Lectio Divina for Kids: Praying with Sacred Texts

An article from Peanut Butter & Grace

Lectio divina or “sacred reading” is an ancient method of praying with sacred texts that dates to the fourth century. Usually the text comes from the Scriptures, but other texts may be used as well, such as the writings of the desert fathers or the saints. The basic idea is to spend time listening deeply and intently to what God might have to say to you through the text—almost as if the sacred text were a much-cherished love letter from God.

Lectio divina takes many forms, but traditionally it is divided into four steps: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), oratio (prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). These steps do not necessarily need to be followed in a rigid order, although it may help to spend five minutes on reading, five on meditation, five on prayer, and five on contemplation. It is important, however, to touch on all four movements.

There are many books and online resources on lectio divina that you can use to explore this practice more deeply. One worth mentioning is Lectio Divina for Children and Teens: Activities to Help Young People Encounter God’s Word by Jared Dees (TheReligionTeacher.com, 2013).

Lectio Made Simple

If the steps outlined below seem overwhelming, back up and begin by reading a short sacred text slowly, perhaps two or three times. Invite them to respond by offering a word, phrase, or image that especially caught their attention. Why did that part of the text stand out? Talk about how God speaks to us through our sacred texts. What might God be saying in the reading? How might you respond?

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