Praying through Advent: Imagining the Nativity

This is the final day of Advent. Tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas. We conclude our Advent prayer series right where we began—Praying the Nativity. In today’s imagination prayer, we find ourselves spending time with Mary, the new mother. Mary is sometimes known as Theotokos, a Greek word meaning “God-bearer.” Each of us [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Lectio Divina on Matthew’s Nativity

There are only two stories of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels—Luke’s and Matthew’s. For this prayer, we will be using lectio divina (praying with scripture) with Matthew’s nativity story. When praying scripture, it is more important that you allow the scripture to speak to you than it is to intellectually understand it. There is a [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: Praying our Experience

If you feel you are losing yourself in the busy-ness of this Advent season, this prayer can help ground you in the present. It’s really a meditation technique for people who have trouble with the usual meditation instructions (following your breath; using a mantra; concentrating on an object). This simple technique is a way of [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying the Nativity

Our Advent imagination prayer is getting closer to the manger! Today’s passage has the angels departing for heaven and the shepherds taking to the road to Bethlehem to check out this birth for themselves. As you imagine yourself part of the shepherd’s caravan, see if you can catch the emotion in the scene. The Practice [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying the Benedictus

One of the most beautiful passages in Luke’s gospel is the prophecy of Zechariah, a poem known as the Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79).  Zechariah was a priest married to Elizabeth and in their advanced age they conceived a long awaited child—a boy who would become John the Baptist, a relative of Jesus. Zechariah didn’t believe the [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Imagining the Heavenly Host

As we continue our Advent imagination prayer with Luke’s birth narrative, we spend more time today with the shepherds, angel and the multitude of the heavenly host. Imagination prayer has a long history.  St. Ignatius of Loyola built his Spiritual Exercises – a set of meditations, reflections and practices to draw a person’s heart deeper [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Praying our Desires

Desire is a popular emotion in Advent.  Advertisers use our superficial desires in the hope that we will want and buy things we (and our gift recipients) probably don’t need. This prayer looks at our deeper desires—the ones that come from God and inspire us to fulfill God’s desire. This is a good prayer to [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Dialogue with Scripture

When Jesus begins a story with “What do you think?” we are invited to share exactly what we think about the story. The following is an illustration about what it means to be faithful. So, what do you think? The Practice Matthew 21:28-32 The Parable of the Two Sons 28 “What do you think? A [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Journaling

Advent is a time of reflection. Paying attention to what has been, what is and what we hope will be in the future. Just as Mary pondered the mystery of what God was doing in her life, we ponder the same. It may not feel as dramatic as Mary’s experience, but it is still very [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Prayer Walk

Advent heralds the beginning of winter, a time when many of us seek comfort and warmth inside our homes. This prayer invites you to bundle up and go outside for a little while. It’s a great practice for people who find they need to be doing something active in order to focus on God. Mindful [Read More…]