Prayer of Examen
An exercise of daily discernment
Be silent, and know that I am God!…(Psalm 46.10) Spend time quieting yourself, releasing anxiety and burdens. Focus your attention on the presence of God.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me… (Psalm 103.1,2) Take some time to recount specific gifts of the day—a fresh snowfall, the help of a stranger, a kind word, a wonderful meal, a moment of insight– and remember them with gratitude. Savor the memory and offer thanks.
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy… (Psalm 43.3-5)Ask God to give you the light of the Holy Spirit to guide you to discern God’s movement in you and around you today and your response to that movement.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point our anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139.23,24) Reflect contemplatively on what has been happening in and around you today, trusting that the Spirit will reveal what needs your attention. Use the questions as they seem helpful. Stay with the questions that speak to you.
- How were you drawn to God today?
- Did you meet God in fears, joys, work, misunderstandings, weariness, pain?
- Did God’s word come alive in prayer, Scripture, liturgy, creation?
- Did you bring God to those around you? Did they bring God to you?
- Did you sense God in the wider world (news, TV)? Bring God your feelings about what you saw/read—your compassion, solidarity, or anger, etc.
- Did you feel the absence of God in any part of your day? Why do you think that was?
- What gave you peace? Where did you experience unease or turmoil? As you sit with these feelings what seems to be behind them?
- Did you feel a sense of invitation or calling today? How did you respond?
- When did you feel most alive today? When did you feel life drain from you?
- Out of all the day’s experiences is there an event or discovery that you would like to thank God for?
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin… (Psalm 51) Looking back, you may realize that some of your reactions to the events of the day did not come out of a love and desire for God. Let these responses be there before God, not for judgement, but for God’s Spirit to bring wholeness out of brokenness. Express your sorrow, trusting in God’s healing mercy.
When I awake, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face to face. (Psalm 17. 15b)
Looking forward to tomorrow, pray to recognize God in whatever way God may choose to come to you.
Adapted from James Neafsey DASD2004