Re-posted from: Community of Christ – Lenten Practices
The prayer of examen is a daily spiritual practice that encourages us to review the day with God, remember our connection with the Holy, and recommit ourselves to encounter the Divine once again. This practice is credited to St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), and while it is often practiced at the end of a day, it may be used at any time. Praying the examen during Lent is an opportunity to review our lives, and realign with the mission of Christ.
|Hymn for Reflection“I Will Talk to My Heart” CCS 168|
- Find a comfortable and quiet place in which you are able to reflect on your day. Read scriptures, such as Psalm 139:1–3, 7 or Psalm 51:10–12, 15–17.
- You may want to write in a journal your thoughts on these scriptures or during the examen, write as you notice the Spirit stirring within you.
- Becoming calm and centered is critical, so begin by recognizing God’s presence and give thanks for this awareness. Gently enter into a time of prayer with the expectation and permission to be guided by the Holy Spirit in this process. Offer gratitude as you recognize the many and diverse ways in which God has been present to you over the past day. You may want to journal your thanks in writing.
- Look back over your day objectively, without judgment or justification. Notice where you recognized God’s presence and where you were most Christ-like—where did you cooperate with God’s Spirit of healing and shalom?
- Also notice where you were not as cooperative, and perhaps even resistant to the invitation to abide and follow.
- Pay attention to your feelings as you review and reflect, and notice patterns and choices. Are you being invited to release certain attitudes or behaviors and embrace others? Ask the Holy Spirit for insight and pray for forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, or release as needed.
- Offer God the next day, asking God to be present in your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Ask yourself, “Beginning tomorrow (or today), how will I live my life differently?”
- Close your practice with a brief benediction or blessing. Receive God’s grace and rest.
Questions for Reflection
- Where have I been complacent in God’s vision of shalom?
- Where have I been complicit in a lack of peace in this world?
- Looking back over my life, what are my priorities?
- Where do my passions mirror the passion of Christ?
Photo by: Zac Harmon-McLaughlin