Lectio Divina As An Individual Exercise

Use the following guide from Carmel's Call (pages 137–138) for your individual practice of Lectio Divina. As the text for this exercise, pray the passage: Matthew 6:6. For future sessions, you can use other texts, e.g., the Gospel of the day or some other Scripture passage. See An Introduction to Lectio Divina for more information about praying with scripture.

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  2. Read the passage — silent reflection.
  3. Read the passage a second time, underline key words or phrases.
  4. Why are those words or phrases important to you? Just jot down a word or two to trigger a thought.
  5. Read the passage a third time. What is the author trying to say to the audience he is writing for?
    1. Read what is happening just ahead of this passage.
    2. What is happening just after this passage?
    3. How does this passage fit in the context?
    4. Are the commentaries saying anything interesting in this passage?
    5. What are the major themes of this author and how does this passage reflect those themes?
    6. Are there any unusual themes, points, or details in this reading — why might they be there?
    7. Write out in one or two sentences at most what the point of this passage is — not for you, but in the text itself. It is very important at this stage not to project your agenda on to the text.
    8. Does this help you understand the passage better?
  6. Read passage a fourth time. What does this passage say to you in your life situation?
    1. Does it confirm anything?
    2. Does it challenge you in any way?
    3. Does it call you to action?
  7. Sit silently with the passage, let it roll over in your heart.
  8. Formulate a prayer in your own words that ties it together. Ask God for guidance in following these things out in action.
  9. What actions, if any, does this prayer call you to do? When and how will you carry them out? Again, do we seek a practical resolution?
  10. Concluding prayer or psalm.