Spiritual Practices - A Companion to A Better Country

Visio Divina

Visio divina in Latin means “divine seeing.” Find an image or picture that stirs your spirit. Spend some time taking in the entire image. Ask God to help you see every person, creature, and element of the image through his eyes. Pay attention to any emotions that arise when you gaze at the photo. Then zoom in on one part of the picture that seems to speak to your soul. Linger there for as long as you wish. What is it about that part that speaks to you? Finally, step back and take in the entire picture again. Prayerfully close your time of visio divina talking and listening to God however you were moved by the image.

Nature Walk

Some people really connect with God through the beauty and wonder of his creation. In our digital age, being in nature is elusive to many of us. Dedicate some time every day to step outside and encounter the elements of nature, and not just when it’s sunny and bright. A nature walk in a beautiful setting can help you decompress and connect with your Creator. As you walk, look for living things: animals, grass, flowers. Think of the areas in your life that feel “alive”. Next, look for anything that seems “dead” or “broken”. Are you experiencing injustice? Suffering? Are there patterns of sin? Confess and/or call out to God over those areas. As you walk, remind yourself that you are created in the image of God. The beauty you see around you is also in you.

Lectio Divina

Lectio divina in Latin means “divine reading.” Lectio divina is a slow, reflective, and meditative reading of Scripture that allows you to absorb the Word of God. A typical lectio is guided by the Holy Spirit in steps or movements. Select a passage from Scripture: this can range from several verses to just one. Read the Scripture slowly. Then, sit in silence as you allow the Word of God to penetrate your mind and soul. Read the Scripture again, this time underlining any words or writing down any thoughts that stand out to you. Prayerfully consider the meaning behind those words or ideas. Finally, read the Scripture a third time, slowly. What is God saying to you? Respond to him in prayer or journaling.


With every stroke of our pen, journaling helps us slow down our mental processes and be more reflective about what God is doing in our lives. Journaling also helps preserve memories and God-moments as we take time to recall and write down our activities and thoughts. Journaling is not limited to written words—feel free to draw pictures, write sideways, use highlighters…. whatever it takes to express your emotions and thoughts vulnerably to God. Some people like to keep and read their journals later, others use them to process thoughts and then they discard them. Do whatever feels most comfortable to you. Don’t be overly concerned with someone reading your journal that you’re afraid to be honest with God. You don’t have to write everything—you can talk to God while you journal.


Worship is more than singing songs or listening to instruments play a melody. Worship is about adoring God and connecting with him, often through music or dance. We all have preferences when it comes to music, but because worship is global and universal, try listening to worship from other cultures and languages. A quick Spotify search should yield results. Try to imagine yourself worshiping with people from that other nation or land (Rev 7). Instrumental music often expresses what words cannot, so also consider music without words. Let that music be the backdrop to your own words of adoration to the Lord.


The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia, which means “love of strangers.” In modern practice, hospitality is usually reserved for friends and acquaintances and can be transactional, with each party taking turns hosting. In biblical times, however, hospitality, even to total strangers, was an honor-bound duty. Hosting a weary traveler passing through a village in need of a place to stay the night would not be an uncommon scenario. As an exercise, practice hospitality without any expectation of return. Or practice hospitality completely outside your normal sphere of friendship. Reach out to someone different—even opposite—from you. Allow yourself to be “inconvenienced” for the sake of someone else. Open yourself to allowing God to teach you something through your act of hospitality. Afterwards, journal or pray about your experience. What did God teach you about yourself, the other person(s), or himself?