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Be Careful How You Pray. An Introduction.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, May 4, 2015

experience prayer

Be Careful How You Pray. An Introduction.

I find I am fascinated by the book Inner Compass. This book is on Ignatian spirituality. And, it is also on prayer and how to orient ourselves to God.

Specifically on prayer, I love how St. Ignatius gives specific instruction in what to do. Margaret Silf also passes on the principles of Ignatian prayer. That is, a style of prayer and meditation that will deepen the pray-er’s understanding of God. One highlight that Ignatian prayer holds for me is lively use of the imagination. A close second stand-out is how reflective and deeply meaningful it can be.

My caution? Ignatian prayer can be slow and subtle. It can also be strong and sudden—just like my feelings. Not that this form of prayer isn’t unpredictable, but I would say surprising, instead.

I so want to dig deeply into Silf’s understanding of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; but I get the sudden feeling that this would be like jumping off the deep end of the pool. (Not unlike the way that I got into the Spiritual Exercises, ten years ago. But I digress.)

As an introduction, let me quote from the first chapter of Inner Compass: “When we open ourselves to God in prayer, we invite him to enter our Who center, bringing the gifts of the Spirit into the heart of our lived experience, with all its problems, pain, and sin.” [1]

St. Ignatius considered prayer very much a gift from God. When we enter into the adventure of prayer, what Silf calls our Who center [Who each of us is, deep down, inside] can be deeply triggered. Accessing that gift of prayer can split me wide open. Open to praise of God, yes. But open to problems, pain and sin, as well.

Be careful what you pray for, and how you pray, indeed. Especially using Ignatian prayer.

(To be continued!)

@chaplaineliza

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[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 4.