In family dwelling, the Word of God is read in the style of Lectio Divina. It is ideal to start with a story about Jesus or story told by Jesus or the words of Jesus. The family stays with one story for several times together (ideally…a week).
Since the Word is living, each time the text is read the children/teens will find something new in the story, words, message or application. After several dwellings the story will begin to dwell in your family life.
Steps for Dwelling in the Word:
- Repose: Begin with a song or prayer to center your minds
- Read the story together out loud (or each person reads a verse)
- Reflect quietly individually for a moment
- Respond: In pairs, share with each other what you heard or noticed in the story.
♦ What jumped off the page to you? Ask questions like: What did you hear in the story? What stood out to you? What does this story/words mean to you in your life today?
♦ Each person then shares with the larger group what they heard their partner say the Word of God spoke them in that reading. (This teaches amazing listening skills!)
- Rest: Close in imaginative prayer (tell the story with eyes closed to see it with the mind’s eye), a moment of silence, or sing a song together followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
Some suggestions for the following readings of the same text:
♦ ask the deeper level questions helping each person take the story or words to a deeper connection
♦ use alternate forms of reflection like art, acting, or singing.
♦ read from different versions.
The model here is that children and teens are capable to discern the application of the story/words when they learn to listen. By staying with a story for several readings we savor the Word and discover it’s mulit-level meanings. We help children and teens understand the joy of digging deeper into Biblical narratives. We savor the Word instead of speeding through the Word as we often do when reading or teaching children or teens.
We dwell in the Word and the Word then dwells in us.
Adapted from Workshop at Pepperdine Lectureship by Cheryl Russell
See Lectio Divina or Imaginative Prayer for list of text ideal for this type of prayer.