IGNATIAN MEDITATION ( Discursive Prayer)

Updated: Jun 16


Listening & Discerning To The Heart Using Our Intellect


Lectio Divina means holy reading. This is a method of prayer going back to the early monastic tradition. The monks gathered in chapel to hear a member of the community reading from the Scriptures. In this exercise they were taught and encouraged to listen, not just hear with their ears, but to listen with their hearts. From their hearts they could experience deeply, reflect and respond with an increased love for God.


This method of mental prayer is simple. Read a passage 3 times. After each time you read, ask a question, reflect and respond. You may read the scripture passage aloud to hear with your ears the words.



1. Reading: What does the Text Say?

2. Meditating: What is God Saying to Me Through the Text?

3. Prayer: What do You Want to Say to God about the Text?

4. Action: What Do You Want to Do Based on Your Prayer?



First Time Reading: The Literal Level. Read to understand.

The Head

o Question: Ask yourself what is happening in the passage? Who is there, what is being said, where it is etc.?


o Notice a word, phrase, or image that has resonated within you.


o Take a moment to savor the insight, or a new understanding of the passage.


o Note down those in few words or phrase or image what it was about.


Second Time Reading: The Affective Level. Reflect to find a personal connection.

The Heart

o Questions: What does this passage say to me or connect with my current situation? What are my thoughts and feelings upon reading this a second time?


o Notice how the rereading has affected you.


o Take a moment to savor the insight, feeling, or a new understanding.


o Note down a few words to describe how it has affected your thoughts or feelings


Third Time Reading: The Spiritual Level. Read t be led

The Spirit

o Questions: What is the message for me? What is God trying to say to me?


o Reflective Listening: Sitting in silence, await the sense of the Holy Spirit, this allows your experience with a deeper awareness of God’s taking the initiative to speak with us. Let the Holy Spirit in. An answer, a prompting: It comes up into you… as a new thought, feeling, an image, word, or phrase from scripture, or through a poem or song.


o Response: Share with God follow the prompting of your heart, it could be through words or just sitting with Him in gratitude and love.


End with a Closing Prayer – Our Father or a simple prayer of the heart’s gratitude.



Meditation Review Questions

Reflect: What was God saying to me through the text?

Respond: What do I want to say to God about the text?

Result: What do I want to do based on this prayer time?

Request: What God’s graces I need to help me commit and follow through




Write down a few words about the experience and describe how it has affected you.


Note: In praying with scriptures in these 3 times we move from the literal > to the affective > to the spiritual…from our head > to our heart > to our soul.


God speaks through our imaginations as well as through our understandings, memories, thoughts, intellect, desires, feelings, and emotions.