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Seven Simple Spiritual Practices

woman praying near windowEditor’s note: Celebrate the 10th anniversary of with us. For 10 weeks, we’ll be “Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality” by bringing you special content on our website and special offers from our sponsor, Loyola Press. Learn more here.There are no magic numbers related to spiritual growth, but sometimes it helps to make a list just to simplify our goals. There are hundreds of spiritual practices, but I’m listing seven that are fairly simple. Please try them out!

  1. Do a short, focused morning prayer. This can be, “Good morning, Lord. I’m grateful to be alive another day,” or, “May my thoughts, words, and actions reflect your love today,” or anything else that is short and to the point. It can be a waking-up prayer, to help you focus your attention as the day begins.
  2. Sigh to God. The Holy Spirit takes every sigh, every tear, every groan and translates them to our heavenly Father. Sometimes we put too high a value on words when it comes to prayer. Sometimes, a sigh will convey exactly how you’re feeling and what you need. Please note: you are encouraged to do this prayer multiple times a day.
  3. Reflect. Stop at mid-morning or noon or afternoon or evening, and look back at what has happened in the day so far. What did you do or say? How did you feel? Where did you perceive God present or at work? Respond with thanksgiving or with a prayer to do better during the rest of the day.
  4. Listen to Scripture. Allow Scripture to soak into your mind and heart by listening to it—in recorded songs or hymns or from an audio version of the Bible. Take just five or ten minutes to do this, while you’re commuting or eating your lunch.
  5. Say thanks. Pause to thank God for one thing in your day. Or thank another person for one thing he or she has said or done that helped you.
  6. Say please. Acknowledge your true desire at this moment and voice it to God. Or ask another person for help rather than trying to do everything yourself.
  7. Help someone. Donate money to an organization that addresses needs in the community. Encourage a coworker. Help a stranger pick up the dropped bag of groceries. Hold a door open. Pitch in when you see a friend or family member overwhelmed with a task.

What’s your favorite simple spiritual practice?

Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality: 10th Anniversary of

Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright edited books for 32 years, retiring in 2021. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places and spirituality books Days of Deepening Friendship, The Art of Spiritual Writing, Small Simple Ways: An Ignatian Daybook for Healthy Spiritual Living, and, most recently, Set the World on Fire: A 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church. Vinita is a spiritual director and continues to facilitate retreats and write fiction and nonfiction. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and a cat in Springdale, Arkansas.


  1. Thank you for bringing to heart the meaning of SIGH; to me, as a chaplain, I’ve seen and felt patients sigh in joy, in pain, in relief, in sorrow, in communion,in all gamut of emotions. SIGH is the very breath of the indwelling Holy Spirit in all of us. A perfect prayer.

  2. My daughter was recently diagnosed with anorexia. I am comforted to offer my frequent sighs as communion with God.

  3. I immediately thought of my dear dad who always sighed . He sighed when he was happy , sad , pleased , etc. You just reminded me of how prayerful he was .Thank you .Carol

  4. How comforting that a sigh can be a prayer. I will, hopefully, never sigh again
    without thinking of prayer.

  5. Thank you for this reflection. I hadn’t realized a “sigh” can be a way of praying or communication with God. I will make a point to be more aware.


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