12 Reading Plans for Imaginative Prayer

The following imaginative prayer readings plans are excerpted from Imagine You Walked with Jesus: A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer by Jerry Windley-Daoust (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021).

You can get these reading plans in a handy PDF or MS Word format in our store: Imaginative Prayer Reading Plans.

Readings for Beginners

The following readings are relatively simple, yet rich with possibilities. Try these first if you’re new to imaginative prayer, or introducing a group to imaginative prayer.

  1. Mary Visits Elizabeth (reading guide #1, Luke 1:39-49)
  2. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (reading guide #5, Luke 2:41-51)
  3. The Miraculous Catch of Fish (reading guide #7, Luke 5:3-11)
  4. The Wedding at Cana (reading guide #8, John 2:1-10)
  5. Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man (reading guide #10, Mark 2:1–12)
  6. Jesus Calms the Stormy Sea (reading guide #12, Mark 4:35-41)
  7. Jesus Feeds the People (reading guide #18, Matthew 14:14-20)
  8. Jesus Calls Peter to Walk on Water (reading guide #19, Matthew 14:22-33)
  9. Jesus Heals a Blind Man (reading guide #20, Mark 10:46-52)
  10. Martha and Mary (reading guide #23, Luke 10:38-42)
  11. Jesus and the Little Children (reading guide #24, Matthew 18:1-5 and 19:13-15)
  12. Jesus Invites Himself to Zacchaeus’s House (Luke 19:2-10)
  13. In the Garden of Gethsemane (reading guide #31, Matthew 26:34-46)
  14. Peter Denies Jesus (reading guide #33, Luke 22:54-62)
  15. The Crucifixion of Jesus (reading guide #36, Luke 23:33-43)
  16. On the Road to Emmaus (reading guide #39, Luke 24:13-35)

The Gospel of Matthew

  1. Following the Star of the Messiah (reading guide #3, Matthew 2:1–12)
  2. The Holy Family Flees to Egypt (reading guide #4, Matthew 2:13–15, 19–21)
  3. John Baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan (reading guide #6, Mark 1:4–11)
  4. Jesus Heals the Centurion’s Servant (reading guide #11, Matthew 8:5–13)
  5. Jesus Calls Matthew and Eats with Sinners (reading guide #13, Matthew 9:9–13)
  6. Jesus Feeds the People (reading guide #18, Matthew 14:14-20)
  7. Jesus Calls Peter to Walk on Water (reading guide #19, Matthew 14:22–33)
  8. The Transfiguration of Jesus (reading guide #21, Matthew 17:1–8)
  9. Jesus and the Little Children (reading guide #24, Matthew 18:1–5 and 19:13–15)
  10. Jesus Cleanses the Temple (reading guide #28, Matthew 21:12–17)
  11. In the Garden of Gethsemane (reading guide #31, Matthew 26:36–46)
  12. The Resurrection of Jesus (reading guide #38, Matthew 28:1–10)

The Gospel of Mark

  1. A Busy Day in Capernaum (reading guide #9, Mark 1:29-39)
  2. Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man at Capernaum (reading guide #10, Mark 2:1–12)
  3. Jesus Calms the Stormy Sea (reading guide #12, Mark 4:35-41)
  4. The Daughter of Jairus and the Woman with a Hemorrhage (reading guide #14, Luke 8:40–56)
  5. Jesus Heals a Blind Man (reading guide #20, Mark 10:46–52)
  6. Betrayal and Arrest (reading guide #32, Mark 14:43-52)
  7. Jesus Before Pilate (reading guide #34, Mark 15:1-20)

The Gospel of Luke

  1. The Visitation of Mary (reading guide #1, Luke 1:39–49)
  2. The Birth of Jesus (reading guide #2, Luke 2:1-20)
  3. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (reading guide #5, Luke 2:41–51)
  4. The Miraculous Catch of Fish (reading guide #7, Luke 5:3-11)
  5. Jesus Sends His Disciples to Proclaim the Kingdom (reading guide #15, Luke 10:1–12, 17–20)
  6. Jesus Heals the Bent Woman (reading guide #16, Luke 13:10-17)
  7. Martha and Mary (reading guide #23, Luke 10:38-42)
  8. Zacchaeus (reading guide #25, Luke 19:2-10)
  9. Jesus Enters Jerusalem (reading guide #27, Luke 19:35-44)
  10. The Last Supper (reading guide #30, Luke 22:14-34)
  11. Peter Denies Jesus (reading guide #33, Luke 22:54-62)
  12. The Way of the Cross (reading guide #35, Luke 23:26-32)
  13. The Crucifixion of Jesus (reading guide #36, Luke 23:33-43)
  14. The Death and Burial of Jesus (reading guide #37, Luke 23:44-56)
  15. On the Road to Emmaus (reading guide #39, Luke 24:13-35)

The Gospel of John

  1. The Wedding at Cana (reading guide #8, John 2:1-10)
  2. The Samaritan Woman at the Well (reading guide #17, John 4:4-30, 39-42)
  3. The Woman Caught in Adultery (reading guide #22, John 8:2-11)
  4. The Raising of Lazarus (reading guide #26, John 11:1-7, 17–44)
  5. The Anointing of Jesus (reading guide #29, John 12:1-8)
  6. Jesus Forgives Peter (reading guide #40, John 21:1-19)

Advent

Advent is a time of waiting…and preparing to welcome the Lord. In the reading plan below, the first three readings feature themes of anticipation, preparation, and welcome. The fourth reading provides an opportunity to reflect on what it means to imitate Jesus by becoming a little child, just as he did.

