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Lenten Practice: Examen
Daily Act: Engage in the practice of Examen. Use the prayer phrase as a way to enter a time of prayer.
Weekly Prayer Phrase: Repeat this phrase slowly as you breathe deeply. You may choose to memorize this phrase and repeat it throughout your day.
“SEARCH MY HEART AND MAKE IT ONE WITH YOURS.”
Below is the description of the Examen found in the Community of Christ Guide for Lent. There is no specific formula or method that needs to be used. The important thing with this practice is to place your whole life before God in prayer. Nothing is too mundane or insignificant! Search for God’s presence and invitation in every part of your life. The examen reflects what its founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola, proclaimed: That God is in all things!
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. Many Christians have used this practice since the 1500s, and while it is often practiced at the end of a day, it may be done any time. The examen can be used during Lent as we seek to realign our lives with the life of Christ.
The Practice: Find a comfortable and quiet place in which you are able to reflect on your day. Read scripture passages, such as Psalm 139:1–3, 7 or Psalm 51:10–12, 15–17. You may want to write your thoughts on these passages in a journal, or during the examen, write as you notice the Spirit stirring within you.
Begin by recognizing God’s presence and give thanks for this awareness. Gently enter seeking the Spirit’s guidance. Express gratitude as you recognize the many and diverse ways you have sensed God’s presence throughout the day. You may want to record your thanks in writing.
Look back over your day objectively, without judgment or justification. Notice when you recognized God’s presence and where you were most Christ-like. When 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 linger 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. Receive God’s grace and rest.