Focus on her poverty of spirit -- from her "let it be done to me according to your word" -- through her many ponderings -- to her participation in the paschal mystery.

  1. Lk 1:26-38
  2. Mt 1:18-25
  3. Lk 2:1-38
  4. Mt 2:1-23
  5. Lk 2:39-52
  6. Mt 3:13 1

  8. Jn 2:1-12
  9. Mt 10:35-39
  10. Lk 14:25-27
  11. Mt 12:46-50
  12. Jn 19:25-27
  13. Acts 1:12-14
  14. Rev 12:1-6,13-17



Focus on:

  • His very real weaknesses which are present with his generosity and love for Jesus.
  • Jesus' love and affection for Peter even with his weaknesses
Peter's growth:
  • from the "depart from me for I am sinful"
  • through "his you shall never wash my feet"
  • to his "call it a blessing when you are insulted for Jesus"

Call: Lk 5:1-11;   Jn 1:37-51

Public Life:   Mk 10:23-31;   11:12-25;   13:1-13;   Mt 14:22-33;   16:13-23;   17:1-13;
                     Mt 17:24-27;   18:21-22;   Lk 9:28-36;    Jn 6:66-69.

Passion:   Jn 13;   Mk 14:26-42;   Lk 22:31-34;   22:54-62.

Resurrection:   Jn 20:1-10;   21 whole chapter

Early Church:   Acts ch 1 & 2;   12:1-17;   ch 10; 15:1-21

Late Years:   1P 1:3-9; 2:18-25; 3:14-18; 4:12-19;   2P 1:16-19


Seven phases to help one move toward 
greater involvement with God through prayer.
Move from one phase to the other only when you are ready.

Phase 1 - Being relaxed in the awareness of God's presence.

        This is a phase of simply quieting down, of being, of relaxing, of being comfortable with your surroundings, with yourself and with the Loving God.

        Pray as you can - Do not pray as you can't. You can use vocal prayers that have been part of your life and go through them slowly. You can pick one or other of the following scriptural passages and use them in any way - to ruminate, or to reflect, or to wonder about, or to ponder -- in your own way.

         From time to time ask your Loving Creator in the name of Christ Jesus and through the working of the Holy Spirit to fill your whole being with a deep trust.

Make use of the outdoors and of sleep to help.

 Ps 62; 63; 91; 103; 131; Jn ch 14-16;

Is 55; Mt 6:26-34; Lk 11:1-13

Phase 2 - Learning to pray ... being a listener ...putting discipline into your efforts.

        Here you might ponder over the scriptural teachings on prayer. Ask God to teach you the attitudes and practices that will help you become a better listener of God's word.

Mt 6:5-14
Mt 7:7-11
Lk 10:21-22
Lk 10:38-42
Lk 11:1-13
Jn 14:13
Ps 23
Is 55:11
Jn 14:26
Jn 7:37
1Sam 3:10
Ps 46:10
Ps 131:2

        What would be a good rhythm of periods of prayer throughout the day for you?

        In order that you might be better open for God's word with you during these periods, how should you handle the times in between times of prayer; namely, exercise, sleep, use of nature, silence, walking leisurely, reflecting etc.?

Phase 3 - Growth in the awareness that God is near , and cares for us, that God is with us in all the moments of our lives. God is the divine friend or mother or father and so much more than we can imagine.

Scriptural texts for the prayer periods:

Ps 139:1-18
Is 43:1-5
Ps 23
Hos 11:1-4
Ps 121

        Begin each period of prayer making an act of belief in God who is near and close. Ask for a deep sense of God's caring about us. Using the scriptural texts above, identify from your own experience the truth of some of the phrases from scripture.

As you look backward over the years what moments stand out in your memory as being moments in which you recognized God as near?

Have there been moments when you did not recognize God's nearness?

Carry on a conversation with your God expressing your feelings and thoughts about these various moments.

