Imaginative Prayer or Ignatian Contemplation

 

This is another kind of meditation that uses the power of imagination. In some ways it is like daydreaming. The key is to get started in an imaginary encounter with Jesus and let things develop spontaneously.

 

The process here is simply to enter imaginatively into some scene from Scripture and then "do what comes naturally." Look at who is there. Hear what they say. Observe what they do. Enter into the action. Be yourself. Respond to Jesus, or to anyone else, as you feel moved. Say and do whatever comes spontaneously. This form of prayer has something in common with daydreaming, role-playing and psycho-drama: it consists in getting involved imaginatively in a situation with Jesus, then seeing what spontaneously develops. Reflect on what you see and do. See what significance it has for you.

 

Preamble:

 

  • Pause for a moment; clear your mind; recall that you are in the presence of God. Make a physical act of reverence (for example: bow, touch your heart).

 

  • Ask God to direct all your thoughts, desires and choices.

 

  • Read the passage you are going to meditate on.

 

  • In your imagination put yourself on the scene. You can take the role of one of the people involved, be a bystander, or just be yourself. For example, in the story of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) you can be one of the wise men and go through the experience of responding to the star with them. Or in the story of the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1 - 12) you can be the host who didn't have enough wine. In the story of the Call of Simon (Luke 5: 1 - 11) you can be one of the fishermen on a different boat that didn't catch anything that night. In the story of the Healing of a Deaf Man (Mark 7: 31 - 37) you can be someone in the crowd who is too afraid to ask Jesus for healing.

 

  • Ask Jesus to give you the specific grace you are asking for in this meditation

 

 

Steps: You will probably do this naturally. We only separate the steps to help you get back on track if you become distracted or stalled.

 

  1. Look at the persons on the scene. For example, see the Magi, the expressions on their faces, where they are, what is around them. Look at the star with them.

  2. Listen to what they are saying (and thinking!). For example, imagine the discussion the Magi are having about the star. Listen to them explaining to their wives the trip they are about to make.

  3. See what they do. For example, imagine the Magi making their decision, praying, packing the camels. Try to sense their feelings.

 

Conclusion:

 

Talk to God in your own words about what you have seen and want to do. Ask help. End with an Our Father, Hail Mary, or some other prayer. Then make the Review of Meditation.

 

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