One of the “hardest” sacrifices I make when leading faith formation for teens or adults is to resist feeling pressured to shorten prayer, and to instead embrace prayer time as the most important 4-8 minutes of our time together.
Theologically, it’s obvious! 😀 I mean, definitely better for someone to spend time listening for God’s communication, than to listen to me for 5 minutes more.
Or, as the psalmist writes:
“Better one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:11).
As a result, I make the time to do lectio divina when forming disciples. I’ve learned that this means not waiting until the end of a time together, because I know that I get wrapped up in whatever we’re discussing and never leave enough time. One way to make the practice unavoidable is to have a group meet first in a chapel, sanctuary, or visibly prayer-inspiring space–and then afterwards walk to a different location for discussion. Or, with a discipleship group that always drifts in late, I lead lectio divina smack in the middle of class–as we transition from discussion of previous material to new material–so that everyone is present (and joke that this is the “height” of class–it’s all downhill from here!). The point is, find something that works for your environment of faith formation–and stick to it, do it.
By actually practicing a prayer discipline like lectio divina during time together, I’m modelling that anyone can do this on their couch, at the kitchen table, with their spouse, etc. at home. I’m providing a concrete, tested way a person could pick up their Bible and start to read and pray with it daily (or maybe weekly!)–whatever it takes to start that habit of conversing with and listening to God. I figure if God can use me in whatever small way to start that habit, then the Holy Spirit can take care of the rest–forming the disciple and guiding him/her in true wisdom through the Word of God.
To encourage you, here’s an awesome graphic organizer tool/template from Katie Anne Bogner:
Read more here to find out how she uses this.