Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Imagery Prayer Experience


Get yourself comfortable. Make sure your body is relaxed and not touching anyone else. Make sure your clothes are not uncomfortable or tight in any area. Relax. Breathe slowly in and out. Take a slow deep breath in and release it very slowly. Do that one more time. Breathe regularly now, but with each release of your breath, release any tension you may be feeling. Try not to be conscious of anyone around you. Concentrate only on yourself and your body right now. With the release of your next breath let out your inhibitions, release your anger or tension. With each breath, let go of your fears. Be comfortable and relaxed.

Get ready to clear your mind of anything that is filling it. Whatever happened today, wipe out of your mind. Whatever you're worrying or even just thinking about...forget. Clear your mind to the point that you see only a clean white space. The space is empty of words and thoughts. The space is free and clean. It is empty. You see only white space...air.

In your mind, fill your entire body with this clean white space. The inside of your body in empty...nothing is there. Your body is only a shell, holding inside of it the clean white air. From your toes through your knees there is nothing but white. The white air fills the space between your knees and your hips. Let the whiteness circle around inside you. The clean space moves from your hips to your shoulders. It then flows upwards through your neck, your jaw and mouth. The white air fills your nose and eyes then goes backwards to your ears and the back of your head.
Your whole body is empty and white.

Rest there for a minute.

Now imagine yourself standing at the intersection of a street. As you look down the block you see a clearing that you never noticed before and you walk toward it. When you get to the clearing you can see a lake surrounded by trees. The lake is peaceful and calm. There are no boats and no people there. It is just a calm body of water.

Everything inside you wants to run toward the lake. It is new. It was never there before and you want to examine it more closely. But you cannot get to it. You find yourself frozen there. Then, out of the corner of your eye you see someone walking toward you. As the man gets nearer, you realize that it is Jesus. You tell him how much you want to move toward the lake and see it more closely, but you cannot. You ask him to help you.

Jesus says that is not what he wants for you. The lake is not in his plan. He has other ideas in his mind for you. You disagree. You tell Jesus that the lake looks calm and peaceful. You tell him what a difficult day you've had. You tell him about the hard time you're having with your parents. You tell him about the argument you just had with your friend. You keep trying to convince Jesus that it really is a good idea for you to see the lake and experience it up close. You insist, almost, that it really is the best idea and ask for his help again.

Look into Jesus' eyes. He looks at you with love and understanding. His eyes are filled with love and patience. He just looks at you and you realize how agitated you have become. You were sure Jesus would help you. Now you feel disappointed and confused. You say to Jesus, if you love me so much why won't you help me? Can't you see that this would be good for me? Can't you tell that I know what I'm doing? Don't you want me to be happy and joyful?

Jesus says that there is nothing more he could want for you. But he has a better plan. He asks you to take his hand and trust him. He asks you to walk with him in another direction.

You respond by taking one long last look at the lake and wishing that this was the plan Jesus had for you. You have no idea where he may be leading you now. You are uncertain. But you look again into his eyes and you agree to walk with him. You take his hand and walk where he leads you.

Jesus walks with you past the lake and behind the trees surrounding it. His hand feels strong and large in yours. But you find comfort in the fact that he is leading you and so you go on with him. You walk behind the trees with Jesus. The sun had blinded you momentarily so you blink your eyes. When they open again you finally see what Jesus' other plan for you was.

It isn't just a lake. It's an ocean surrounded by a long stretch of beach. The beach is filled with your friends and they are all cheering you. Your family is there too and they, also, express their sheer joy at your decision to walk with Jesus to this wonderful place. There is food cooking on the grill and games being played. Laughter fills the air.

Finally you understand why Jesus didn't want you to go to the empty lake. He knew what was behind the water and the trees, but you didn't. He knew everyone was waiting for you. Jesus knew what you couldn't have known. He saw the big picture. He knew what was ahead for you.

You look at Jesus with your eyes big and filled with gratitude. You make your apologies to him and ask him to forgive your insistence on staying at the lake. You thank him for knowing exactly what you really needed and for not listening to you when you insisted on something else.

Jesus hugs you, then he fades away and you move toward the ocean, the beach, the games, your family and your friends.

Enjoy this experience.