“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
@@and my Father will love him,
@@@@and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

 

Lectio Divina with Children

It is impossible to set out a script for lectio divina for use with all children. However the
example here is one which works. The script could be printed and put onto acetate
and projected. Alternatively you could write it onto flipchart paper. Otherwise photocopy
one for each child.

For children up to the age of 12, the sort of approach that is usually most appropriate is
much more about you building a relationship of love with them in order that they trust you
and in order that they want to learn about the elements which make up your world. A formal lectio divina session is not often appropriate.
There is no need to use the term lectio divina, and in fact the approach described here is
intended to be a process of liberating the child to imagine a God who is involved with them
personally and whom they can listen to and speak to.
A more free or chaotic session (organised chaos, of course) will teach them much more
about their relationship with God and will help them to acquire the belief that they should
come before God completely as themselves. It will help them to differentiate lectio divina
from a religion class at school - this is of paramount importance!
Lectio with children up to the age of 12 needs to be more discursive because they will need questions, prompting and encouragement at times. Younger children may be especially good at drawing out the essence of a text for themselves because they have not yet become self-conscious. They deserve the chance for silence, though, as much as anyone.

Using the Reading
Choose stories mainly, Gospel stories but also Old Testament stories. When you prepare the session, ask yourself what are the key words, the key ideas and teachings.
What is the big question that the children must ask themselves when they read this passage?
What are you going to ask them to help them?
It is a good idea to conduct the reflection in two stages:
1. What does it say?
2.What does it say to me?
In order for any listening to God to take place through the medium of a text, the text
needs to be understood.

Re-presenting the Story
Get them to tell the story back to you and help them to get the principal idea(s). With all
children it's a great idea to resort to art or music to do this. Get them singing or drawing
pictures. This pack doesn't need to give a step by step guide on how to do that.

Reflecting on the Story
The second stage is of course more difficult but they will probably regularly surprise you.
It is all about helping them to see themselves as individuals with different gifts and ideas
and different histories and the better you know them the more you can help them to do this.
They will all have done different things recently so the reading may seem more appropriate
to one than to another.
This doesn't matter but in the long run over several meetings you must make sure that
everyone gets to say at least once how a reading affects them.

Time for Intercession
At the end of the session they should have the chance to make intercessions for different
things. Try to include a corporate prayer that reflects something from the reading, connecting it with their own experience.

The Ten Commandments for lectio divina with children

1. Know the children and their world.
2. Concern yourself for them when they are ill or having problems.
3. Seek the counsel of other lectio divina group leaders.
4. Pray for each one of the children in your group.
5. Be organised and prepare in advance each meeting with the children.
6. Take time with the children of the group outside of the meetings.
7. Show by your actions that you live by what you teach.
8. Always have your Bible to hand and always have it open at the meetings.
9. Choose readings and give explanations appropriate to their understanding.
10. Never forget that you are working for the Kingdom of God.

The text below which offers a template for a session is available as a separate handout

We start with the sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Leader:
Let us all pray now to the Holy Spirit to help us to listen and understand
Everyone says:
Come Holy Spirit and be with us now as we pray. Help us to love you and others.
Help us to learn what you want us to learn as we listen to the reading from the Bible. Help us to do what God wants.

Leader:
Let us think about when we have hurt anyone this week or not been good to someone who
needed to be loved... Let us ask God to forgive us:
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Leader:
Now we listen to the reading from the Bible.
We read it slowly so that we can work out what is happening in this story.

Reading

Leader:
First we try to understand what the story really says.
We try to get a picture of it in our heads.

...

Leader:
Now we try to work out what God is saying to us in this story.

...

Prayers of Intercession

Our Father...

We finish with the sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Copyright © LCSB
Page last updated on 16 February, 2015