Father Josh Johnson, a Catholic priest and YouTube star dubbed “The Rapping Priest,” knows all about interacting with God’s word in creative new ways. But one of the most powerful prayer methods he uses has been around for a millennium: Lectio Divina, or divine reading. “This Benedictine practice uses Scripture to inspire a conversation with God,” he says. “It helps you hear Him more clearly and strengthens your relationship.” Here, Father Josh shares the first two stages of Lectio Divina.
Step 1: Reading
The key to beginning the Lectio Divina practice, says Father Josh, is readying yourself to receive God’s word before you read. “Let your mind run wild for five minutes to clear out extra thoughts before opening your Bible,” he says. Though you may choose any Scripture, Father Josh suggests deciding which you’ll read in advance. “You can choose a passage at random or have one planned,” he says. “I’m open to letting the Holy Spirit move me to another passage, but having a specific one in mind ensures that I’m not wasting any of my time with Jesus—today I chose John 21:15–17.” Next, he recommends getting comfortable, taking a few deep breaths and reading the passage, focusing solely on the words on the page.
Step 2: Reflection
After you’ve done your first reading, take a moment to reflect on what stood out to you. “Because the word of God is inexhaustible, there’s always something new to experience,” Father Josh explains. “As you mull over what you’ve read, notice any words that speak to you, memories or feelings that are brought to mind or anything that says, ‘I’m for You today.’ In my reading today, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him repeatedly, and it struck me that Jesus actually loves us unconditionally, without expecting the same in return.”
Find out more about the five stages of Lectio Divina from Father Josh in our June issue, available now at Walmart, Barnes and Noble, in select grocery stores, and for immediate download on Kindle and Nook.