August 26, 2020
Once a month, we will share a way of praying you might find helpful as you deepen your relationship with our Lord. Our first prayer practice is called Visio Divina. “Divine Seeing.” You might want to skim the article now if you’re short on time, but please come back to it when you can be more relaxed.
Visio Divina–Seeing God all around you
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people . . .”
–Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)
The prayer invitation this week is to explore a type of prayer called “Visio Divina” which is a Latin word meaning “divine seeing.” It is similar to the prayer practice of Lectio Divina which is the “divine reading” of scripture. These prayer practices invite us to meditate on an image or scripture which opens space for a conversation between you and God. It might be a photo, a painting, or even something in nature that catches your attention.
Why do this?
The practice of Visio Divina helps you experience God’s presence by what the “eye of your heart” sees and notices in an image or in nature. It can open your heart to explore God’s invitation during this time of prayer, which allows you to be taken deeper than what you first see in the image as you continue to meditate on it. It is an invitation to look for a deeper meaning in the image and how it relates to your own life, currently or from your past.
How do I pray the Visio Divina?
As you prepare to experience this prayer, you might want to have a pen and paper available to journal your thoughts and insights as you spend this time with God.
I invite you to relax and pay attention to your breathing. Invite God’s presence into this time of prayer. Pray that your heart and mind are opened to what God desires to reveal to you.
Gaze at the image, looking at all aspects of the picture – the colors, the shapes, the larger image and smaller details.
- What has captured your attention?
- What is important to you in that part of the picture?
- What emotions do you feel?
- How does it relate to you personally?
- What do you sense God is inviting you to explore?
- What thoughts bubble up as you look at the image?
If you are stirred to, journal your thoughts and feelings, talk with God about what you are seeing, hearing and the meanings that you are sensing.
Pause and ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart to look deeper at what God has revealed to you. What additional layers are being revealed to you? How do you sense God is inviting you to respond? Rest with God in what has been shown to you during this time of prayer. When you are ready, offer a prayer of gratitude to God for the time you shared together.
Reflect on your experience. That reinforces it.
How did you experience God in this time of prayer? How is God inviting you to respond?
Prayer: Loving and gracious God, we give thanks for your presence in our life, both in the highs and in times of struggle, always knowing that you are our rock and refuge. Be with each of us now in whatever we are facing this day to rest in that place of shelter, help us to feel your love surrounding us. Remind us of your promises and open the eyes of our heart to your presence. In your son’s name we pray. Amen.
Shirley Knight, Certified Spiritual Director
Associate Director, Seeking the Spirit Within