HomeIgnatian PrayerPrayer Is as Easy as 1, 2, 3—You Can Count on It!

Prayer Is as Easy as 1, 2, 3—You Can Count on It!

church bells

I grew up in a small town in Ohio. The focal point of the town and its people was Holy Trinity Church. Thus I was happy to discover, upon entering the Jesuits, that the focal point of Jesuit life and spirituality is the Holy Trinity. This focus dates back to its founder, Saint Ignatius. One day after his conversion, Ignatius was praying. At one point in his prayer, the church’s bells began to ring. Suddenly, he was given to understand how the three Persons in God are one. The three keys of a musical instrument have their own sounds, but, when played together, they form one sound. Throughout his life, Ignatius cherished that moment.

Against this background, the Trinity has always held a special place in my prayer life. One prayer form that I follow is called the 3-Minute Replay. It makes an ideal prayer before bed and is an easy method you can share in helping others kick-start their prayer life.

During the first minute, I pick out a high point in my day, something good, like going out of my way to help someone. I speak to the Father about it and give thanks for the grace to do it. The second minute, I pick out a low point in my day, something bad, like speaking ill of someone. I speak to Jesus about it and ask to be forgiven. The third minute, I look ahead to a critical point I will face tomorrow, like making an important decision. I speak to the Holy Spirit about it and ask for special guidance.

Like three notes that together form one rich, beautiful chord, the 3-Minute Replay can enrich your prayer life by blending together three things—thanksgiving, an examination of conscience, and petition—in a single prayer to the Trinity. The simplicity of the prayer also makes it ideal for those unsure about how to pray. Remember, prayer does not have to be grandiose or complex . . . in fact, it can be as simple as 1, 2, 3.

This article is by Mark Link, SJ, who wrote and edited more than 60 books, including Praying the Way Jesus Prayed. He was one of the best-selling Jesuit writers of the modern era.


  1. This is a helpful exercise that I can do. I have often noticed that all my prayers and thoughts are directed to Jesus and to Mary and to favorite saints. The habits of my childhood that did not have a way of thinking about the Trinity especially about the Holy Spirit. In recent years I have detected more movements and inspirations and I believe that this is the action of the Holy Spirit. I have asked for the Holy Spirit to make the action of his grace more clear to me. This 1-2-3-evening prayer will help.

  2. It looks to be a “Little Examen”!
    By the way, isn’t there an other Ignatian experience of the Trinity – with three organ pipes?


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