Imagination in Prayer... Augustinian

What is it?

This method of using imagination in prayer asks us to bring the Biblical scene into our present time. St. Augustine of Hippo (today called Annaba, on the coast of Algeria) was a great Fifth Century African Doctor of the Church. He set up rules for community life. His mother was St. Monica who was highly influential in bringing Augustine back to practicing his faith. Two famous phrases he used were "I believe in order to understand" and "I understand, the better to believe".

How do I do it?

Using the method of Lectio Divina:

  • Read: Read the scripture passage several times. Listen attentively to what God is telling you in the words of Scripture by trying to read between the lines to discern the deeper meaning.
  • Meditate: Reflect prayerfully upon the meaning and try to apply this eternal wisdom to your situation today.
  • Pray: First we listen to God, then we respond by using our personal feelings and dialogue. How shall we respond to this message from God? How shall we bring it into our daily living?
  • Contemplate: Remain quiet and still in order to be open to any new insights that your God-given intuition brings forth.

Note: It can be helpful to repeat the above steps using the same passage on multiple occasions, discovering deeper and deeper meaning for you.

Example Scripture Suggestion: Ephesians 3:14-21

Take this Biblical prayer and change the pronouns from the second person (you) to the first person (I and your to my). Write out the new prayer so that it is a prayer for you.

  • Read the personalized prayer passage slowly and put as much meaning into the words as you can. Recite it several times.
  • Imagine God is speaking to you directly.
  • Remain quiet and still to be open to any new insights.
  • How might you bring this message into your daily living?
  • What changes in your present attitudes does this prayer suggest to you?
Additional Resources:
Augustinian Prayer
Catholic Encyclopedia on St. Augustine
Short daily Augustinian meditations