Three Ways to Pray Ignatian

3 ways to pray Ignatian - with image of St. Ignatius Loyola

There’s no great mystery to Ignatian prayer, but this week is a good time to review. If you want to pray in the Ignatian way, here are three ways to do it—not an exhaustive list but a good start.

1. Do the Examen.

At the end of the day, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory over the day’s events and conversations. Give thanks for the blessings of the day. Ask God’s forgiveness if you have wandered from Jesus’ path of truth, compassion, and kindness. Ask God’s help with any negative patterns you see in your life, or for strength and wisdom to deal with upcoming events or issues. You can do this prayer once a day, twice a day, three times a day; the important thing is to develop a pattern that’s best for you. For more about the Examen, click here.

2. Put yourself in a Gospel story.

Just choose which character you’re going to be, and walk right into the scene where Jesus heals someone, delivers a teaching, or feeds thousands. You can be a main character in the story, or you can be a bystander or friend that you simply invent for this prayer. Don’t get distracted by trying to be historically accurate—this is not about you interpreting Scripture in a scholarly way. The point is to encounter Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide this very spiritual function, the human imagination, to where you need to go.

3. Pray as though you are having a conversation across the dinner table or in your living room.

In the Spiritual Exercises, this is called a colloquy, but it’s just conversational prayer. You speak to Jesus as you would a close friend. You speak to Mary, his mother, or to God the Father/Creator, or to the Holy Spirit who is comforter, or to one of the saints, who can be part of this conversation with the Divine. Sometimes, when we pray the way we talk, it can enable us to be more honest. Probably the only danger is that we become flippant or casual, but this isn’t much of a temptation when we remember who it is we’re talking to.

So, in honor of St. Ignatius, whose feast day is next week, give Ignatian prayer a try. Let us know how that goes.


This post is part of a series: Praying Through the Summer.

Join in 31 Days with St. Ignatius with today’s entry, Application of the Senses. Follow along everyday this month here and on social media #31DayswithIgnatius.

About Vinita Hampton Wright 137 Articles

Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

4 Comments on Three Ways to Pray Ignatian

  1. I tried and it was very good, I felt and still feel close to God.
    Thank you só much for this experience.

  2. This is something I tell people to try (Lots of times) Talk to Him the same as you are telling me your troubles ;Tell Jesus. Get it off your chest , stay quite and LISTEN. Thank you so much for your beautiful and insightful writings. A>M>D>G>

  3. As I was reading this article, I realised that I do this every day and not knowing that I’m doing the Ignatian Prayer. It really helps during the day and in my life. I’m so happy that I am doing this and that I’m moving in the right direction. Thank you for your article.

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