Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
There are a lot of themes in today’s Gospel reading to reflect on: forgiveness, loving our neighbors, and witnessing to Christ, to name a few. But the one that stuck out to me came in the last few lines, concluding with: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
I think it is a temptation, especially when we are struggling, to keep our faith and our pleas to the Lord to ourselves. But this passage reminds us that the Lord is powerfully present when “two or more are gathered.”
I’ll never forget the first time I got prayed over: where friends and classmates put their hands on me and asked the Lord to come into my heart, into my life, and answer all my prayer intentions. I was moved to tears – there was a peace and a spirit in that moment of community before the Lord that was so powerful. There was a confidence that these brothers and sisters in Christ had my back and had great intentions for goodness for my life. There was comfort knowing they would keep those prayers on their lips even when we parted.
This is what the Lord here instructs us to do: to pray with our brothers and sisters.
I went to Haiti in 2010 on a mission trip. We left the orphanage we were staying at and ventured out into shanty towns and shacks to pray with the people there. Though some were superstitious and thought that we were bringing some miraculous magical power with us, that was far from true. But there was a miraculous gift that the Lord promised: He would answer us when we prayed together to Him. And when we gathered together to pray, He answered and was there.
Miracles happen when we humbly join together and beg the Lord to be with us. Imagine the power of three small children all pleading their father for something; there is a beauty in the collective group that a father cannot resist.
Whether it’s asking our families to pray for us, our boyfriend or girlfriend, or our friends, praying with others is something we should seek to cultivate as part of “spiritual game plan.” It is not only important for our prayer lives, but it’s important to build community and breach divisions in our world and in our hearts, for the Lord is truly present when we pray together.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
When have you seen the Lord's presence in the community of those around you? Think back to some times that God has been present when you were gathered in His name, whether or not you recognized it at that time.
How can you be better about praying with those around you? What holds you back from stopping to pray with friends or family? Is it fear? Discomfort? What else would stop you?
Do you take time daily to recognize the Lord's presence? How is God asking you to cultivate this sense of His nearness to you?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"You are near to me."
"I love Your presence."
"Come into my life, Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Be bold today and ask one person or a group of people to stop and to pray with you. Take this risk, and see how the Lord works in that prayer.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Andrea Scott, a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.