Imaginative prayer (also known as Ignatian contemplation) is a way to pray with scripture using one’s imagination. St Ignatius believed that God could use any way to communicate with us including our feelings, emotions, memory, and imagination. Praying with scripture moves beyond the text and lets your imagination fill in the details and gaps. Now you’re chatting with Jesus, sitting in the boat with his disciples, or even standing at the foot of the cross.
The process can be as simple as this:
- SELECT a Gospel passage and imagine yourself in the scene. Let it play out in your mind. Are you a passive observer or are you participating as one of the characters?
- ENGAGE your five senses as if you were there.
- INTERACT with those in the scene, or imagine speaking to Jesus. What’s the conversation like?
But, this is not easy to all. For some, it takes time to prime our imaginations and feel comfortable with this kind of prayer. Sometimes we need a bit of guidance. God In All Things has produced an Audio Guide you can use to imaginatively pray with any Gospel passage. The audio track offers you prompts and then invites you to press pause and pray with the passage before returning to the audio for the next prompt. It may be best to download the track to your phone and listen with headphones or find it in the Ignatian Audio Meditations podcast.