Other readings that may be helpful in between the prayer periods:

Jn 14:15-20, 25-28; Rom 8:26-34; Is 54:5-10;

Rev 21:1-7; Deut 32:10-11; Ps 145

Phase 4 - Growth in the awareness and acceptance of our creaturely condition

        Depending on your present needs and the graces you are seeking from God, you may want to dwell on one or other aspect of what it means to be created and loved:

a)  the holiness and grandeur of God
b)  acceptance of myself as limited and dependent
c)  recognition that everything you have has been given and you are gifted;
d)  the desire of God to be in a relationship of intimacy with you.

a)  God, the Holy One: Is 6:1-9; Ps 8
b)  Our dependence: Wis 11:21-26; Is 45:9-12
c)  All is gift: 1 Cor 4:7; Mt 20:1-16
d)  God's desire to be in relationship with us: Jn 20:11-18; Is 43:1-5

  • What is there about your lot in life that you resent?
  • If you were God how would you have arranged things differently?
  • Spend some time expressing to God how in fact you feel about him or her. then spend some time quietly listening to God expressing how s/he feels about you.

Other readings that may be helpful in between the prayer periods:

a)  Ps 19,  and  Ps 104;  Col 1:15-20;  Ex 3:1-6
b)  Job 38:1-40:5;  Jer 18:1-12;  Gen 1:26-2:17
c)  Jn 15:1-17;  Eph 2:4-10;  Rom 12:3-8;  Mt 25:14-30
d)  Jn 13:1-9;  Deut 7:7-8;  Deut 32:10-11

Phase 5 - Growth in the awareness of my need for healing in my life.

Read the scripture passage about Jesus healing the blind man from Mk 8:22-26.

Place yourself into a prayerful atmosphere and as you read this story again let your imagination capture the drama and discover the meaning of the story of Jesus and the blind man for your own life. Spend as much time doing this as you can.

After you are through, it may help to write out your own answers to the following questions:

1. Complete these statements:
a) If I had been the blind person in this story hearing that Jesus was coming would have been ..............
b) Feeling his hands on my eyes would have been ..............
c) Seeing the face of Jesus for the first time would ..............

2. I can identify with the blind man in his feeling of:
a) Hope
b) Confidence
c) Emerging awareness
d) Total freedom

3. If I had been the blind man who was healed and Jesus had said to me "Don't tell anyone" I would have:
a) Nearly burst trying to keep the secret to myself
b) Broken down and told the village anyway
c) Found some other way to let the people know
d) Forgotten all about what happened to me

4. Considering the experience of the blind man as a picture of my present spiritual state I am:
a) In total darkness
b) At the point of reaching out for help
c) Just beginning to see
d) Seeing quite clearly

5. In what specific areas of my life do I need to feel the healing touch of Jesus?

6. Imagine Jesus present and carry on a conversation with him about your need for healing in some specific area of your life.

7. On a large sheet of paper draw a graph or symbols or a design to illustrate the high and low points of your spiritual pilgrimage over the last few years.

Further Prayer Exercises

         Choose some of the following scriptural texts that deal with Jesus as healer. Taking only one of these texts at a time, spend a great deal of time letting your imagination capture the drama of the story. You might want to place yourself in the drama itself to allow the word to become more concrete for you. Whenever you feel moved carry on a conversation with Jesus.

Lk 4:33-44;   Lk 8:40-56;   Lk 17:11-19;   Mk 10:46-52;   Jn 5:1-15

Phase 6 - Growing in love with Jesus, Lover of Humankind.

         I need to fall in love with Jesus so that I can trust him completely. Before I choose the material that would be helpful in disposing me for this love I should reflect more precisely upon what my needs are now. Do I need to grow in the acceptance of my weakness; or in forgiveness; or in greater trust or in compassion of others; or in the acceptance of failure? In the light of these needs that I am now experiencing I can choose one or other of the following.

         In each period of prayer I ask God that I may know Jesus with a deep-felt knowledge that I may love him more and follow him more closely (in weakness or forgiveness or compassion or failure or trust).

