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Beginnings of Prayer. And Ignatian Spirituality.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 1, 2015

PRAY teach us to pray

Beginnings of Prayer. And Ignatian Spirituality.

The month of May is a month of growth and new life here in the Midwest. I wanted to choose a book on prayer that would assist me in growing and experiencing that new life in Christ. In this Easter season, it seemed right to me that I ought to turn to Ignatian spirituality. A beginning look at the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

It was a wrench for me to turn away from the liturgical lectionary book of daily readings which we used for almost the whole of the month of April, but I wanted to stick with my original program: to look at many different ways, means, and approaches of prayer, in these twelve months of 2015.

I’ve chosen a book called “Inner Compass,” written by Margaret Silf (published by Loyola Press). But, I worked it backwards. Sort of. I worked through the Spiritual Exercises first, in summer of 2005. Then, the following year, I turned to Silf’s book. This introductory book was helpful to me when I read it some nine years ago, as an afterword. Or, an addition.

When I pray, I greatly prefer Ignatian prayer and meditation to certain other kinds of prayer. But, I realize I need to go back to the very beginning. I will have to take a look at the beginnings of the saint’s notebook of prayer, his guidebook where he recorded his experiences in prayer after his conversion and pilgrimage. I hope I can show—through my poor example and experience—how certain people might go about this procedure.

I’m excited to revisit this wonderful, helpful method of prayer. As Silf tells us, we can use this way of prayer “to become increasingly sensitive to God’s action in our lives . . . to discover and live true to the very deepest desires within us . . . to make decisions that reflect God’s indwelling presence . . . and to joint our lives consciously with the life of Jesus, God-made-man, through the living spirit of the Gospel.” [1]

Praying and hoping I can assist some people with St. Ignatius’ ideas and method of prayer, I am embarking on a journey of prayer.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for this time-tested way of prayer, this manner of coming into Your presence with such a deep and meaningful approach. Help me to follow the landmarks set out for me. I will try to observe each one. Help me, God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

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[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), xxiii-xxiv.