In 2004-2005, Antoinette, a classmate and I directed each other through the Spiritual Exercises during the Supervised Daily Life Workshop segment of the Spiritual Direction formation program. We met weekly to share our prayer experiences, ‘changing hats’ midway through the two-hour sessions.

I do not find that spontaneous vocal prayer comes easily. Because my companion worked and I was at home, I had more free time for preparation than she did. I also love to write. Prior to most of our meetings, I prepared a prayer which we read aloud together before we began our exchange. Sometimes, the perfect prayer or meditation jumped off the pages of a book I was reading and that became our opening prayer.

I still follow the same technique. Before meeting with a directee, I either search for an appropriate prayer written by one or another of my favourite spiritual authors or write an ‘opening’ prayer which we read together.

It has been suggested to me that I share some of the ‘home made’ prayers with others who may not find praying aloud without preparation as simple as most people seem to.

Because the same wording was often repeated, I have made some slight changes to the original prayers.

In the process of making the Spiritual Exercises we all pray with the same Scipture passages, but we are touched in many different ways. Each of us may, in fact, respond differently to the same passage each time we read it or hear it.

The following prayers encapsulate my reactions to some of the Bible passages that took me through the Spiritual Exercises process six years ago.

Barbara d’Artois
August 2011