6.3 The Ignatian Way: Conversational Prayer.

Today’s Lectio Divina: 

I will talk to the Father, and He’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take Him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see Him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know Him already because He has been staying with you, and will even be in you! I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you’re going to see Me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in My Father, and you’re in Me, and I’m in you. John 14: 16-20 (MsgB)

Prayer is the expression of the human heart in conversation with God. The more natural the prayer, the more real He becomes. It has all been simplified for me to this extent: prayer is a dialogue between two persons who love each other. Rosalind Rinker

Ignatian Truth #6: Ignatian spirituality is all about Conversational Prayer. We are encouraged in the use of our God-given imagination – bringing together the right/left side of the brain. We walk with Jesus rather than just read about Him. We talk with God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as one converses with a friend.

As we’ve been discussing in the last two blogs, Ignatius, in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, gave his followers three unique tools when interacting with Jesus of Nazareth via the Spiritual Exercises.

First, the tool of Lectio Divina (divine reading) brings us back to the eternal truth found within God’s Word. As we walk slowly through each assigned scriptural passage, Lectio Divina encourages us to stop and breathe in the lovely fragrance found within each precious word of the holy text.

Secondly, as we ponder on each assigned passage of the Exercises, Ignatius invites us to use the gift of Contemplative Imagination, moving us from simply “reading” the text to actually stepping in and experiencing it through the wonders of the imagination. It always amazes me how I can be reading a very familiar passage of the Bible, but when I choose to enter into the words with my imagination, the stories come alive, offering me an experience of the text versus simply remaining an uninvolved spectator standing off to the side.

So, where do the use of Lectio Divina and Contemplative Imagination all lead?

The hope in all of this is that we are being invited into a life of Conversational Prayer with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As we find in today’s Lectio Divina from John’s Gospel, Jesus, as He talks plainly with His disciples before going to the Cross, is inviting them to an intimate relationship with the Divine…one that far exceeds what dry religion could ever offer.

I like the way Eugene Peterson, in his Message transliteration, says it…

… you’re going to see Me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in My Father, and you’re in Me, and I’m in you.

Wow! Talk about intimacy.

Fr. Richard Rohr likens this type of relationship Jesus is talking about here as being invited to enter into a Divine Dance with the Holy Trinity! And with that type of intimate relationship, there’s no place for dry, crusty prayers, spoken in religious rote to some Deity who seems millions of miles away from us.

No. As I see it, you and I can now speak freely and openly in conversation with Jesus just as we find these first-century disciples doing right here in John’s Gospel. So, to better understand the art of Conversational Prayer, take a look at these practical thoughts from Rosalind Rinker, author of Prayer: How To Have A Conversation With God

To understand conversational prayer, it will be a great help if we get the following four points about real conversation clearly in our minds.

  1. When we converse, we become aware. Aware of the other person, his rights, his privileges, his feeling, and if we converse long enough his total personality.
  2. Good conversation implies that we must take turns and do it gracefully. When one person does all the talking we call it (if we are polite) a monologue.
  3. It should be clear that to converse we must all pursue the same subject, and pursue it by turns. We are, in a sense, the listening and speaking members of a team. We have agreed to agree upon our subject of conversation and to do this each one must decide what is relevant and important at the moment.
  4. Finally, to carry on a conversation of any significance or interest, each person must use his memory to recall, his patience to wait, his alertness to jump in, his willingness to get out, and above all his capacity to hold back the disruptive. In other words, he should be in tune.

Good stuff. Thank you, Rosalind. Now, that’s enough talk about all this. Let’s go do it. Happy Conversations with the Divine!

My prayer: Father God, thank You for an invitation to Conversational Prayer. Jesus, thank You for modeling it for me. Holy Spirit, thank You for being the Friend who comes alongside, bringing the fullness of the Trinity into my everyday life. I welcome the opportunity to join in oneness with You. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: What might Conversational Prayer with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit look like for me? Am I willing to take off any religious presuppositions that might weigh me down as I look for more freedom in conversing with God, freely and lightly?

How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today? 

Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.

If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.

Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activistwith your friends! 

Click here to go on to the next blog/podcast in this series…

1 thought on “6.3 The Ignatian Way: Conversational Prayer.

  1. Pingback: 6.2 The Ignatian Way: Contemplative Imagination. | The Contemplative Activist

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