The Encounter

This post is a part of our weekly email called “Presence+Practice”. You can have early access to this weekly content by subscribing to our newsletter.


Presence:

I remember the first time I learned about Imaginative Prayer. My spiritual director asked me to read some of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, and I was really intrigued by the idea that God can speak to us through our imaginations as surely as through our thoughts and memories. I was encouraged to imagine myself in some of my favorite stories of the Bible. I pictured myself present at the resurrection of Lazarus, at the feeding of the 5000, on a fishing boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee—and I really spent time on the details.

Imagine what the temperature is… can you feel it on your skin? Is there a breeze? What are you wearing (it doesn’t have to be historically accurate—it’s your imagination after all!)? What are the expressions of folks in the crowd? What is the expression on Martha and Mary’s face when Jesus says roll away the stone? How did the crowd respond when they discover 12 leftover baskets of bread and fish? What is the expression of Peter’s face when the net is full of fish? What about Jesus’ facial expression?

Through imagination, the stories were not just something to be studied and theologically dissected. They were to be experienced. And soon I was watching things unfold in my imagination that offered profound new insights and experiences that all my years of academic Greek and Hebrew could never touch. Imaginative prayer created space for insights to land in my heart and be experienced on a body level.

This weeks featured spiritual practice is one of my all-time favorite imaginative prayers. During “The Encounter,” you’re invited to meet and connect with Jesus of Nazareth in a way that shifts you from mere intellectual systems of doctrine to an actual inner experience of Christ’s presence and love with and within.

Practice:

We all have the ability to engage our active imaginations to encounter the deepest wisdom within us. Neuroscientists now know that we can interrupt our thoughts that constantly flood our everyday consciousness through spiritual practice. Andrew Newberg, MD and other scientists have found that actively engaging the imagination helps us shift from a consciousness of fear to one of trust.

This week’s featured spiritual practice, based on the science of the brain and the Christian wisdom tradition, engages our vivid imagination and awakens the intelligence of our hearts.

Click below to access the app and try it out.


(To access the app and try out this week’s Featured Practice, click here on your iPhone and here on your Android.) 

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