How do you think God looks at you?
Today we will explore just that. Using our imagination, we will stand back and look, with our mind’s eye, at our Father, who is in turn looking at us.
This is a fun, and somewhat challenging, exercise rooted in Ignatian Spirituality. But it is so powerful and so encouraging.
I first learned this exercise at a retreat last November–and I was blown away with how much God spoke to me through it.
Here’s how it works:
Day 10: Looking at God, Looking at You, and then hearing what he says.
- Find a quiet space and time where you don’t think you’ll be interrupted for a while. You will need around 15 minutes for this prayer practice.
- Take a Bible and a notebook.
- Open the Scripture and get oriented by a few Scriptures on the Father’s love for us. I’d suggest a few verses from 1 John 4.
- 1 John 4:9-10 NIV “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
- 1 John 4:16-19 NIV “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
- Sit in quietness with these verses for just a few moments. Let the truth of God’s perfect love for you cast out all the fear you may have.
- And now, in your mind, imagine that you are looking at the Father (or if it’s easier, at Jesus) as he is looking at you. For some, it is easier to imagine this in the third person, as though you are standing a little to the side, and you are looking at God who is looking at you (you can do these kinds of things in your imagination!). For others, you can sit and look straight into his face.
- For 3-4 minutes, fix the eyes of your imagination on his expression, on how he looks at you, upon his smile, his eyes, his facial expression. See how he really sees you. Really stay with this and look at him, looking at you. Keep looking.
- After a few minutes, pick up your notebook and write what he is saying to you. Start your writing with, “Dearest ____ (insert your name)”–“Dearest Tom”, “Dearest Paula,” “Dearest Carrie,” “Dearest Brad.” And then write his words, based upon your experience of observing him looking at you. Prayer is a dialogue, and in this exercise, you are hearing his word to you, rather than speaking your word to him. Let the Spirit speak his grace and truth to you as you write.
- And when you are done, look at what you’ve written. What did you notice? What did Jesus say to you? How is the Father encouraging you or challenging you? And how can you respond? Feel free to talk back to God on this, sharing with him what you see and think, what confused you or what you were surprised by.
As I’ve already said, this can be a challenging exercise. We are invited to look from a very different perspective, and it requires laying down some of our preconceptions about prayer. I hope that you will try it, and that through this practice, you will hear the voice of God, and live.
I’d love to hear from you:
What was helpful about this exercise?
What was difficult?
What did you hear?
Share in the comments, or send me a private message.
And receive my prayer for you today: Father, may we look upon you today, as you look upon us. And may we receive by your Spirit all that you would say to us, knowing that in you there is love, and that your perfect love casts out all our fear. May this exercise today move us closer to you, and your heart for us. Amen.
Are you finding this Pray-May challenge helpful? Do you want others to get in on it? If so, would you please share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email? The links to do so are below–I’d be grateful that you did, and others will, too!
If you discovered this post today, we are a third of the way through a month-long prayer challenge. You can simply scroll back through the May posts and see what some of our other prayer challenges were–I invite you to join us!