1. Looking at Jesus who became weak for our sake

Material for prayer: Lk 2:1-12;   Lk 4:1-13;   Lk 22:39-46.

Additional readings:  Heb 4:14-16;   Heb 5:7-9;   Phil 2:1-11;   2Cor 12:1-10;
                               2Cor 4:6-15;   Rom 8:26-27.

2. Looking at Jesus who is constantly forgiving

Material for prayer:  Lk 7:36-50;  Jn 8:3-11;  Lk 19:1-10.

Additional readings:  Lk 15;  Mt 18:21-35;  Lk 23:32-43;  1Cor 13; Lk 11:1-4.

3. Looking at Jesus who is always compassionate

Material for prayer: Jn 2:1-11;  Mt 14:13-21;  Jn 13:1-17;

Additional readings: 2Cor 1:3-7;   2Cor 2:5-11;   Lk 22:24-32.

4. Looking at Jesus who accepts failure

Material for prayer: Lk 4:16-30;   Lk 17:11-19;   Mt 11:28-30.

Additional readings: Lk 24:13-35;   Mt 5:3-12;   Mt 16:21-23;   Lk 9:23-27.

5. Looking at Jesus who calls me to trust

Material for prayer: Mt 14:22-33;   Mt 15:21-28;   Jn 20:24-29.

Additional readings: Lk 12:13-34;   Lk 18:18-27;   Lk 11:5-13;   Mt 6:19-34;
                             Phil 4:4-9;  Rom 8:14-17, 26-39.

Phase 7 - Growth in awareness of our daily walk with God.

"This is what the Holy One asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly
 and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

God: Let us walk together, Walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)

Christian: Lord, you have probed me and you know me ... you know when I sit and when I stand. Behind me and before me you hem me in ... You rest your hand upon me. (Ps 139:1-18) God: Fear not, for I have called you by name .., you are mine. When you pass through the water I will be with you ... When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, because you are precious in my eyes ... Before I formed you in the womb I knew you ... I appoint you as prophet to the nations.(Is 43:1-5; Jer 1:5)

Christian: But Lord I do not know how to speak .... I am too young. (Jer 1:6)

God: Say not, I am too young. To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak ... have no fear for I am with you to deliver you.(Jer 1:7-8)

Christian: Woe is me for I am doomed. I am a person with unclean lips yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (Is 6:5)

God: Not according to your sins do I deal with you ... Nor according to your crimes ... for as the heavens are high above the earth, So surpassing is my kindness to you who fear me (Ps 103)

Christian: I am deeply troubled by your words ... how can this be?

God: Fear not ... the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most high will overshadow you ... nothing is impossible with God. (Lk 1:26ff)

Christian: I am the handmaiden of the Lord, Let it be done to me according to your word (Lk 1:26ff)

God: Then you must take up your cross and follow me ... for the son of man must suffer and die before he rises on the third day (Lk 9:22-23)

Christian: But I am weak ... I still have faults and limitations ... Take away this thorn in my flesh I beg you (2 Cor 12:7ff) 

God: My grace is enough for you for in weakness my power reaches perfection. (2 Cor 12:9)

Christian: That I may know Christ Jesus and may I experience the power flowing from his resurrection (Phil 3:10)

God: You will be content with weakness and distress for the sake of my son Jesus, for when you are powerless then you are strong.(2 Cor 12:10)

 Christian: Grant me the spirit of wisdom and insight to know Jesus clearly ... enlighten my innermost vision that I may know the great hope to which you call me (Eph 1:17-18)

 God: My power is at work in you ... and it can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine.(Eph 3:20)

 Christian: To you be glory in Christ Jesus through all generations, world without end. Amen. (Eph 3:21)

Mary Stewart's Prayer

Keep us, O God, from all pettiness. 
Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave offall self-seeking.
May we put away all pretence and meet eachother 
    face to face, without self pity andwithout prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment, and alwaysbe generous.
Let us always take time for all things, and
    make us to grow calm, serene and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses, 
    to be straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize 
    that it is the little things of life that create differences, 
    that in the big things of life, we are as one.
And, O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind! Amen.


