Imagination in Prayer... Ignatian

What is it?

This method of using imagination in prayer asks us to place ourselves back in time into the Biblical scene. Use your senses to imagine what you might see, hear, feel, taste, and/or smell. St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order), “encouraged people to develop an intimate relationship with God who loves them and desires the best for them.” It seeks to find the truth of our heart and not just the truth of facts.

How do I do it?

Using the method of Lectio Divina:

  • Read: Read the scripture passage several times.
  • Meditate: How is God speaking to you today?
  • Pray: First we listen to God, then we respond. How shall we respond to this message from God? How shall we bring it into our daily living?
  • Contemplate: We need to give God time to reveal God’s self to us. What feelings are brought forth?

Note: It can be helpful to repeat the above steps using the same passage on multiple occasions, diving deeper into the experience each time.

Example Scripture Suggestion: Luke 10:38-42

  • Read the passage several times and then set the Bible aside. Close your eyes, centre yourself, relax, and invite God into your imagination.
  • Let the scene play in your mind. What do you see, hear, taste, feel, and/or smell.
  • As your imagination engages all your senses to bring this scene to life, ask yourself: where am I in the story? Are you Martha, Mary, or Lazarus? Are you another guest? Are you an on-looker? Do you chat with Jesus? Or are you keenly aware of a conversation Jesus is having with someone else? … What is your experience in the scene?
  • When the scene finishes sit quietly allowing your experience to linger – how might God be speaking to you through your imaginings about this passage? How might you bring that message into your daily living?
Additional Resources:
Ignatian Prayer
Adaptation of Sacred Space oriented for young people
Society of Jesus Information