I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
As the graduate of a Jesuit university, I love all things Ignatian. Pray As You Go, one of my favorite Catholic apps, often asks listeners to engage in the what the Jesuits call contemplative prayer, and I always find it fruitful. In Imagine You Walked with Jesus: a Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer author Jerry Windley-Daost rebrands this practice as “Imaginative Prayer,” and does a superlative job of explaining how it is done.
Jerry begins the book with a little background on the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius Loyola, writing that he believed that “all created things, including human emotions and imagination, have the potential to make us holy.” When he designed his famous Spiritual Exercises, he included this practice of imaginative prayer as a central element.
Imaginative prayer requires you to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by using your imagination to insert yourself into a scene from Scripture. Jerry breaks down this process into six steps, including time to reflect on the experience afterwards. After this brief explanation, the rest of the book provides tools to make walking with Jesus in this way extremely accessible.
I love the chapter in which Jerry provides background on the world in which Jesus walked. He describes the clothes, the locations, the food, and more. All this helps to get you in the mood and sets the scene for your journeys with Jesus. And Jerry does not abandon you to your own resources! Instead, he provides suggested readings that span the entirety of Jesus’ life and ministry. Each includes an opening prayer, the reading, more background information, prompts to get you started, and suggestions for reflection.
Later in the book you can find instructions for using the book in small groups, with either adults or young people. There are suggested reading plans based on the liturgical year and more. And there is even a list of other passages you can dive into on your own if you are hungry for more.
I was supposed to review this book a long time ago. The reason I didn’t is because I wanted to savor it. And I hope after you read this you will be inspired to buy it and try this form of prayer for yourself.