As parents and guardians, we all want our children to grow up with a strong faith foundation. One way to help them connect with God’s word is through the practice of Lectio Divina. In this blog post, we will introduce the concept of Lectio Divina and explain how it can be adapted for kids. We will also explore the benefits of engaging children in this spiritual practice.
What is Lectio Divina?
Lectio Divina is a Latin phrase meaning “divine reading.” It is an ancient practice of reading and meditating on scripture that has been used by Christians for centuries. The practice involves four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. The goal is to deepen one’s understanding of scripture and connect with God’s word in a personal way.
You can read more about Lectio Divina (more in-depth) here: What is Lectio Divina? [A Beginner’s Guide]
How can Lectio Divina be adapted for kids?
While the practice of Lectio Divina may seem complex, it can be adapted to fit the needs of children. Here are some tips for introducing kids to Lectio Divina.
Tips for Practicing Lectio Divina with Kids
- Choose age-appropriate scripture passages: Select passages that are easy for kids to understand and relate to. You can find kid-friendly Bibles and devotionals that are perfect for this purpose.
- Use creative activities: Encourage kids to use their imaginations by incorporating creative activities into the practice. For example, they could draw pictures of the scripture passage or act out the story with puppets.
- Keep it short: Children have shorter attention spans than adults, so it’s important to keep the practice short and sweet. Start with just a few minutes of reading and gradually increase the time as they become more comfortable with the practice.
- Encourage discussion: After the practice, ask children questions about what they read and how it made them feel. This will help them process the scripture passage and connect with it on a deeper level.
Benefits of Engaging Kids in Lectio Divina
- Helps them connect with God: Lectio Divina provides a way for children to connect with God’s word in a personal way. It helps them develop a deeper understanding of scripture and fosters a sense of spiritual growth.
- Builds a strong faith foundation: By engaging in Lectio Divina from a young age, children can build a strong faith foundation that will serve them throughout their lives.
- Encourages spiritual reflection: Lectio Divina encourages children to reflect on their relationship with God and to think about how they can apply scripture to their daily lives.
Basics of Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina is a spiritual practice of reading and meditating on the word of God. It is an ancient practice that has been used by Christians for centuries to deepen their relationship with God. Lectio Divina consists of four main steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Here’s a brief overview of each step and how it can be simplified and adapted for kids:
Four Aspects of Lectio Divina
- Reading: The first step in Lectio Divina is reading a passage of Scripture. For kids, it’s important to choose a passage that is age-appropriate and easy to understand. Parents or teachers can read the passage out loud or encourage kids to read it themselves. After the passage is read, take a moment to ask kids if they have any questions or if there are any words or phrases they don’t understand.
- Meditation: The second step in Lectio Divina is meditation or reflection. Encourage kids to think about the passage and what it means to them. This can be done through prompts such as asking them to think about how the passage relates to their lives or what they can learn from the passage. Kids can also draw pictures or write down their thoughts to help with their reflection.
- Prayer: The third step in Lectio Divina is prayer. This can be a time for kids to talk to God about what they have learned or what they need help with. Encourage kids to pray in their own words and to express their feelings honestly.
- Contemplation: The fourth and final step in Lectio Divina is contemplation. This is a time to simply be still and listen to God. Encourage kids to sit quietly and listen for God’s voice. This can be done through guided imagery or simply allowing kids to sit in silence for a few minutes.
Adapting Lectio Divina for kids is important because it helps them develop a deeper relationship with God and understand Scripture on a more personal level. It can also help kids develop a sense of spirituality and mindfulness. By simplifying the steps and providing prompts and activities, Lectio Divina can become a fun and interactive experience for kids.
Turning Scripture into a Fun / Interactive Experience
- Choose age-appropriate scripture passages: Selecting the right scripture passages is essential for kids to engage with Lectio Divina. Choose passages that are short, easy to understand, and relatable to their experiences.
- Incorporate interactive activities: Kids love to be active and creative. Incorporating interactive activities like drawing, acting out scenes, or making crafts can help them to better understand and connect with the scripture passages. For example, you can ask them to draw a scene from the scripture or act out a story with their friends.
