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I am excited to share my review of Meeting God In Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina by Jan Johnson. Jan is an author, speaker and spiritual director. You can learn more about Jan at JanJohnson.org.
Jan Johnson’s, Meeting God in Scripture is a book that I will leave on my bedside table. Each time I pick it up, I find myself coming back to the same passages until the passages are done speaking to me. Only then do I know it is time to move on.
“One colleague urged me to write this book to provide “training wheels” to help people move into Scripture meditation.” In Meeting God in Scripture Jan shares how to practice Lectio Divina. “There are four traditional steps in lectio divina—Read (lectio), Reflect (meditatio), Respond (oratio) and Rest (contemplatio).”
Relax and Refocus
Jan has added two additional steps that I found particularly helpful. I think you will feel that way too! At the beginning of each session she makes suggestions for what she refers to as “Relax and Refocus” (silencio). It is vital that we learn how to slow down and prepare to receive God’s Word.
Trying It On
Jan also expresses that we need to incarnate God’s Word. She describes this as, “Trying It On “(incarnatio)”. Here she offers key questions that nudge us to take some action that embodies a truth found in the passage.
Meeting God in Scripture contains forty meditation exercises that are organized by topic. We are to feel free to choose the topic that the Spirit moves us to select before we begin our session. Each meditation exercise is filled with questions and commentary that will help you move through the four steps of lectio.
Relish this Time
We are reminded that we must never become discouraged. We are to relish our time spent with God. “So if nothing comes to you, simply cherish the time of Scripture meditation as time spent with God.”
I practice centering prayer on a daily basis. Centering prayer opens me to the presence and action of God within: Rest (contemplatio). Lectio has become an important and wonderful complement to my centering prayer practice.
Jan’s book has helped me deepen my relationship with God. Jan’s book has helped me become more open to what the Spirit wants to share with me as I read Scripture. I am grateful that God shared Jan’s book with me!
If you want to learn more about lectio divina or go deeper in your existing practice I encourage you to check out this book. I do not think you will be disappointed.
As Jan mentions, let the Spirit remake you! “Scripture meditation goes much deeper than simple application. It opens us up to being completely undone by the Spirit and remade in the presence of the Word of God.”
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I just finished Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley. I am currently reading The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
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Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
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