Praying the Ignatian Way

St. Ignatius of Loyola taught a form of reflective prayer, also known as meditation or Lectio Divina, which invites you to use your mind and imagination to engage in prayerful conversation with God and to recognize His presence in your daily life. Reflective prayer involves the following simple steps.

 

Step One

Get into a comfortable position and, if you wish, close your eyes or focus on Jesus. Become aware of God’s presence and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer.

 

Step Two

Take 5 minutes to practice rhythmic breathing—counting to three slowly and silently while breathing in and counting slowly to five while breathing out—to help concentration.

If you become distracted, return to concentrating on your breathing and let the distractions go by so that you can turn your heart back to God. Likewise, you can choose a special word or phrase, such as Jesus or My Lord and My God, and repeat it when you are distracted to bring your attention back to God’s presence.

 

Step Three

Select a brief passage from Scripture and prayerfully read it. If the passage you select is a Gospel story, use your five senses to imagine yourself as a participant in the story (What can you see? What sounds do you hear? What can you feel?).

Imagine a setting in which you can talk with Jesus and listen to him speak to you. You can respond to what Jesus is saying or doing in the story, or you can simply talk about something that has happened to you recently or about a forthcoming event in your life.

Take this time to talk to God as you would to a friend. Journal down what stands out to you, what image, what sound, what does Jesus say, what do you say?

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