You might have heard of Lectio Divina, which is a way of doing a contemplative reading practice of Scripture, one of my favorite ways to meditate. Did you know that you can do a similar practice with Visio Divina, that involves using an image rather than Scripture for contemplation, meditation, and prayer?
The definition of Visio Divina comes from Latin and mean “divine seeing” or “sacred viewing.”
This practice invites you to look at an image, a photograph, a picture, or an icon and note what speaks to you. You can use any picture that draws you in--one with a religious theme or one from an artist you admire or even a picture that you took on your phone. If you don’t have one handy, you can look out the window wherever you are and see what catches your eye: Is there a bird flying around, is the sun shining, is there rain washing the earth? What do you notice?
What speaks to you?
Here is how you can use Visio Divina to pray according to The Upper Room ministries
1. Choose an image you would like to focus on.
2. Look at the image and let your eyes stay with the very first thing that you see. Keep your
attention on that one part of the image that first catches your eye. Keep your eyes from
wandering to other parts of the picture. Breathe deeply and let yourself gaze at that
part of the image for a minute or so.
3. Now, let your eyes gaze at the whole image. Take your time and look at every part of
the photograph. See it all. Reflect on the image for a minute or so.
4. Consider the following questions:
o What emotions does this image evoke in you?
o What does the image stir up in you, bring forth in you?
o Does this image lead you into an attitude of prayer? If so, let these prayers take form in you. Write them down if you desire.
5. Now, offer your prayers to God in a final time of silence.
Visio Divina is something you can practice in any place, any time of day. Every time you notice something that catches your eye, pause for a while and do a short Visio Divina. You can make this into a daily habit—notice what images God shows you each day and let God speak to you through them.