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Ignatian Contemplation


Imaginative Prayer with Scripture

  • Ignatian Contemplation is Prayer with Scripture. It is similar to Lectio Divina. It is meeting God through your participation and imagination in the stories of the Bible.

  • Ignatius of Loyola developed Ignatian Contemplation in the 1500s to help people know Jesus through imaginative interaction with Scripture.

  • Through the story, God meets and interacts with you.

  • Remember to let God be in control, listen to the Holy Spirit's promptings, and don't try to force the interaction. 



Contemplation Prayer Process

First Reading


• Read the scripture story aloud 2 times. 


• Listen to gain a general idea of the story and begin to Compose the Place.

• What do I See, what do I Hear, and what do I Feel?

  Second reading


• Reread the story 2 times while in a mindful state.


• Listen to the story for more details:

-who is the leader

-what is he or she is saying

-who else is there

-what are they doing

-how do they interact

• Compose the Place more distinctly in a mindful state.


Third Reading


•    Read the passage again but more slowly. 


•    Close your eyes, relax, and enter into a mindful state.


•    Begin to place yourself in the story. 


-who are you 

-how do you feel

-what are the sounds

-what are the smells

-what are the other details


Fourth Reading


•    Again, read the passage slowly.


•    Close your eyes, relax, and enter into a contemplative state.

.     Experience the story as the person you are in the story. 


•    Open your heart and feel the experience.


•    Speak to others within the scene.  


•    Listen and ask questions as the Spirit prompts you.


•    Ask others what you might take from this experience.


•    Be silent and think about their response.




•    Immediately, write down everything you can remember. Memory is fleeting.


•    Go alone to a comfortable and secure place and meditate on what you have written.


•    Pray for God's wisdom and understanding of the experience. 



Imaginative Prayer is a foundational practice for Contemplation. It is used with most contemplative methods but takes time to master.


Whether you are Praying the Scriptural Rosary, Practicing Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, or Praying Ignatian Contemplation, you must be able to imagine yourself dynamically in the story.

How to Pray Powerfully

Biblical Contemplation

Solving Problems Through Prayer

Traditional Prayers

Personal Prayers

Lectio Divina

The Anglican Rosary

Obstacles to Prayer

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