HomeIgnatian PrayerThe Prayer of Imagination

The Prayer of Imagination

Ruth Workman, a spiritual director,  describes how Ignatian prayer invigorated her prayer life:

Next we were introduced to an Ignatian practice, a prayer of imagination. I was asked to read the passage where Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me.” I was then told to engage my senses. What did I see in that scene? How did it smell? What sounds did I hear? Were there any taste or touch sensations? I was then to imagine myself in that story, participate in it as it was revealed in the Bible, and then allow my imagination to continue to unfold the action and dialogue of the story.

Until this point in my life, my prayer had been filled almost entirely with words. I had been taught the ACTS of prayer–adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication–as a teen and had continued to use this as my model of prayer, along with devotional reading. Suddenly in this Ignatian practice, Jesus and I were having a dialogue rather than my doing all the talking. I had felt like a flower that had been parched in the desert. Suddenly I was showered with sweet, refreshing water.

Jim Manney
Jim Manneyhttps://www.jimmanneybooks.com/
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. I thank God for Saint Ignatius and for my spiritual director as I am making the 19th Annotation and have never encountered our Lord in such a meaningful way previousy. I am filled with gratitude. God bless each of you who encourage us to stretch our prayer life in this way.

  2. I was so delighted to see this and an accompanying article in The Christian Century. I completed my spiritual direction training while I was in seminary, and found that most of my fellow students and professors in the latter were baffled and not a little leery of the former.


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