Lent Disciple-lines #1: Prayer ~ The Examen (David Emmott)

David Emmott

Finding God in all things

More than four hundred years ago St. Ignatius Loyola proposed what has been called the Daily Examen.

Its a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day so we can detect God`s presence and discern his direction forus. There are five stages

1. Become aware of God`s presence.

Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you – a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day`s gifts. What did you receive from people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things – the food you ate, the sights you saw and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

We may detect God`s presence in the movement of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?

4. Choose one feature from the day and pray from it.

Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling – positive or negative. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart – whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.

5. Look towards tomorrow.

Ask God to give you light for tomorrow`s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what is coming up. Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God`s guidance. Ask for help and understanding, and for the gift of hope and joy to welcome God’s presence in the new day.

You may like to conclude the Examen by sharing your feelings in prayer with Jesus, maybe using these verses from psalm 139, Darkness is no darkness with you; the night is as clear as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are your works, my soul knows well. See if there is any way of wickedness in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

or this

Save us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep may rest in peace.

End with the Lord`s Prayer.