(Each of us) are wired in different ways. Some of us respond better to the written word, some to the spoken word, some to music, some to art, some even to movement. Through this exploration of prayer, I’ve found we can connect to God in each of these ways. Though we may have a preferred sense through which to pray, the richest prayer life will come through experiencing God through all your senses. Kathryn Shirey
Why use our other senses in our pursuit of God?
- God actually gave us our imaginations.
- Christ-followers have found over the centuries that bringing our imagination into our pursuit of God (and the reading of Scriptures) actually enhances our spiritual growth.
- The Bible is actually a wonderful example of how broad our imaginations must be to embrace the “fullness” of God.
- We experience life through all of our senses. So why not use them to experience God?
Here’s how to best use Lectio Divina & Visio Divina (an imaginative form of prayer)
- Prepare: Find a quiet place where you can be free of distractions. Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind, asking God to enter into your time of prayer. Welcome Jesus into your midst, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you through your reading of God’s Word and your meditation on the image you have chosen.
- Lectio (read): Open your eyes and slowly read today’s text. Notice what words are drawing your interest. Ponder slowly on those words. Ask the Holy Spirit to work with your imagination, drawing you deeper into these familiar words. Close and rest your eyes a minute.
- Mediatio (meditate): Open your eyes and scan the entire image we’ve given you today. Let your eyes be led. Focus on the part of the image that catches your eye and name it. Sit with the picture for a moment. Close your eyes, once again, imagining that piece of the image in your mind.
- Oratio (pray): Open your eyes and look again at the piece of the image that caught your attention. Pray, asking God to bring forth a word, a thought, an image, or an emotion that might be associated with what you are seeing. Close and rest your eyes.
- Contemplatio (contemplation): Open your eyes and gaze, one final time, at the whole image. Slowly re-read the text for today as well. Pause. Breathe. Go slow. What is God speaking to you today through these words and this image? How will you respond to Him? Spend some time processing these things with Jesus. Pray a prayer of closure, asking the Holy Spirit to indwell and empower you as you go through your day. In closing, you might want to journal a few notes about your Lectio Divina & Visio Divina experience today.
Try this exercise in Visio Divina right here with a couple of pieces of artwork and two different translations of the text.
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10: 38-42 (MsgB)
Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach. Meanwhile, Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.
Martha (interrupting Jesus): Lord, why don’t You care that my sister is leaving me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to get over here and help me.
Jesus: Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won’t take it away from her. Luke 10: 38-42 (The Voice)
As you are learning to better care for your soul, we highly suggest that you also learn the ancient spiritual disciplines of Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, the Daily Examen, and Welcoming Prayer.
The care of your soul is vitally important to Jesus, to you, your family, and those who live and work around you. We have many tools to help you in your journey. Click on over to Step Two in your journey into Christ-centered 3-C contemplative activism…