On Lectio Divina | Attuning Ourselves to God’s Wisdom

Abstract art; a red paint line across a green background

“I pray the Lord to weaken today and remove tomorrow all that obstructs the soul’s contemplation.”
― Guigo II the Carthusian, The Ladder of Monks



Habits are cultivated through intentional repetition and liturgies are the Church’s way of communally building habits. Today, faith communities use liturgy primarily in corporate worship as a work of the people, giving structure and rhythm to times of gathering together to celebrate the promises of our Creator. Habits require some level of work and commitment. And while communal worship finds its rhythms easily by engaging amongst brothers and sisters, sometimes illuminating our individual worship is more difficult. Refreshing personal daily habits by revitalizing ancient habits, like Lectio Divina, can deepen understanding of liturgies—of spiritual practices—in various aspects of life.

When our lives are full, making intentional space for faith work can be especially challenging. This is where the significance of leaning on the liturgies and habits passed down through generations can be especially useful. Many incredible resources for dwelling with Scripture are often looked over or forgotten in the search for intentional time in the Bible. As a practice, Lectio Divina is purposeful about cultivating space to bring fresh insight to Scripture by refined traditions. And, drawing from traditions rather than creating new methods relieves the burden of the work.

The beauty of Lectio Divina, or “divine reading”, stems from the practice’s ability to accommodate multiple timeframes and spaces. At its core, this practice cultivates an intentional space for reading Scripture. It also opens space for conversation with God through the prominence of words and phrases. By taking in the slow process of Lectio Divina, Scripture is allowed to resonate, to linger, and take root. When we engage the Bible in this way regularly, we feel more grounded, not only with Scripture, but also in our surroundings, because of the intentionality of presence. Words like “illuminate”, “refresh”, or “shimmer” are commonly used to describe the Spirit’s presence within the pages of Scripture. Lectio Divina is a way for old phrases to catch new light.

Historically, the practice has been used as early as 500 AD and has a rich tradition in monastic communities for centuries. It is from these generational habits that contemplation gains additional depth. As an individual or communal practice, Lectio Divina has a richness that bleeds into the musings of both theologians and the passionate insights spoken to a friend over generations. When we engage in this spiritual discipline, we join the conversation and community of countless believers throughout time. As the Spirit spoke to them, it speaks to us now.

So, how does one take a tradition and apply it? The recipe may seem complex, but the beauty of tradition is the already constructed practices that guide us as we set about cultivating a new habit. All that is left to be done is simply follow.

To begin a time of Lectio Divina is to create a comfortable environment. With a candle burning—warm and fragrant—or pillows as support, sit in a quiet place and become centered through tangible surroundings. Perhaps, come prepared to work with a pen, Bible, and journal.

Then, simply read. Let the words of a chosen passage flow into the space. Notice the words that shimmer, that stand out. Listen for how God is speaking. Spend time in the presence of God discovering the purpose and depth of these words.

Now, it’s time to do some of the work as a means of conversation with God. Dwell with the Spirit where it leads, following the paths even as they diverge into briars and rabbit holes. Finally, rest in the words and the discoveries revealed.

When people work together, beauty is made. By investing in practices like Lectio Divina, the liturgical work continues through the generations. The habits of each individual are multiplied into communal worship. The Divine meets us in our reading. God speaks and the whole of creation listens.



Words: Sabrina Dawson

Images: Jr Korpa

Abstract art; a red paint line across a green background
Abstract art; speckles of gold and red paint splattered over a wispy white and black background
Abstract art; two red paint strokes over a blue-green background

“I pray the Lord to weaken today and remove tomorrow all that obstructs the soul’s contemplation.”
― Guigo II the Carthusian, The Ladder of Monks



Habits are cultivated through intentional repetition and liturgies are the Church’s way of communally building habits. Today, faith communities use liturgy primarily in corporate worship as a work of the people, giving structure and rhythm to times of gathering together to celebrate the promises of our Creator. Habits require some level of work and commitment. And while communal worship finds its rhythms easily by engaging amongst brothers and sisters, sometimes illuminating our individual worship is more difficult. Refreshing personal daily habits by revitalizing ancient habits, like Lectio Divina, can deepen understanding of liturgies—of spiritual practices—in various aspects of life.

When our lives are full, making intentional space for faith work can be especially challenging. This is where the significance of leaning on the liturgies and habits passed down through generations can be especially useful. Many incredible resources for dwelling with Scripture are often looked over or forgotten in the search for intentional time in the Bible. As a practice, Lectio Divina is purposeful about cultivating space to bring fresh insight to Scripture by refined traditions. And, drawing from traditions rather than creating new methods relieves the burden of the work.

The beauty of Lectio Divina, or “divine reading”, stems from the practice’s ability to accommodate multiple timeframes and spaces. At its core, this practice cultivates an intentional space for reading Scripture. It also opens space for conversation with God through the prominence of words and phrases. By taking in the slow process of Lectio Divina, Scripture is allowed to resonate, to linger, and take root. When we engage the Bible in this way regularly, we feel more grounded, not only with Scripture, but also in our surroundings, because of the intentionality of presence. Words like “illuminate”, “refresh”, or “shimmer” are commonly used to describe the Spirit’s presence within the pages of Scripture. Lectio Divina is a way for old phrases to catch new light.

Historically, the practice has been used as early as 500 AD and has a rich tradition in monastic communities for centuries. It is from these generational habits that contemplation gains additional depth. As an individual or communal practice, Lectio Divina has a richness that bleeds into the musings of both theologians and the passionate insights spoken to a friend over generations. When we engage in this spiritual discipline, we join the conversation and community of countless believers throughout time. As the Spirit spoke to them, it speaks to us now.

So, how does one take a tradition and apply it? The recipe may seem complex, but the beauty of tradition is the already constructed practices that guide us as we set about cultivating a new habit. All that is left to be done is simply follow.

To begin a time of Lectio Divina is to create a comfortable environment. With a candle burning—warm and fragrant—or pillows as support, sit in a quiet place and become centered through tangible surroundings. Perhaps, come prepared to work with a pen, Bible, and journal.

Then, simply read. Let the words of a chosen passage flow into the space. Notice the words that shimmer, that stand out. Listen for how God is speaking. Spend time in the presence of God discovering the purpose and depth of these words.

Now, it’s time to do some of the work as a means of conversation with God. Dwell with the Spirit where it leads, following the paths even as they diverge into briars and rabbit holes. Finally, rest in the words and the discoveries revealed.

When people work together, beauty is made. By investing in practices like Lectio Divina, the liturgical work continues through the generations. The habits of each individual are multiplied into communal worship. The Divine meets us in our reading. God speaks and the whole of creation listens.



Words: Sabrina Dawson

Images: Jr Korpa

Abstract art; speckles of gold and red paint splattered over a wispy white and black background

Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listing with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.


Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

We talk with fashion blogger/model Adaobi Ugoagu about the intersection of fashion, art and justice.