Imagine the following scene:
You have just found out that you have 13 people coming for supper. You love entertaining and hosting people, making them feel included and invited into your home. In this case, it is Jesus and His disciples coming so you want things to be special for them as they have been working very hard.
You begin to hustle and bustle around, getting the house ready, food prepared. Your sister Mary is helping but without much focus on the tasks at hand.
Finally the men arrive and enter into your main sitting room. Your sister immediately goes to sit at the feet of Jesus, hanging on every word he says…. You feel resentment rising up in you, as you feel things aren’t as perfect as you would like them to be and things aren’t quite ready. You think your sister should be helping you get the last minute things done.
Finally, when you can’t stand it anymore, you go into the main room and pull Jesus aside… “Don’t you see what is going on? Won’t you tell her to help me? My sister has left me to do all the work.”
He looks at you with eyes filled with love and grace and says,””_______(put your own name in the blank) you have prepared well, , yet you are stressed and worried about many things. Your sister has chosen to focus on what’s most important, now, and it won’t be taken away from her.”
You walk away from that encounter strangely warmed, know he heard your concerns, yet also knowing that being still and not fretting gives the most peace and awareness of His presence. It was your focus that needed adjusted, even if there were chores to do……(from the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha Luke 10:38-42)
What did you imagine?
As you read the story, what could you imagine? Could you see yourself in the story? What emotions rose up as you scurried to get ready for the arrival of visitors? And then didn’t get the help you were expecting?
What did you experience as you put yourself in the story? Read the passage again, from the Voice version and see what you notice. Who are you drawn to Mary, Martha, Jesus, the disciples?
What did you hear?
As you read the passage again, were there words that jumped off the page for you? Or something that especially meaningful for you right now? Take a few moments now and ask God,
What is it you would like me to notice or remember about this passage that would be helpful in my life right now?
What is Imaginary prayer?
When you put yourself into the scene where Jesus is, using all your senses and using your imagination as to what is going on, you are participating in imaginary prayer. First practiced by Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuits, he found that Jesus would speak to his heart in a different way when he immersed himself in the scriptures, using his imagination.
He surmised that God created our imaginations and made us created beings in His image so therefore seeing the scriptures as pictures in our minds was another way God could talk to us.
The gospel passages are particular well-suited for this type of prayer as you for example, imagine the main living room of Martha’s home and “see” Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus..
Other passages, such as
The Samaritan Woman, John 4;
The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37;
The Woman Who Reached Out to Touch Jesus’ Hem, Luke 8:43-47;
are just a few to in which to practice imaginary prayer to discover what Jesus might want to say to your heart. Many of His parables lend themselves to this type of prayer.
What about you?
What will you explore with imaginary prayer? Where do you see yourself in the Gospel parables?
Getting to know Jesus in this new way gives you strong pictures to hold on to in your walk with Jesus. I have a picture I go back to again and again that reminds me of my freedom with Jesus. It is very comforting.
Let me know of any questions that arise as you explore imaginary prayer. I would love to walk with you in this way.
Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God. She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer. She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you. Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today..