- Use prompts and questions to guide reflection and discussion: Asking kids prompts and questions can help them to reflect on the scripture passages and their meaning. Some examples of prompts and questions are:
- What do you think this story is about?
- What do you think God is trying to tell us through this story?
- How can we apply the lesson of this story in our daily lives?
- Keep it fun and engaging: Kids have short attention spans, and it is essential to keep the Lectio Divina sessions engaging and fun. You can include games, songs, and other interactive elements to make the sessions more enjoyable.
- Encourage participation: Encouraging participation is key to keeping kids engaged. Give them opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings about the scripture passages and encourage them to ask questions.
- Be flexible: Kids can have different learning styles and preferences. It is important to be flexible and adapt the Lectio Divina sessions to their needs and interests.
By following these tips and ideas, you can make Lectio Divina a fun and meaningful experience for kids, and help them to grow in their faith and understanding of the scriptures.
Examples of Lectio Divina Activities for Kids
- “Musical Medley”: Play a song related to the scripture passage and have the kids listen and reflect on the lyrics. Then, read the passage aloud and have the kids draw or write their thoughts and feelings.
- “Biblical Bingo”: Create bingo cards with key words from the passage and have the kids mark off the words as they hear them read aloud. Afterward, have the kids discuss the significance of the words and how they relate to the passage.
- “Poetry in Motion”: Have the kids write their own poems based on the passage and then perform them for the group. This can help them connect with the emotions and themes in the scripture.
- “Nature Walk Reflection”: Take the kids on a nature walk and have them collect items that remind them of the passage. Afterward, have them share their items and explain how they relate to the passage.
- “Scripture Skit”: Have the kids work together to create a skit based on the passage, and then perform it for the group. This can help them understand the characters and events in the scripture in a more tangible way.
- “Puzzle Pieces”: Print out a picture related to the passage and cut it into puzzle pieces. Have the kids put the puzzle together and then discuss how the image relates to the scripture.
- “Scripture Scavenger Hunt”: Hide key words or phrases from the passage around the room or outdoors, and have the kids search for them. Afterward, have them reflect on what the words mean and how they relate to the passage.
These activities can help make Lectio Divina more engaging and enjoyable for kids while also helping them to connect with the scripture on a deeper level.
Incorporating Lectio Divina into Family Devotions
Incorporating Lectio Divina into family devotions can be a wonderful way to deepen your family’s spiritual journey together. One important tip is to set aside dedicated time for family devotions. This could be a specific time each day, such as before or after dinner, or a designated day each week. By making it a regular part of your family routine, you can help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and engage in the process.
Creating a comfortable and welcoming environment for discussion is also key. Choose a quiet and peaceful space that is free from distractions, and make sure everyone has a comfortable place to sit. Consider lighting a candle or playing soft music to help set the tone for reflection and contemplation. Encourage everyone to share their thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, and be mindful of creating a safe and non-judgmental space for discussion.
Another helpful tip is to encourage open-ended questions and discussion. Rather than simply asking yes or no questions, ask questions that encourage deeper reflection and contemplation. For example, instead of asking “Did you like the passage we read today?”, ask “What stood out to you about the passage we read today, and why?” This can help encourage critical thinking and meaningful conversation, and can deepen everyone’s understanding of the scripture passage.
Lectio Divina Journey with Your Children
Engaging kids in Lectio Divina has numerous benefits, including promoting spiritual growth, developing a love for scripture, and encouraging critical thinking skills. By adapting Lectio Divina to make it age-appropriate and interactive, kids can enjoy the process of reading, reflecting, and discussing the Bible in a fun and meaningful way.
Parents can incorporate Lectio Divina into their family devotions by setting aside dedicated time, creating a comfortable environment for discussion, and encouraging open-ended questions and conversation. By doing so, families can grow together in their faith, deepen their understanding of scripture, and strengthen their bonds with one another.
Incorporating Lectio Divina may seem daunting at first, but with practice and creativity, it can become a cherished tradition in any family or community. Don’t be afraid to adapt the process to fit the interests and needs of your children, and remember to have fun with it. By engaging kids in Lectio Divina, parents can help their children develop a strong spiritual foundation that will last a lifetime.