A great way to pray (and one of the oldest) is called Lectio Divina (or Divine Reading). It is a way of taking the Scriptures and allowing them to live in your heart and mind. Sometimes the Scriptures can seem dull when we hear them proclaimed but when we really read them, pray with them and use our imagination to dig into them, they are never boring and always fruitful. Here’s how to begin. Remember, this is not a formula that you have to follow perfectly, make adjustments as the Holy Spirit prompts you to.
Pick up the Gospel for the coming Sunday (or any part of the Gospel)
Quiet your mind and heart. Put aside all of the worries and distractions and the noise and emotions of the day. Take some deep breaths and close your eyes for a moment. Rest your body and mind. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and ask God to transform your heart and help you to grow and come to know Him better. A good prayer to begin with is: “My Lord and My God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence. I ask pardon for my sins and the grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my Guardian Angel, intercede for me.”
Then read the Scriptures slowly and reflectively. Read them and Re-read them again but this time be more selective. Look for scenes, exchanges, words, phrases or actions that attract you and move you. Really dig in, use your intuition and eye for detail. We have to be a bit like Sherlock Holmes, noticing everything that’s happening. While re-reading take in the details of what’s going on and how people look or are acting in the scene and commit them to memory.
Meditate on the Scriptures now. Every word of Sacred Scripture contains a thousand secrets. Think through the small portion you selected and uncover its secrets. What is God saying to YOU in this moment. Speak to Him.
Use your mind to think about points in the passage to understand Our Lord better. (What did he mean when he said that?)
Use your imagination and senses to make the scene come alive. Be like the actor delving into the scene, into the role. If you were there what would you touch, smell, see, taste? What would your reactions be in that moment? What are your motivations? You can also be like the movie director here- create the scene- every little detail.
Now, bring your emotions into it. Be a participant in the event. Become part of the action with Our Lord and those that are present there. What are they saying? What are they doing? What are you saying and doing? How do you react?
Now Pray: what is happening in your heart? How does this affect you? Adore Him, praise and thank Him. Ask him for forgiveness there and then. Take off the mask you wear. Be vulnerable to Him at that moment. Be your true self before Him. Ask Him to tear down the walls you have around your heart that keeps you from really knowing Him and knowing yourself. Talk to him, tell him everything on your mind there and then, everything.
Make a resolution of something you are going to do to live holiness, to live as his friend, in your everyday life that day.
Now Contemplate: Spend a few moments in quiet with Jesus. Just BE with him. Don’t talk- Listen (this is the most important part). Just be there with him as you are with your good friend and love Him back. Friends don’t need to blather on all the time, they can simply revel in the presence of the other.
Finish your time of prayer with an Our Father and thank God. Tell him now- Thy Will Be Done. And mean it. A good prayer to say is: “I thank you Lord for the good resolutions, inspirations and affections you have communicated to me during this time of prayer. I ask your help in putting them into effect. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my Guardian Angel, intercede for me.”