Note these samples on a study of the Gospel of John…
I'm really happy to be able to tell you about a great new resource for personal, small group, or congregation-wide use. It is called Light of Life and it offers you a personal journey of prayer and meditation in God's Word, by reading and prayerfully meditating on the Gospel of John. It is a gentle introduction to the ancient art of Lectio Divina, without all the, well, how to put it, goofy stuff put out these days on this subject. Check out the Light of Life web site. A mailing on the program has been sent out to Lutheran congregations throughout the USA. The materials will be available on June 15. Be sure to place your congregation's order now. On the web site you'll find samples of the prayer journal, a video and a description of what comes on the CD resource. Here are the benefits of this program.
We all hunger for a deeper, richer, more meaningful spiritual life. At the same time, we are unsure how to go about it or where to find it. Ironically, the answer to our need is right before us the whole time: the Bible. Throughout the history of the Church, the Holy Scriptures have been the bedrock of Christian prayer and devotional meditation.
In the modern era, the Bible has come to be regarded, more and more, as a sort of academic textbook, a "how-to" guide, a book of answers, or an "owner's manual" of sorts: something to be used in case of emergency, or something simply to be analyzed, dissected, parsed, and otherwise put under the microscope of scholarly investigation. While we can identify some good in each of these approaches to the Bible, the primary use of God's Word is to be the means by which God speaks to us, what we most need to hear.
God's Word is life and gives life. By means of His sure and certain Word of promise, our Lord gives us what we need the most: trust in Him, a sure and certain anchor of knowing what God wants for us and what He gives to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Another problem Christians have as they set out to engage in prayerful meditation on God's Word is how they view their devotions. Many regard devotions and time in God's Word as something "they are doing" rather than recognizing that a life of prayer and meditation on God's Word is actually Christ's work in them. In his very helpful book Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today, Dr. John Kleinig puts it well when he writes: "We think of our devotions as our duty or work, our achievement and the product of our determination and self-discipline. And that assumption sets us up for failure and spiritual disillusionment" (Kleinig, p. 12).
The Church Father Cyprian of Carthage wrote a letter to a friend in which he urged him to be "Constant in prayer as in reading. Speak with God, then let Him speak with you. Let Him instruct you in His precepts. Let Him direct you."
It is this back and forth dialogue between God's Word and the believer that is the basis for the ancient art of the devotional meditation on Scripture, a form of praying the Scriptures known as "Divine Reading" or, in the ancient language of Latin, Lectio Divina.