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FAITH > Spirituality > ~Ways of Praying > ~ Ways of Praying (1)
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Ways of Praying (1) Minimize

Lectio Divina

or Reflective reading and meditation (usually on a Bible Text)

This form of slowly reading scripture and meditating was not unknown before St Benedict but his encouragement to the monks in Ch 48 of his Rule to attend to their daily Holy Reading, has come to be seen as a particular gift of St Benedict to his followers. St Jerome a few years before. described it as like plucking a herb and rubbing it between the fingers to release the essence.

1.Choose a passage of scripture. One of the readings for Mass for the day often saves you spending time looking for one.

2.Read it slowly then take a pause for a few minutes

3. Read it again and see if any word or phrase stand out for you, try to avoid analysing the words, but accept uncomfortable words or phrases if these stand out for you.   

4. Sit with the word or phase and relish it.

5. If distractions come just note them, let them pass and go back to the word or phrase.

6. Let the word of God sink into the depths of your being.

7. After a good period of silence turn your prayer to speaking and most importantly listening to God, about any joys, losses or concerns that have arisen.

8. Give thanks to God.

9.  If God prompts you to move to thanks and praise sooner then do so. The steps above are only a linear guide that cannot contain the mystery of how God speaks to anyone.   

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Imaginative Contemplation

Modern fisherman casting net against sunThis form of prayer is particularly suitable for praying with Gospel or Old Testament stories.

 1. Read the passage slowly several times so you are familiar with it.

2. Imagine you are a bystander in the story:   What might you hear around you, the market place, the waves on a lake shore, people passing by? 3. Are there any smells from the animals, the sea or the market?  What can you see in the distance, or nearby?  Who is present in the scene?   4. How do they interact with each other?  What do they say to each other?

5. If distractions come note them and either use them in the scene or let them pass by. Don't spend time fighting them. 

6. Don't try to get it historically or geographically accurate, just let it flow.

7. In your imagination enter deeper into the scene and speak to one of the characters. Perhaps to a minor character first and then to Christ if he is the principal character in the scene.

8. Spend as much time as you need to listen to what is being said to you.

9. Finally thank God for any insights you may have been given.

10. Returning to the same passage in the following days can be rewarding and this repetition is recommended by St Ignatius.

A very good audio presentation of Imaginative Contemplation can be found via the additional info icon at the top of the page for Daily Prayer at www.pray-as-you-go.org

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The Examen

autumn leaves on ground with conkersThis prayer is to help you in growing awareness of where God is for you in the daily twists and turns of life.

1. Relax and ask God for the grace that your whole being is directed to the praise and service of the Lord.

2. Play back the day, period by period, paying attention to the moments you want to thank God for. Don't skip this part; finding God and thanking Him for the small delights, (even in difficult circumstances) of the day is very important.

3. Pray to God for the grace of self knowledge and awareness, without self-judgement. Ask oneself, in what places of the day was I not aware of God, or deliberately rejecting God? What was my underlying mood and attitude? Ask for the grace to see where my deepest desire was not orientated to giving glory and service to God.

4. Express sorrow for not always responding to God's promptings during the day and ask for God's help and grace with what is coming up tomorrow.

5. Finish by thanking God for His love and compassion or use any words of prayer  that best express your thoughts.  

A very good audio presentation of the Examen can be found via the additional info icon at the top of the page for Daily Prayer at www.pray-as-you-go.org                 

Copyright 2019 by the Catholic Diocese of Northampton, Registered Charity No. 234091