Discernment is praying to know God’s will. Much of that will is already revealed in Scripture. So, discernment is always connected to reading the Bible in order to find out what God has already revealed.
We join with the saints of the ages in practicing lectio divina–a prayerful reading of the Bible in order to find and follow the will of God. This includes what we call “Bible study,” but that is not the goal in lectio; the goal is “Bible living.”
Early Christians approached the Bible with this prayer: “Give me a word that I may live.” That is our heart’s desire in discernment. We seek God’s will in order to do it, not just know it. Lectio divina is an encounter with the Bible (you can use it with other literature too) that moves us from reading to living—to becoming people who fulfill the Lord’s Prayer—“thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Lectio divina reminds us not only to ask God, “What do you want to say?”—but also, “What have you already said?”