  • Week 1: Zacchaeus (reading guide #25, Luke 19:2-10)
  • Week 2: Martha and Mary (reading guide #23, Luke 10:38-42)
  • Week 3: The Visitation of Mary (reading guide #1, Luke 1:39–49)
  • Week 4: Jesus and the Little Children (reading guide #24, Matthew 18:1–5 and 19:13–15)

Christmas

Many Christians forget that Christmas is not a single day, but an entire season that ends on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Here is a reading plan for the Christmas season;

  • Week 1: The Birth of Jesus (reading guide #2, Luke 2:1-20) or Following the Star of the Messiah (reading guide #3, Matthew 2:1–12)
  • Week 2: The Holy Family Flees to Egypt (reading guide #4, Matthew 2:13–15, 19–21)
  • Week 3: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (reading guide #5, Luke 2:41–51)
  • Week 4: John Baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan (reading guide #6, Mark 1:4–11)

Lent 1

This is the first of two Lenten reading plans; the second, below, suggests doing readings from the Passion during Holy Week:

  • Week 1: The Last Supper (reading guide #30, Luke 22:14-34)
  • Week 2: In the Garden of Gethsemane (reading guide #31, Matthew 26:36–46) and/or Betrayal and Arrest (reading guide #32, Mark 14:43-52) and/or Peter Denies Jesus (reading guide #33, Luke 22:54-62)
  • Week 3: Jesus Before Pilate (reading guide #34, Mark 15:1-20)
  • Week 4: The Way of the Cross (reading guide #35, Luke 23:26-32)
  • Week 5: The Crucifixion of Jesus (reading guide #36, Luke 23:33-43)
  • Week 6: The Death and Burial of Jesus (reading guide #37, Luke 23:44-56)

Lent 2

This Lenten reading plan is designed to be used with the reading plan for Holy Week (below).

  • Week 1: Jesus Feeds the People (reading guide #18, Matthew 14:14-20)
  • Week 2: Jesus Calls Peter to Walk on Water (reading guide #19, Matthew 14:22–33)
  • Week 3: Jesus Heals a Blind Man (reading guide #20, Mark 10:46–52)
  • Week 4: The Woman Caught in Adultery (reading guide #22, John 8:2-11)
  • Week 5: The Raising of Lazarus (reading guide #26, John 11:1-7, 17–44)
  • Week 6: Jesus Cleanses the Temple (reading guide #28, Matthew 21:12–17)
  • Week 7: The Anointing of Jesus (reading guide #29, John 12:1-8)

Holy Week

This reading plan can be used by itself during Holy Week, or in addition to the second Lenten reading plan above.

  • Palm Sunday: Jesus Enters Jerusalem (reading guide #27, Luke 19:35-44)
  • Monday: The Last Supper (reading guide #30, Luke 22:14-34)
  • Tuesday: In the Garden of Gethsemane (reading guide #31, Matthew 26:36–46)
  • Wednesday: Betrayal and Arrest (reading guide #32, Mark 14:43-52)
  • Thursday: Peter Denies Jesus (reading guide #33, Luke 22:54-62) and/or Jesus Before Pilate (reading guide #34, Mark 15:1-20)
  • Friday: The Way of the Cross (reading guide #35, Luke 23:26-32) and/or The Crucifixion of Jesus (reading guide #36, Luke 23:33-43)
  • Saturday: The Death and Burial of Jesus (reading guide #37, Luke 23:44-56)

Easter

The Easter season lasts seven weeks, from Easter Sunday through the Feast of the Ascension. The first three weeks of this plan feature stories of the Resurrection; the remaining four weeks focus on themes of healing, renewal, and the call to discipleship.

  • Week 1: The Resurrection of Jesus (reading guide #38, Matthew 28:1–10)
  • Week 2: On the Road to Emmaus (reading guide #39, Luke 24:13-35)
  • Week 3: Jesus Forgives Peter (reading guide #40, John 21:1-19)
  • Week 4: The Daughter of Jairus and the Woman with a Hemorrhage (reading guide #14, Luke 8:40–56)
  • Week 5: Jesus Calls Matthew and Eats with Sinners (reading guide #13, Matthew 9:9–13)
  • Week 6: The Wedding at Cana (reading guide #8, John 2:1-10)
  • Week 7: Jesus Sends His Disciples to Proclaim the Kingdom (reading guide #15, Luke 10:1–12, 17–20)

Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38)
  2. The Visitation of Mary (reading guide #1, Luke 1:39–49)
  3. The Birth of Jesus (reading guide #2, Luke 2:1-20)
  4. The Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22–38)
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (reading guide #5, Luke 2:41–51)

The Luminous Mysteries

  1. John Baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan (reading guide #6, Mark 1:4–11)
  2. The Wedding at Cana (reading guide #8, John 2:1-10)
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom (reading guide #15, Luke 10:1–12, 17–20)
  4. The Transfiguration of Jesus (reading guide #21, Matthew 17:1–8)
  5. The Last Supper (reading guide #30, Luke 22:14-34)

The Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (reading guide #31, Matthew 26:36–46)
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar (reading guide #34, Mark 15:1-20)
  3. The Crowning with Thorns (reading guide #34, Mark 15:1-20)
  4. The Way of the Cross (reading guide #35, Luke 23:26-32)
  5. The Crucifixion of Jesus (reading guide #36, Luke 23:33-43 and reading guide #37, Luke 23:44-56)

The Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection of Jesus (reading guide #38, Matthew 28:1–10 and/or reading guide #39, Luke 24:13-35 and/or reading guide #40, John 21:1-19)
  2. The Ascension (Acts 1:6 – 12)
  3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–13)
  4. The Assumption of Mary
  5. The Coronation of Mary

70 More Readings for Imaginative Prayer

Looking for even more readings? Check out our list of 70 more readings for imaginative prayer.

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