DIY Prayer Retreat #3: Meeting Jesus in Scripture and in Daily Life

Nearly every month I gather with friends for a silent retreat. It has been a rich experience. I explained how it works here and introduced Ignatian prayer  here.

Joy Richardson, a spiritual director living in Coquitlam, prepared and led this retreat.

An Ignatian Prayer Retreat:
Meeting Jesus in Scripture and in Daily Life

10:00 am Begin by asking a participant to light the Christ Candle and open in prayer.

Read aloud: Questioned by a Straw Flower by Esther Hizsa

Go over the following and then invite people to enter into silence and return for sharing and prayer at 3 pm.

Part I: Contemplation of Scripture (First prayer period)

Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-law by Rembrandt

Allow 1 hour and 15 minutes for each prayer period with a 90 minute break in between.

  1. Opening Prayer: (can be any  you choose e.g. SoulStream Morning Prayer)
  2. Preparation: Choose a scripture passage and read it.
    • Luke 13:10-13 Healing of the crippled woman.
    • Mark 1:9-11 The Baptism of Jesus
    • Any Scripture the Lord draws you to
  • Visualize the scene: smells, sounds, temperature, surroundings, characters, clothes, tastes, things you touch, etc.
  • Ask God for your Heart’s Desire (What you specifically need at this point.) e.g. Ask for a deeply felt awareness of God’s love for you.
  1. The Prayer of Imagination (main section-45 min.):
  • Be in the scene. Slow down. Wait. There is lots of time.
  • See the characters. Who are you?
  • Listen to what they are saying. How does this impact you?
  • What are they doing? What is your reaction?
  • What are they feeling? What are you feeling?
  • What would you say and/or do in that scene?
  • What would you say to Jesus? What does Jesus say to you?
  • What does Jesus do? What do you do?  Just be with Jesus.

Savour and relish your time with Jesus. Be sure to get “up close and personal” with Jesus. Look in His eyes. Allow Him to look into yours. The point of the spiritual life is to know Jesus, not know about Him, but to know Him.

  1. Talk it Over With Jesus (10 min.): Talk your prayer over with Jesus. Tell Him what happened in your prayer.
  2. Closing Prayer
  3. Written Prayer Review (15 min.): Move to a different spot. Write down what happened that was particularly significant to you. Include how you felt. This helps you notice what God is doing in your experience with Him. Being in this prayer in three different ways (imagination, talking it over, review), allows your experience of Jesus to deepen. That is extremely important.

After  your first prayer period, take a break for lunch and walk or rest. Ideally there should be 90 minutes between prayer periods.

 

Part II. Contemplation: Finding God in Our Own Lives (second prayer period)

Album Page 94 by Chris KilkesThe Old Testament is a love story between God and Israel. The Gospels are a love story between God and the apostles. My story is the love story between God and me. It is where my inner life becomes the source of my matter for prayer.

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Preparation: Jesus is with us in the good times and the hard times. This prayer helps us to experience Jesus in a specific moment in our lives. Choose a moment or experience that you are going to bring to the Lord before you start your prayer. Today let’s choose a time you sensed God’s love.  It might be one of our own personal encounters with God, a special moment of grace, a simple spiritual moment, a life-defining moment or just a special moment.
  • Visualize the scene in detail.
  • Ask God for your Heart’s Desire. (What you specifically need at this point.) e.g. Ask for a deeply felt awareness of God’s love for you.
  1. The Prayer of Imagination (45 min.):
  • Relive the moment/experience. Don’t just remember it or observe it.
  • Enter the scene. See each of the people. Where are you?
  • Look around slowly. What do you see and hear and smell? What are you wearing?
  • Where is Jesus? What is He doing? What is He saying? What is He saying to you?
  • What are you doing? What are you saying?
  • What are you saying to Jesus? What does He say to you in reply?
  • Just “be” with Jesus.
  • Feel how you felt in the experience.
  • Feel: imagine God feeling what you were feeling then.
  • Feel what is in God’s heart for you, God’s love for you. Let it transform you. This is not a time to get a message from God and then do it. What changes us is quality time with Jesus, soaking up His presence.
  • Savour and relish your time with Jesus.

(If sometime you choose a difficult experience, then imagine what God was feeling as God was feeling your pain.)

  1. Talk it Over With Jesus (10 min.): Talk your prayer over with Jesus. Tell Him what happened in your prayer.
  1. Closing Prayer
  2. Written Prayer Review (15 min.): Move to a different spot. Write down what happened and what you felt.

3:00 pm Gather together and take turns sharing what was significant in your times of prayer. After each person has shared, hold them up to God in silence. Remember not to comment on what others have shared. No advice giving or fixing. Keep what has been shared in confidence.

4:00 pm Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the day.

 

Credits:
“Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law” by Rembrandt, 1660.
“Album Page 94” by Chris Kilkes. Used with permission.

 

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
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