Theme 1  Deep trust and confidence that God cares for us

Prayer texts:

Is 43:1-7         Because you are precious in my eyes
Lk 12:22-31    Lilies of the field
Ps 23              God is my shepherd
Ps 91              My refuge, and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.

Supplementary readings: 

Is 55;  Mt 11:25-30;  Jn 20:11-18;  Rom 8:26-39.

Theme 2  God's care is manifested in God's desire to forgive.

 Prayer texts:

Ps 103      For as the heavens are high above the earth so surpassing is God's kindness
Mt 23:37   Jerusalem, Jerusalem .., how often have I yearned to gather your children.
Lk 19:1-10 Zacchaeus, the tax collector
Jn 8:3-11    Jesus and the adulteress

Supplementary readings:

Lk 15;  Hos 11:1-9;  Jn 20:19-29;  1Jn 1:5-2:2.

Theme 3 To appreciate that Jesus is my personal saviour.

It is precisely because I am a sinner and helpless that Jesus can be for me the saviour.

Prayer texts:

Rom 7:14-25, 5:6-11  While we were still helpless Christ died for us.
Jn 13:1-9.12-17          Jesus washes the feet of the apostles.
Lk 23:32-46               This day you will be with me in paradise.
Eph 2:1-10                 Salvation is yours through faith is God's gift.

Supplementary Reading:

(In all the following texts notice the different ways that Jesus is in relationship to us)
Jn 10:7-18;   Jn 21:15-17;   Gal 2:19-21;   Gal 4:1-7
1Tim 1:12-17;   Heb 4:14-5:10;   Eph 2:11-22.

Theme 4  God calls us uniquely, with our weaknesses and fears,
                in freedom with the power of the risen Lord Jesus.

Prayer texts:

Lk 5:1-11           Call of Peter
2 Cor 12:1-10     When I am powerless, then I am strong
Gen 22:1-19        Abraham and Isaac
Jer 1:4-10            Call of Jeremiah

Supplementary Readings:

Is 6:1-8;   Is 49:1-7;   Lk 1:26-55;   Lk 18:18-34;   Heb 11;   Phil 3:7-16

Theme 5   To know and love Christ Jesus so intimately
                 that I might relive the passover mystery.

 Prayer texts:

Phil 2:1-18                It is God who begets in you any measure of desire or achievement.
Matt 3:13-4:11           Baptism and temptations of Jesus who manifests himself
                                 in consolation and weakness.
Lk 9:28-36,43-45       Transfiguration and second prediction of the passion.
Mk 8:27-38; 10:35-45  Doctrine of the cross. Call to share the passion.

Supplementary readings:

Matt 26:17-46;  Lk 9:23-27;  Rom 8:18-39;
2Cor 6:4-10; Col 1:24-29; Phil 3:7-1.

Theme 6   To know and love Christ Jesus so intimately
                 that I may relive the paschal mystery.

 Prayer texts:

Jn 19:17-34     Crucifixion
Lk 9:23-62      Conditions of discipleship
Lk 24:13-35     Jesus appears on the way to Emmaus
Jn 20:19-23      Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room and gives the Spirit

Supplementary readings:

Jn 17;  Col 1:15-23;  2Cor 1:3-7;  Eph 3:14-21;
Rom 12:3-8;  1Cor 12:12-31;  Eph 1:17-23.

1. Jesus leaves home and goes to the river Jordan. Back to document

2. This prayer pattern was created for the following situations - a person comes to make a directed retreat and for a variety of reasons can not enter easily into the dynamic and needs some structure to keep oneself occupied between the sessions with the prayer guide - to teach a person gradually to recognize one's own needs and grace to pray for - for the more programmatic person who comes to retreat expecting content to think about and needing help gradually to pay more attention to the thoughts of the heart Back to document

3. This outline can be used for a shorter directed retreat of four to six days. Back to document

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