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LECTIO DIVINA | Prayerful Reading of Scripture
Ref. Sacred Companions by David G. Benner
Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual practice from the Christian monastic tradition. It is the practice of “divine reading” or praying Scripture. It involves a balance of silence and God’s word, seeking to encounter God as he speaks directly and personally through his word. It involves listening to a short passage, setting aside understanding and analysis, to open oneself to receive God’s word “expectantly and passively” (Benner).
Read the passage four times, paying attention to different aspects of the passage as it is read. Feel free to try a couple of different Bible translations.
First and Second Reading
Read the passage aloud, twice, attentively listening for words or phrases that stick out. The purpose of this reading is to hear the text and listen for a word or phrase or idea that captures your attention.
Focus your attention on that word, phrase or idea, repeating it to yourself silently as you read through passage a third time. After the third reading and a time of silent reflection, write down what you’ve heard from the Lord.
During the fourth reading, consider what God is inviting you to do or become. After the reading and a time of silent reflection, write down or share immediately with others what God is calling to you.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:  “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)
9 He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: 10 “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. 11 The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. 12 I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ 13 “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'” 14 Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”