Despite the fact that your life can be hectic at times, you don't need to go to a monastery or search for a deserted place in the woods in order to pray. You simply need to make a transition of focus so that you can become more in tune with God's presence in your activities. St. Ignatius of Loyola taught a form of reflective prayer, also known as meditation, that invites you to use your mind and imagination to engage in prayerful conversation with God and to recognize his presence in your daily life. Reflective prayer involves the following simple steps.
Find a quiet place where you can be alone for 10 or 15 minutes. Assume a comfortable position and, if you wish, close your eyes or focus on a religious picture or a lighted candle. If you wish, play soft background music to help establish a prayerful mood. Become aware of God's presence and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer.
Take 2 or 3 minutes to practice rhythmic breathing—counting to three slowly and silently while breathing in and counting slowly to five while breathing out—to help concentration. If you become distracted, return to concentrating on your breathing and let the distractions go by so that you can turn your heart back to God. Likewise, you can choose a special word or phrase, such as Jesus or My Lord and My God, and repeat it when you are distracted to bring your attention back to God's presence.
Select a brief passage from Scripture and prayerfully read it. If the passage you select is a Gospel story, use your five senses to imagine yourself as a participant in the story (What can you see? What sounds do you hear? What can you feel?). Imagine a setting in which you can talk with Jesus and listen to him speak to you. You can respond to what Jesus is saying or doing in the story, or you can simply talk about something that has happened to you recently or about a forthcoming event in your life.
In addition to using Scripture in your reflection, you can also use writings from or about the saints as well as other inspirational literature or prayer books. Likewise, you can choose to concentrate on a sacred object such as a crucifix, or reflect on a sacred image, such as an icon of Jesus or a favorite saint. Take this time to talk to God as you would to a friend.
Close with one or two minutes of contemplation, time to rest silently in God's presence. As adults, we come to recognize more and more that God speaks to us using the language of silence. Take a few moments at the end of your reflection to enter into a few silent moments with God.
Through reflective prayer you can begin to more readily recognize God's presence in your daily life.
Books by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.
The Catechist's Backpack
Spiritual Essentials for the Journey
Written by two nationally known, expert lay catechists, The Catechist’s Backpack gives catechists the resources that speak to the spiritual dimension of their call to share the Catholic faith.
Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox
Catechesis That Not Only Informs but Also Transforms
Joe Paprocki, best-selling author of The Catechist’s Toolbox series, has written the first, step-by-step book that demonstrates how to teach a 75-minute catechetical session with practical techniques that expand upon the textbook to create a more prayerful climate in the classroom.
7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness
Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul
In 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition.
Practice Makes Catholic
Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith
Why do Catholics do what they do? Practice Makes Catholic from Loyola Press gets to the heart of the question-and to the heart of what it really means to be Catholic.
Living the Mass
How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life
In Living the Mass, Joe Paprocki, DMin, and Fr. Dominic Grassi convincingly show how the one hour spent at Mass on Sunday can truly transform the other 167 hours of the week.
Una Fe Bien Construida
Guia catolica para conocer y compartir lo que creemos
Una fe bien construida,—desarrollado con enorme creatividad usando metafóricamente el tema de la construcción— facilita enormemente a los católicos el conocimiento de su fe y les da seguridad al momento de compartirla.
Los planos de Biblia
Una guía católica para entender y acoger la Palabra de Dios
En Los planos de Biblia, el exitoso autor Joe Paprocki ayuda al católico de la calle a entender fácilmente la Biblia, y lo hace con humor.
The Bible Blueprint
A Catholic's Guide to Understanding and Embracing God's Word
In The Bible Blueprint, best-selling author Joe Paprocki makes understanding the Bible not only easy for the person in the pew, but downright fun!
A Well-Built Faith
A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe
In A Well-Built Faith, Joe Paprocki makes it easy for Catholics to feel confident in teaching the Catholic faith. He makes complex teachings of the Catholic faith accessible to average Catholics without compromising Catholic teaching and tradition.
The Catechist's Toolbox
How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher
The Catechist’s Toolbox offers catechists tips, advice, and a methodical approach that will help them succeed as educators of the faith.
Under the Influence of Jesus
The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ
In Under the Influence of Jesus, Joe Paprocki explains that by opening ourselves to encountering Christ, we can learn how to live the Gospel and be models of faith.
Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista
Catequesis que no solo informa, sino que también transforma
Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista le permite a los jóvenes encontrar a Jesús en la oración de manera que puedan convertirse en discípulos de Cristo para toda la vida.
A Church on the Move
52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion
52 specific, practical, and achievable strategies to help Catholic parishes embody the broad themes of Pope Francis’ papacy—mission, mercy, and evangelization.
La mochila del catequista
Lo indispensable para el camino espiritual
La mochila del catequista brinda a los catequistas recursos que atienden a la dimensión espiritual de su llamado a compartir la fe católica.
Vivir la misa
Cómo una hora a la semana puede cambiar tu vida
Explica detallademente cómo cada parte de la misa se relaciona con la llamada que recibimos en el bautismo, poniendo en estrecha relación la misa dominical y el resto de nuestra semana.