Imaginative Prayer with Scripture

What is imaginative prayer?

While it may seem unusual, the use of our imaginations can be a creative way to encounter God. By using imagination to insert ourselves into a tale from Scripture, we can put ourselves in the role of a disciple, a skeptical bystander, or even as ourselves, transported back thousands of years to experience the presence of the Lord firsthand. No matter how we might approach a story from Scripture, the use of a little imagination can help us meet and grow closer to Jesus.

How do I pray?

  1. Select a story from Scripture, in particular the Gospels. You may consider starting with a classic story, such as the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) or the account of Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41). Feel no need to restrict yourself to the clearest narratives, however; every story offers a new opportunity to encounter God.
  2. Place yourself in the presence of God. Close your eyes, relax your body bit by bit, and ask the Lord to speak to you through this prayer. Breathe in the unique and powerful love offered to you, and breathe out any distractions that might cloud your mind.
  3. Read through the Scripture passage once.  
  4. Think of the people in this story. Which character stands out to you? Place yourself in his or her shoes, or imagine entering the story as yourself, as you are right now.
  5. Read the passage again, this time from the perspective of your chosen person. Now, use your imagination to reach out your senses. 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 through this?  
  7. Let this Scripture story open your heart to receive whatever message God might be revealing to you. Spend some time in silence, and listen to the Lord.
  8. Respond to God, and thank Him for the opportunity to encounter Him in this prayer.
  9. Close with a sign of the cross.

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