be adapted to a group setting. The primary difference is that the facilitator moves the group through the different moments as a group. A prayer group leader can lead a Lectio Divina session, provided they have a basic understanding of the format of the Lectio Divina method. Another difference could be faith sharing.