How to Pray

Hi all,

Often people will ask how to pray? Prayer is very personal and there are many ways one can prayer. Even myself I pray in different ways. Sometimes I use journaling as a form of prayer, other times I just sit in quiet and listen. One formal way I like to pray is known as lectio divina. It is a style of prayer that came out of the monastic world of St. Benedict of Nursia. In this prayer one reads a scripture passage and reflects on it in a very specific way. The method is a process that has “Four Moments”, the first moment is lectio, the second moment is meditation, the third moment is oratio, the fourth moment is contemplation.

Lectio this is the reading of the scripture, in this phase you read the scripture (preferably out loud) three times very slowly. When reading it, each time you want to look at the reading differently. The first time, maybe write down words that strike you or hit you in a profound manner. The second time through make yourself an observer of what is happening in the reading. The third time you read the scripture, allow yourself to be one of the people in the reading itself.

Meditatio is the meditation phase. During this time take a long period of time to meditate on all you have just read. What is it the sticks out to you? Maybe it is an image, phrase, or single word. Allow that to be your focus, meditating on what God might be trying to show you through what stands out.

Oratio is the prayer phase. In this moment you are in prayer with God looking for what He wants you to take from all of this. This is a time to offer thanks, ask for forgiveness or simply talk to God about what the passage brought to your heart.

Contemplatio is the contemplation moment. In this moment you simply experience the loving embrace of God with an empty mind. Be aware of God’s presence with you. Listen for His voice.

This is a very simplified explanation of lectio divina. But maybe this is something you can do with the upcoming Sunday readings. When you do so, you enter the experience of liturgy in a very different way. Opening up the readings for you when you hear them proclaimed.

Peace and Blessings
Fr Ron Richards

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