Bits of Ignatian Wisdom: Ignatian Prayer

September 13, 2017

Bits of Ignatian Wisdom #7: Ignatian Prayer

Last week, we looked at the Ignatian idea of being a contemplative in action.  This week, I am going to turn to three types of prayer that are used during the Spiritual Exercises and help us deepen our contemplative side.  Prayer, as Pope Francis reminds us in Evangelium Gaudium, is our interior impulse that encourages us, motivates us, nourishes us, sends us forth, and gives meaning to our work.  Let’s take a look at three types of Ignatian prayer now.

Lectio Divina:.

The first prayer method a person uses when they make the Spiritual Exercises is not a prayer method that is uniquely Ignatian.  Lectio Divina traces its roots back to the early centuries of the church, and its a slow, rhythmic reading and praying of a Scripture passage.   When a person makes the Spiritual Exercises, they are given scriptures or meditations to pray with each day.   The prayer method of Lectio Divina helps a person pray with scripture through the process of reading it, reflecting on it, responding to it, and resting with it.

The Examen:  

The second prayer method introduced during the Spiritual Exercises is the Examen.  Somewhere in the first week of the Spiritual Exercises, a person will be introduced to this type of prayer.  As most of you know, this is one of my favorite prayer methods.  The Examen was so important to St. Ignatius he suggested to his brother Jesuits “that if you pray any prayer at all, pray the Examen.”  I believe the Examen helps us pray our lives by inviting God to review our last 24 hours together and name what we are thankful for, where we felt God’s presence, where we struggled to feel God’s presence, and what we are preparing for tomorrow.  Most Jesuits pray this prayer twice a day; however, it is a prayer that any of us can pray daily.

Praying with the Imagination/Ignatian Contemplation:  

A third prayer method used in the Spiritual Exercises, but also part of Ignatian spirituality is praying with scriptures through the use of  imagination.  This is called Ignatian Contemplation.  This form of prayer is used often to help us pray with the events in Jesus’ life.  The scripture passage is read several times, and then we imagine ourselves in the scene.  We watch the scene unfold in our minds and notice what we are noticing.  Our imaginations can open us to a way of knowing God with our whole hearts and not just with intellect.

I invite you to give one of these prayers methods a try this week in your prayer time!

Go Deeper? 

Online Busy Person’s Retreat:  

Stephanie Clouatre Davis joins our team offering the Online Busy Person’s Retreat in October!  Stephanie is a long time friend and colleague with over twenty years of retreat ministry.  She and I offer Ignatian Preached Retreats and other retreats and days of reflection together.  She and her husband, Michael, are raising two beautiful daughters, Emma and Abby.  You can read more about Stephanie at her website.


Join us this October to deepen your relationship with God, to incorporate prayer in daily life, and to give spiritual direction a try!

  • October 2-5, 2017:  Register here!
  • October 23-26, 2017:  Register here!

Who is the Author of My Life?  Women’s Day of Reflection:  October 18, 2017

Do you ever wonder who is actually the author of your calendar?  Your time?  Your worthiness? Your healing? Your life?  

Spend a day with other women in fellowship, prayer, and reflection as we  seek to place God as the author of our life.  Offered in conjunction with the Diocese of Baton Rouge Office of Evangelization & Catechesis.

For more information and to register go here!


Living as a Contemplative in ACTION: 

  • Hurricane Harvey: 
    • Bring a group to Houston for Relief Work:  My Uncle Keith is a presbyterian minister in the Houston area who is on an international board dedicated to rebuilding homes in the poorest areas.  They are working with Habitat for Humanity and multiple denominations to implement a long term plan for recovery for those who do not have the means to rebuild on their own.  If you are interested in bringing a group to Houston for relief work, please contact me, and I will put you in touch with my uncle.  They are able to house 75 people at a time for relief work.
    • Supporting Schools: I know of three schools collecting money for immediate support of families in need.
    • If you know of other organizations in need of support, please let me know!
  • Hurricane Irma:
    • Our prayers remain with those impacted by Irma.
    • I will share ways to support relief work as they are brought to my attention.

Cultivating Space for God Together: Fall 2017

  • September 20, 2017:  First United Methodist Church Ministry for Moms
  • September 21, 2017:   St. George Parish’s Book Club
  • September 27, 2017:   Christ Convenant Teacher’s Devotion
  • October 10, 2017:        Women’s ALIVE event at St. Robert Newminister Parish, Ada, MI
  • October 11, 2017:         Parish Staff Day of Reflection for St. Robert Newminister Parish, Ada, MI
  • November 14, 2017:    Jen Fulwiler Radio Show
  • November 16, 2017:    Women in Spirit, St. Joseph’s Cathedral
  • December 8, 2017:       Morning of Reflection for Parents at St. Scholastica Academy
  • December 12, 2017:     Advent Evening of Reflection, St. Thomas More Parish
  • December 13, 2017:     Women’s Advent Evening of Reflection
  • December 17, 2017:     “Spirituality for a Busy Person“, St. Margaret Parish, Albany, LA

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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