Imaginative Prayer with Scripture

What is imaginative prayer?

We can encounter God by using our imaginations to enter into a Scripture story.  We can imagine ourselves in the presence of the Lord as a disciple, a skeptical bystander, or even as ourselves, thousands of years ago.  No matter how we approach the Scripture story, using our imagination can help us to meet Jesus and grow closer to Him.  

How do I do it?

  1. Choose a story from Scripture, in particular the Gospels.  Consider starting with the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) or the story of Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41).  Any story presents an opportunity to encounter God.
  2. Place yourself in the Lord’s presence.  Close your eyes for a moment, relax your body, and ask God to speak to you through this prayer experience.  Breathe in God’s unique and beautiful love for you, breathe out any distractions on your mind.
  3. Read the Scripture passage once.  
  4. Which character stands out to you?  Choose one person in the story and place yourself in his or her shoes.  You may also enter the story as yourself, placing yourself, as you are, in the scene.
  5. Read the passage again, this time from the perspective of your chosen person.  Use your imagination: What do you see?  Who and what is around you?  What do you hear?  Is it the sounds of people, birds, Jesus’ voice, or even your own voice?  What do you smell?  Is there anything you taste?  
  6. Using your senses and placing yourself in the scene, read the passage a third time.  What might God be telling you or showing you?  
  7. Let the Scripture story open your heart to whatever message God might be revealing to you.  Spend some time in silence, listening to the Lord.
  8. Respond to God.  Thank Him for the opportunity to encounter Him in this unique way.
  9. Close with a sign of the cross.

Helpful Resources