Imaginative Contemplation Guide

Imaginative Contemplation/Gospel Meditation

Gospel meditation provides an opportunity to enter specific moments in Jesus’ life and thereby share his experience. Shared experience is the core of any friendship. And Spirit-guided meditation on the life of Jesus provides that possibility.

Meditation on Scripture is not the same as Bible study. It is more an exercise of the imagination than of the intellect. It involves allowing the Spirit of God to help you imaginatively enter an event in the life of Christ as presented in the Gospels.

Check out this simple exercise based on Mark’s account of Jesus and the rich young man.

  • First, take a moment to quiet yourself in God’s presence.

  • Close your eyes and ask God to take the Scripture and by the power of his Spirit, make them God’s Word to you.

  • Ask for the gift of a few moments of Spirit-guided imaginative encounter with Jesus.

  • Then slowly read the following account several times-preferably out loud.


[Jesus] was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, “Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honor your father and mother.” And he said to him, “Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.” Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, “There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth. (Mark 10:17-22)


Now allow yourself to daydream on the situation presented in the story. First picture the man approaching Jesus as he is leaving on a journey. Then, as if you were a spectator, observe the events as they unfold. Watch, listen, and stay attentive to Christ. Don’t be distracted by the rich young ruler. And don’t try to analyze the story or learn lessons from it. Just be present to Jesus and open to your own reactions.

Try the exercise throughout the week with other passages from the Gospels.

Examples: Mark 5:21-43, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 10:38-42, John 4:4-29

(Excerpt from chapter 2, pp. 37-39, of “The Gift of Being Yourself” by David G. Benner)