SadhanaOriental meditation and christian prayer

Other ways of praying

2】 Lectio Divina in group (note 1)

 We can modify St. Benedict’s prayer in [1] for praying in a group (note 2).
<<Preparation>> Same Bible for each participant, a candle and lighter (place the candle at the center of the circle of members).  Ask someone in advance to serve as readers (two persons) and a person in charge of candle (one person).  Decide what section in the Bible to use (chapter, verses).  (A group consisting of four to nine people would be most appropriate.)
 In this prayer, a facilitator guides all the members from the beginning through the end.  As an INTRODUCTION, the facilitator invites members to silence in order to calm themselves.  (2 – 3 minutes)  Then, the facilitator prays in his/her own words that the Holy Spirit comes to the place and makes the Scripture alive.  Then, the facilitator asks a person to light the candle.
 Now, we enter the READING part.  We will be reading the selected section of the Bible slowly three times.  The facilitator asks participants to open the section in the Bible that we are reading.  And he/she asks one of the readers to recite the whole section slowly.  After the first reading, the facilitator tells members to read the first half of the section in silence.  Then, the facilitator asks the other reader to read the whole section again.  Subsequently, he/she asks members to read the latter half of the section in silence.  In this way, all the members read the section three times.
 We proceed to the next phase of CHOOSING and MEDITATING.  The facilitator asks each member to choose the “most impressive words” such as words that have fresh impression on them, that remind them of something, or that are alarming to them.  After selecting words, each participant voluntarily chants the words (phrase) three times prayerfully.  (It is okay if more than one person chooses the same words).  When everybody finishes chanting, the facilitator asks them to feel and meditate the phrase or words that they have selected.  Take about 3 minutes for meditation.
 Now we enter the phase of SHARING.  The facilitator asks participants to talk in their words what they learned from the words or phrase they had selected.  Again, participants start talking voluntarily.  If somebody does not want to talk, it is allowed to skip the person in some cases.
When it seems that members finished talking, the facilitator asks members to appreciate inwardly the words that they have chosen as well as the words that their friends have chosen.  Now we advance to MEDITATIO (MEDITATION) and ORATIO (PRAYER) in a group.  (Of course, each member meditates and prays in silence, but doing this stage together is a great help for each of us.)
 Take 6 to 7 minutes for this meditation and prayer.
 As a CONCLUSION, the facilitator checks the time and prays in gratitude for God.  Then he/she asks a person to blow out the candle. (A lit candle means that the praying time is still going on.)
 AFTER EXTINGUISHING THE CANDLE, we have the tender moment with the afterglow of prayer.  In this relaxed and cozy mode, those who did not talk in the previous SHARING phase may feel that they can talk now.  We can also ask questions and talk a little more about the words that we selected or what we discussed.  Share the time effectively until the session ends.
 In doing this, each of us should pay attention to one thing.  We use the Bible for prayer, so let’s not discuss how to interpret the section (biblical interpretation).  Let’s have discussion on interpretation in some other occasion, and in this gathering, let’s cherish what we feel in our heart.

[Note 1] Lectio Divina in Group
“Lectio Divina” is a Latin word meaning “divine reading.”  It is a method of group prayer following the process of reading-meditation-contemplation in the previous section “St. Benedict’s prayer.”

[Note 2] Praying in a group
 The method introduced here has been established in the following way: A method of praying in a group using the Bible has been popular in the world as “Seven Steps.”  Fr. Hidetoshi Kishi of The Passionist improved the method of “Seven Steps” in Japan and organized it in the way that is introduced here.

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