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Image by Shane Hauser

Examen

The Examen is a prayer of attention. In this prayer, we join God in looking back over our day: calling to mind moments of light and dark. Together, we trace His movements in our everyday experience.

By building the spiritual muscle of attention, we find a world saturated with God. With the Spirit as our guide, the Examen teaches us to look. To seek and find. 

 

Don't worry if it's difficult at first. Building muscle takes time. But with each Examen, we grow stronger: cultivating gratitude, growth, love, and an awareness of the presence of God.

reflecting on your day in prayer

Getting Started

There are many types of Examens: of time (day, week, season), of an event (a celebration, a death), even of a virtue (an Examen of Love or Hope). The Examen below is based on time.  It's a great entry point for those who are new, and a great "home-base" for those who've prayed examen for years.

1

PREPARE 

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Sit in silence for several minutes as you orient to the loving presence of Jesus.

2

LOOK BACK

Ask Jesus to guide your memory though the day. Don't work too hard. Simply allow scenes from your day to play on your mind like a slideshow.

3

LOOK TO THE LIGHT

Begin to trace the movements of God in your day. When did you notice the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness,  or self-control? When did you notice Light? Thank Him.
Image by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird

4

LOOK AT THE DARK

Begin to brave the dark places of your day. When did God feel far off? What sorrows are you holding? What wounds did you receive or inflict? Invite God to meet you there. Open yourself to His comfort or forgiveness.

5

LOOK AHEAD

Consider what lies ahead, in the hour, day, or week to come. Talk to God about what you see. What grace do you need from Him? Is there an invitation God is extending to you? Invite Him to guide your attention.

6

REST

Well done. You have paused and oriented to God. You have traced His movements, asked for His guidance, and considered how to walk in His ways. Take a moment to soak up the loving gaze of God. The work is done. Enjoy.

If you prefer an audio-examen, explore these at Pray As You Go. They are a quick, lovely guide.

Explore Other Prayer Practices

Whether you are praying on your own, with a director, or in your local church community, there is something here for you.

Spiritual Direction:

Together with God

Want to be guided through this and other prayer practices? Spiritual direction is a great place to dive deeper into prayer.

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