An Imaginative Prayer Practice

I invite you to be present to Psalm 23 in an imaginative way. Before beginning,  take in a few deep breaths to quiet and center yourself.  

I invite you to read the psalm a first time and just to take it in. 

 Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd. I will have everything I need. 2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass. He leads me beside the quiet waters. 3 He makes me strong again. He leads me in the way of living right with Himself which brings honor to His name. 4 Yes, even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of anything, because You are with me. You have a walking stick with which to guide and one with which to help. These comfort me. 5 You are making a table of food ready for me in front of those who hate me. You have poured oil on my head. I have everything I need. 6 For sure, You will give me goodness and loving-kindness all the days of my life. Then I will live with You in Your house forever.

Just sit with the psalm for a couple of moments. 

 As you read it a second time, I invite you to enter the psalm and imagine you are there. Where do you see yourself within the psalm?

Imagine the different landscapes in the Psalm- the fields of grass, the quiet waters, the darkest valley. Where do you see yourself at this time? Allow yourself to be present to that part of the landscape and to enter it more fully. Allow each of your senses to take in the place where you find yourselves. 

Notice the subtleties of the shades of green in the fields of grass. Imagine yourself barefoot. What does it feel like beneath your feet, or as you use the gentle grass as a pillow underneath your head?

Is there a gentle breeze that rustles the grass and touches your face as you lie there? What is it like to rest there? Just let yourself rest.

As you walk beside the quiet waters, what kind of water are you beside? Is it a gentle stream or river?  A quiet lake? Is it the ocean when it is at its calmest? Notice the stillness and peacefulness of this place as you walk alongside it.  What do you notice within yourself? I invite you to just be present to it. 

Do you find yourself in the darkest valley on this part of your journey? Is it cast in shadow, with dark clouds looming in the sky? Is there a heaviness in the air, a thick sensation so that it seems hard to move?  What is it like to be in this place?

What do you notice as you look within? 

Whatever landscape you find yourself in, Imagine Jesus beside you. What do you want him to know? What does He want you to know?  What is it like to have him there? Do you speak, or are you in companionable silence? Stay there with him for a few moments.

Now see, the banquet table spread out before you filled with good things, just for you… what is it like for God to lavish God’s love on you?

 Notice as Jesus anoints your head with oil now… What does it feel like as He looks you in the eye…and places his hands on your head… Stay there for a few moments.

Jesus’ goodness and loving kindness surround you and envelop you… They continue with you on your journey. His presence is like being at home within.

As you slowly bring this time to an end, know that He continues with you.

© 2021, Eva Sullivan-Knoff

Journey Center Online offers more contemplative prayer groups, practices and resources here: Contemplative Prayer and Meditation – Journey Center Association

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