Imaginative Prayer

Imagination of the Gospel

In imaginative prayer, it is good to start with the deep breathing exercises we learned earlier. Read a gospel passage that contains a single story or event. Then mentally go back through the story, placing yourself somewhere in the event. You can be the one who received ministry from Jesus. Or, you could be a bystander who observes the event.

In meditation of imagination — as, for example, when I contemplate Christ our Lord, who lived in our visible world— the goal will be to see with the sight of the imagination the historical setting in which the event takes place that I want to contemplate.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises.


Place yourself wherever you desire in the gospel scene, you have chosen.

Ask yourself questions that help employ your senses. This will help the scene ‘come alive’ for you.

Sight – Who else is there? What do the buildings and landscape look like? What are people doing? How does Jesus enter the scene? How do people react to him? What does he do?

Hearing – What are the ambient sounds? Birds? Insects? Street sounds? What are people saying? What does Jesus say?

Smell – What odors are in the air? How do they affect you?

Touch – How does the bare, rocky ground feel to your feet? Is the air hot or cold? Are people touching you? Is Jesus touching you?

Taste – Are you eating or drinking something? How does it taste? Is your mouth dusty or parched?

Recount the scene in your mind. Focus on Jesus, but be very aware of your role in the scene.

How has this encounter with Jesus changed you?