DIY Retreat #5: When Israel Was a Child I Loved Her

Here is another one-day prayer/silent retreat outline in the Ignatian tradition prepared by my friend Joy Richardson, a spiritual director in Coquitlam. You can find other  outlines under resources.  Here’s an introduction.

“When Israel Was a Child I Loved Her…”

child-walking-1Rembrandt copy 1640

  1. Welcome God’s Presence

(Begin with one of these prayers.)

Preparatory Prayer:

O Lord, I acknowledge that I am in Your Presence.
I offer this time to you.
Lead my heart and mind.
May everything I feel, think and do
be directed purely toward Your greater praise and service.

Morning Prayer:

Blessed Trinity,
I receive Your Love, Your Presence and this day as a gift from You.
I open my heart to You.
Please lead me deeper into Your transforming Love
as we live these next hours together.

2. Ask God for the grace you need:

Some examples are:

  • for the grace to experience God’s love for you
  • for the grace to listen to what God says
  • for the grace to have a generous, committed and open heart
    and amazement at your existence and at how personally God relates to you.
  • for the grace that you may grow in freedom to hold on to all that brings you into a deeper relationship with God and let go of all that draws you away from God.

As you pray, “turn on” your heart.

  • Go to where your heart is leading you. Listen.
  • Be content to just be in God’s presence.
  • When you are moved by something, stay there.
    “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Romans 8:26-27)

Prayer Session #1:

Hosea 11:1-11 “When Israel was a child I loved him (her)…”

(Alternate: Psalm 131, Song of Quiet Trust.)


  1. Read the passage.
  2. Welcome God’s Presence (Preparatory or Morning Prayer)
  3. Pray for a specific grace.
  4. Meditate on the passage (40-50 minutes). Read slowly and prayerfully. Listen to yourself, your heart and your own reactions. Listen to what might be from God, maybe a picture, memory, song, etc. Then stop. Pause and feel it for as long as possible. You don’t have to get to the end of the passage again. If you still have more time, continue reading until the next “feeling.” Stop and “feel” that. Continue.

    ***Do not write anything down at this time

  5. Have a conversation with Jesus about what took place in your prayer time. (10 min.)
  6. Write a “prayer review.” Reflect on your experience of your prayer, your feelings, thoughts and what happened. This helps us notice what God is doing.

Some questions that might help:

  • What happened inside me during the period of prayer?
  • How did I feel about what went on?
  • What was my mood, change in mood? What feelings flowed through me? What thoughts came in and out of my mind? Where was I drawn to dwell?
  • How were God and I present or absent to each other?
  • Was I praying for anything in particular? What was God’s response?
    –from “The Review of Prayer” by J. Veltri, S.J.


Take time to walk, eat , relax, etc for  about 90 minutes between prayer sessions.


Gallery-Religious-Jesus_with_childPrayer Session # 2:

Imagine a carefree time with Jesus.

If you have a favourite spot from when you were a child, go back there. If you don’t, choose a place where you would have liked to spend time as a child, e.g. a beach. Go to that place. Be a child of 5 or 6 years old. Imagine a time that is carefree, a time before rules and having to do what is right (e.g. only one treat a day). Imagine a time of freedom. This time with Jesus is a loving time of joy and spontaneity. Spend 40-50 minutes with Jesus. Enjoy!


  1. Welcome God’s Presence (Preparatory or Morning Prayer)
  2. Pray for a specific grace.
  3. Be a child in a place of freedom and joy with Jesus. See Prayer Session # 2 for details.
  4. Have a conversation with Jesus.
  5. Write a prayer review. See #6 above for details.

Preparing for our sharing time (for groups):

  1. As you read your first prayer review, allow room for the Holy Spirit to connect with you. Let what you are reading wash over you. Soak in it (like a bath). What is God’s flow over you like? Be relaxed. Be open to the unexpected.
  2. Read your second prayer review in the same way.

“Our experience of God’s love is so great, it trumps our fears, our wants.
Everything else pales. This is where we want to go.”

–Father Richard Soo, SJ

A copy of a Rembrandt drawing, 1640.
“Innocence” by David Bowman. Used with permission.
Morning Prayer of SoulStream Community. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2015.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015

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.
This entry was posted in Childhood, Ignatian Spirituality, Prayer, Prayer Retreat Outline and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.