Ways of Praying: Deepening encounter with God (Christ Church, Waco)

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.

No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.”    

-- Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium


Jesus tells us, “I have called you friends…” (John 15:15) Prayer is the communication of relationship - a conversation that leads us deeper into relationship with the Lord. Ignatius of Loyola radically proposes that God desires a relationship with each person, dealing directly with each one as His beloved creatures.  Master Ignatius - saint, mystic, and founder of the Jesuits - encourages us to speak with God about anything and everything in our life. The fruit of this personal encounter shapes us into community - the People of God. 

This course explores key concepts in prayer: desire, grace, listening, imagination, as well as obstacles to prayer. Just as there are many different forms of communication, participants can expect to explore and experience different ways of praying. In our time together we will have conversation, listen, pray, reflect, and deepen understanding of our own ways of praying. We will explore different ways of praying including the Ignatian Examen, contemplation, lectio discretio, and prayer of consideration. And we will seek to answer the question: what does prayer mean to my life? 


  • When: 5:30 - 7:00 pm, Wednesdays February 8, 15, 22, and March 1
  • Location Christ Church, 1008 Jefferson Ave, Waco Texas
  • Tuition $50 per person
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Carol Atwell Ackels

Carol is Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute. A spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition she serves as retreat director of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in various formats. She offers weekend retreats, the Exercises in Everyday Life, and one-to-one directed retreats at Jesuit retreat houses across the United States.  Carol regularly gives programs and days of reflection to parish and Church groups. She launched and continues to give workshops to shape persons, Jesuits and lay, who are moving into retreat ministry and spiritual companioning in the Ignatian tradition. Appointed by the Provincial, Carol served six years on the bi-province Commission on Ministry--the group that discerns long-range planning for apostolic work of the Jesuits and their colleagues. Carol co-authored with Joe Tetlow, S.J. the twelve week Ignatian retreat Finding Christ in the World, and worked with Anthony Borrow, S.J. developing the Toward Greater Freedom retreat for parents at Jesuit College Prep of Dallas. Carol holds a J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas and a Master of Art in Theology and Leadership from Gonzaga University, Spokane. She and her husband reside in Dallas and are the parents of five adult children.



Wednesday, Feb.8, 2023
Wednesday, Feb.15, 2023
Wednesday, Feb.22, 2023
Wednesday, Mar.1, 2023