Spiritual Exercises

A Deep Encounter with the Lord in Prayer

What to Expect?

Deep Encounter with the Lord in Prayer

What to Expect?

A Deep Encounter with the Lord in Prayer

St. Ignatius created a series of “exercises” to find greater freedom in doing God’s will. It was a full 30 day retreat to not only overcome vice, but to have a radical conversion

This is an opportunity to live this same experience without putting work & family obligations on hold.

These Spiritual Exercises are different in 3 ways:

  • Gospel meditations line-up with the liturgical calendar from Ash Wednesday to Easter so we can pray with the heart of the Church.
  • We will focus on developing the interior life by practicing the tools the Church offers and wrestling with the human heart as we pray through the psalms.
  • Discussions will cover the teachings of the mystics on what it means to deeply experience the Lord in prayer.

For 14 weeks, experience the love of Christ, be fully immersed in the prayer of the Church, and let your heart be filled with the fullness of God. 

Ignatian Discernment

Main Elements

The Ignatian approach is NOT one size fits all. Each person is responsible to discern the right exercises for them. It always includes:

Daily mental prayer (meditation) is the non-negotiable center.

Weekly meetings to support one another.

Asceticism helps us regain self-mastery, remove attachments, and unite ourselves to Christ & silence removes noise to create a space for God.

Required For Everyone

The Essentials

Our Spiritual Exercises are an intense experience that demands real commitment from all who join. In order to sign-up, you must have gone through Hearts on Fire in the past and be in the habit of praying an hour a day.

Basic requirements will include an hour of mental prayer, a daily Examen, and an hour meeting once a week. Each participant is expected to be present and prepared for every meeting.

Daily Commitment

  • Mental Prayer (1 hr.)
  • Daily Examen (5-10 min.)
  • Regular Journaling

Weekly Commitment

  • 1 hour meeting each week
  • Review past week’s prayer (15 min.)

Other Commitments

  • One all-day silent retreat
  • Participating in the fullness of the experiences the Church has to offer from Lent through Easter, especially Holy Week.
  • Liturgy of the Hours (one of the hours, 10-15 min)

Timeline and Structure

A Journey of Discovery

For the first four weeks we will review contemplative prayer. During this time our meditations will be also be centered around the psalms as a way to build the interior life.

After this, prayer will follow the Liturgical calendar, with a focus on the Gospels. Once a week we come together to share the experiences and lights gleaned from time spent in prayer. Each of us is responsible to help carry our team forward.

  • 4 weeks – to learn the way of contemplation and pray with the psalms

  • 1 day – silent retreat

  • 10 weeks – to pray on the central themes of the Christian Life

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Why We Started Wildfire

The urgency and seriousness of this moment demands that, to the absolute best of our ability, we fan the flames of personal holiness into the renewal our Church so desperately needs.
Men and women saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult circumstances in the Church’s history.

Today we have the greatest need of saints whom we must beg God to raise up. – St. John Paul II

Exercises in Depth

The Required Exercises

Daily Meditation – The absolute center of the Spiritual Exercises is the daily hour of prayer. Usually done first thing in the morning, this is the one element that cannot be lacking. “Prayer is a battle.” CCC 2725

Weekly Fellowship – We find support and accountability in our team. Shared reflections aren’t the result of spontaneous considerations, but the fruit of hours spent in prayer.

Daily Examen – Usually practiced in the evening, the Examen can be life-changing. It is short, simple, but demanding. 

Keep Daily Notes – Tracking insights from your daily meditation and Examen in a short journal connects prayer and life. It also allows you to track your growth and discern what God may be asking of you by identifying repeating patterns.

Asceticism – Taking on voluntary abnegation and acts of generosity is necessary for a healthy spiritual life. We all need ongoing purification from attachments.

Interior Silence – One of the most challenging parts of the Spiritual Exercises, above removing noise externally, is learning to habitually make a place for God in your life.

Optional Exercises

Full Retreat Day – At the start of Lent, a full retreat day is dedicated to preparing for the liturgical season and to start the most intense part of the Spiritual Exercises.

General Confession – This sacramental experience of true contrition and God’s mercy is an important part of the Spiritual Exercises. It includes a review of all sins up to that point or since your last general confession.

Regular Spiritual Reading – Ignatian prayer focuses heavily on Scripture, and the New Testament specifically. It’s helpful to add additional sources of spiritual reading from things like the Imitation of Christ, or writings of the saints.

Interior Silence

Recommend removing: television, movies, video games, most music,  computer, mobile devices, and internet use.

Recommend adding: Regular time in nature or away from noise that isn’t specifically prayer.


Recommend removing: alcohol, sweets, eating between meals, sweet drinks, unnecessary purchases.

Recommend adding: regular exercise, good sleep, fasting.