Updated: Oct 25, 2022
For the next nine months, I’ve committed myself to understanding, learning about, and experiencing prayer in my life on a daily basis. I’m relearning an old Ignatian experience called “praying the scriptures”. I first learned about Ignatius in 2018, when I participated in a Book Study using The Ignatian Adventure. We studied this book for a year. It was just the beginning of understanding how to enrich my personal relationship with God and Christ through the Holy Spirit. What an amazing adventure!
I’d like to share a little bit about the structure of prayer I use, in hopes that you can take pieces of it and apply it to your life right now. I’m learning how to do this, so it’s slow and clunky. But, it’s getting better each day as I talk and listen to God. My goal is to be open to God and His spirit to move me through His living word.
So, first thing in the morning, I go to my favorite chair that looks out over our garden and the countryside and I have a conversation with God. I know God loves me and I love God. My deep desire is to have a relationship with Him. I start by experiencing the “Gaze of God” upon me. Experiencing God’s love is hard for me. Accepting that God loves me and desires to be a relationship with me; with all my flaws and imperfections is a struggle for me. I look at God looking at me and I find myself looking away. Then I’m drawn to His gaze and I look again into His eyes. He loves me! He cherishes me. I sit with this for several minutes. Letting it soak in! I sometimes use pictures of Jesus where He gazes upon animals, nature, and people.
Then I pray through the scriptures using the Lectio Divina process. If you have been to Windrush you’ve experienced this with scripture and songs. The first time I read the scripture passage I open my heart to God. I look for God in the passage. I listen for what God may be speaking to me. The second time I read the passage, I notice what words or phrases might be jumping out at me. I write these down in my prayer journal. Sometimes I stay with the word or phrase for several minutes to listen to what God is saying to me in that moment. This process is usually emotional; I smile, I laugh and sometimes I feel God’s touch on my heart. I sit with this as long as I can; soaking in His great love for me.
Lastly, I have a conversation with Jesus. Ignatius called this “a colloquy; a heart to heart conversation with the Lord.” I tell Jesus what I’m struggling with, what I’m wondering, what brings me joy. Then I take time to listen to Jesus. Sometimes I hear words, sometimes I get pictures, sometimes scripture comes to mind.
I end by saying the prayer – “Our Father, who art in heaven…” After I end, I use my prayer journal and I write about what I experienced. I find God in all things and as I engage with Him in the morning, I experience Him throughout the day. I see Him in my garden. I see Him in the conversations I have throughout the day. Love flows out of me to those around me. I find myself being intentional about what I say. Forgiveness is coming easier; forgiving myself and others. I want to know Jesus through his living word and to fall in love with Him all over again.
I imagine if you are reading this article you have a specific way you pray to God. Everyone is different and how God responds to each of us is specific to our needs. I encourage you to spend time with God building a relationship with Him.