Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.Psalm 138: 7-8
One tool that disciples have long used in their prayer life is the Examen. Often associated with Ignatius, prayers of examen invite us to review our inner and outer life in the light of God’s grace. They encourage us to reflect on ourselves and to embrace our growing edges. (For more on Prayer of Examen read Maisie Spark’s article at Urban Faith)
There are several variations and patterns for Examen. This is an easy outline with which to begin:
- Remind yourself God is present and what that means to you in the moment.
- Recognize where God has been at work around you.
- Repent your mistakes, transgressions and opportunities you missed to practice grace and service.
- Reflect on the state of your heart and feelings that emerge during prayer.
- Renew hope for growth and the days to come.
In my planner, I have the following examen prayer. It helps to center me and invites me to reflect when things get difficult. Like most prayers of examen, it is meant to be prayed slowly with space for reflection and listening after each section.
This week, try making a Prayer of Examen part of your spiritual practice. Journal what you discover about yourself and God.