Gospel Imaginative Prayer – Session Six
Gospel Imaginative Prayer – Session Six
In this session, with the help of Micha Jazz, we look at employing our imaginations to place ourselves into a gospel story.

In this session we look at employing our imaginations to place ourselves into a gospel story. Amy Boucher Pye interviews communicator and academic Micha Jazz about his experiences of imaginative prayer.

Dr Micha Jazz is director of Waverley Abbey Resources. He has worked with Youth for Christ, the Evangelical Alliance and Spring Harvest. He broadcasts on Premier Radio and is a professional mediator, communicator and academic. Micha’s ability in enabling people to realise their potential is ideal for leading the development of Waverley Abbey Resources in equipping people to live everyday with Jesus. Micha and his wife also run St. Cuthbert’s Oratory, a house of prayer offering hospitality, hope and healing.

Bible Passage – John 8: 1-11 (NIV)

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Interview with Micha Jazz


With imaginative prayer, we put ourselves into a gospel story as if we were there, employing our senses through visualization. A benefit of this way of engaging with Scripture is that it speaks to not only our minds but also in a special way to our hearts. As we enter in to the story, we can bypass our analytical mind and use our emotions to feel the narrative from different perspectives. We go on a journey of discovery, perhaps uncovering emotions and experiences that were otherwise hidden in our hearts. God can gently reveal the root causes in order that we may grow and become mature in our faith. Note that he will work at his own pace and time, respecting our limitations and individual needs.

We might face a few challenges with this type of prayer. One is getting our distracted minds to cooperate! If we struggle this way, we can ask God through his Spirit to quieten our minds and hearts. Another challenge can be to keep an open mind, seeking not to bring preconceived ideas and prejudices to the prayer practice. Rather we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us from the story, wanting to be humble and open. We can trust the Holy Spirit to guide us to just the areas that we can best look at and pray about.

From the Book

As we read in chapter six of 7 Ways to Pray:

Entering into a gospel story with our imaginations opens us up to the work of the Holy Spirit in different ways from when we rely on our rational minds. Receiving a truth directly, such as when someone speaks it to us, can be painful, and we might erect barriers to guard against hearing it. In contrast, when we use our intuitive and imaginative senses, we don’t seek to control how we’re praying. We can let our imaginations roam, asking the Holy Spirit to guide and guard us. By doing so we tune in to what Ignatius [of Loyola] called ‘felt inner knowledge’ – what we know through our hearts, not our heads; inner knowledge that is unique to us and known by God.

When we unearth our desires with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be changed. We come to know what we’re feeling and therefore understand ourselves better. God reveals our hidden feelings that we may have buried out of pain, shame or negligence. As they are unearthed, we can move closer to God, speaking to him about what’s going on in our hearts and minds and then listening for his response, the creative words that affirm our true selves. The wisdom and understanding we glean will be more intimate and profound than something another person teaches us.

Discussion and Questions

  1. After reading the insight into Ignatius of Loyola (page 113 and 114), what do you see as the benefits of imaginative prayer?
  2. What prejudices in your life may stop you from fully engaging in imaginative prayer?
  3. Just as Amy made herself vulnerable (see pages 116–22), share an experience about using your imagination through Scripture. How did the passage come alive for you?
  4. Give an example where you have felt ‘inner-knowledge’ (pages 113–14) through reading Scripture or imaginative prayer.

Time to Pray

Using the Bible passage in this interview, ‘A Woman Caught in Adultery’, place yourself in the story. Read through the passage several times to become familiar with it. Try to hear the sounds, smell the smells, and experience the story. As the story unfolds, who are you in this narrative? Perhaps you’re one of the crowd, one of the religious teachers or the woman.

At the end of the practice, share how the experience was for you – how did God meet you? How did you respond? What surprised you? Receive the offerings in an attitude of welcome.

Personal Reflection

This week, choose a favourite gospel story from the list on page 134 in 7 Ways to Pray and use imaginative prayer to help you unpack and deep dive into the Word.  Keep re-visiting the story to see if your reflections change. Is the Spirit highlighting any deep-rooted motivation that needs to be exposed and brought into the light? How is God touching you through this story?