In our busy lives, we don’t often take time to reflect on our day and how God has moved in it. The Examen is a method of reviewing the day, seeing God’s presence and confessing where we’ve “missed it.” Avoid falling into the trap of condemnation, but recognize that the more understanding we have, the more of God’s grace we receive to avoid those mistakes in the future. I’ve taken this Examen from The Practical Disciple (used by permission). Next week we will look at a practical tool combining Examen and journaling.
Find a spot where you are not likely to be interrupted. Sit down and settle down. Relax. You may want to light a candle or dim lights just to mark a transition into prayer time.
1. Recall that you are in the presence of God. No matter where you are and no matter what you are doing God is present. God’s voice speaks through the beauty of the things God has made. God brings you messages upon the lips of friends, family members, and sometimes even total stranger. God whispers quietly through the Holy Spirit within you. God is here. God is now. Remind yourself of God’s presence and passion to be in relationship with you.
2. Spend a moment looking over the activities of the day with gratitude. In your mind move through the events of the day. Recall with simple pleasure the fresh feeling of stepping out of the shower. Recall the sun or the rain touching you as you walked out into the world today. Revisit concrete moments, paying attention to all that your senses can re-summon of those moments. Think of more permanent blessings like health, family, work, the place you live, opportunities that you have been given. The gifts God gave you to deal with challenges, such as, a moment of forgiveness, compassion, patience, joy shared, a kind word spoken. Presence all the moments clearly in your mind and offer them over to God with deep gratitude.
3. Ask God to send you His Holy Spirit to help you look at your actions and attitudes and motives with honesty and patience. The Holy Spirit is a gift that will give you a deepening knowledge of yourself and your relationship to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to do so. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the freedom to look on your actions with grace that you might learn from them and grow more Christ like.
4. Now review your day This step is different from number two in that you aren’t simply recalling the activities of the day, but you are giving them a review. This step is more of an analysis than an inventory. You are examining the internal movements and motivations that occurred within the activity of the day. Who did you interact with, why and how? What did you do? Why did you make this choices and in what spirit did you behave? When were you motivated out of faithful response of God? When were you driven by your own desire? Consider when and where the Word and Christ influenced the choices you made throughout the day. What other influences motivated your actions? The more you examine yourself in this manner, the more you will become aware of both your own Spirit and God’s Spirit within you. Listen for God to speak, convict, encourage, comfort and challenge you. God is daily inviting you ever closer to loving God with all your strength, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. This practice will hone your ability to hear and heed the call.
5. The final step is a heart-to-heart talk with Jesus. Now that you have thoroughly considered the day from a faith filled perspective, discuss your day in prayer with Christ. Ask forgiveness for the wrongs that you regret. Ask for strength to change and for God to pour forth the Spirit and soften your heart. Give thanks for God’s grace throughout your day. Praise God for blessings or the moment you sense that God offered guidance or intervention. Resolve from what God has revealed to you through the Holy Spirit to move forward in whatever action is appropriate. You may want to conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.
Published by: http://ThePracticalDisciple.com.
Permission granted to reproduce for non-commerical purposes. ©2009