Is lectio divina a form of mental prayer?


Or is it not considered mental prayer because you are using Scripture?


The reading of scripture can lead us to prayer. In theory it should lead us to prayer. I say in theory in the sense that a lot depends on the distractions around us, the time of day, how our mind is working at the time, whether we are rested or tired and so forth.

The tradition goes back to early monasticism. The monks used it for several purposes. To get closer to the Lord, obviously. They also mediated on the scritpures and they prayed from the scriptures. That lead them to deeper contemplation.

It is a very holy practice. Should be continued.


JR :slight_smile:


it is the safest doorway to mental prayer and to contemplation. relax, be, read, be still, follow the words, be stiller


Here’s a good explanation on Lectio Divina, from the Monastic Tradition, by Fr Thomas Keating.

The Classical Monastic Practice of Lectio Divina.

God Bless


Lectio Divina is made up of four phases:[LIST]
*]Lectio: this is when the Scripture passage is read, a few times until it resonates within your heart.
*]Meditatio: this is when you reflect on how the passage resonated within your heart.
*]Oratio: this is when you place your heart before God.
*]Contemplatio: this is when your heart rests in God.[/LIST]So, yes, it’s vocal prayer during Lectio, mental prayer during *Meditatio *and *Oratio *and contemplative prayer during Contemplatio.



I just want to piggy-back here by reminding the reader that these stages don’t happen on any particular schedule. They happen as grace works within your soul. You’re job is to make yourself available.

The best example of availability is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Happy New Year!

JR :slight_smile:


yes it is mental prayer in that you are not orally reciting a formal prayer like the Hail Mary or Our Father, and it is a process that begins with the intellect and engages the memory and imagination. And if God leads you there, can involve or become contemplation. Since all prayer essentially begins with Scripture that is not the criteria for whether or not it is mental prayer.


I’ve heard your explanation and another as well. Our Second Order nuns, the Poor Clares, teach that Lectio Divina is not prayer in itself, but it is the proximate preparation for prayer as it is the first step in raising the heart and mind to God. Their porposal comes from their monastic tradition.

I guess both your explanation and their’s can be correct if one define prayer as lifting one’s mind to God. Get what I mean?

JR :slight_smile:


somebody above has given a fuller explanation, since oratio, prayer, is a step in lectio then yes it is mental prayer. since I was formed in this practice in the Benedictine tradition, I have been taught that selecting and reading the scripture passage before beginning, and the lectio actually begins with the first prayerful reading.


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