Prayer of Examen
The Prayer of Examen is part of the Igatian Spiritual Exercises, originated with St. Igatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. It is a powerful practice, allowing you to observe your day from a place of openness to what happened, what is, and God’s presence during the day. I have some slight adaptations to the Examen to make it a bit more expansive and inclusive of different perspectives.
First, the most important thing about this is that you approach this with a sense of compassion and forgiveness for yourself and others, and a willingness to allow the Spirit to speak to you and work in your heart. This prayer is done at the end of the day, just before you are ready to sleep. Find a comfortable place to sit. This can also be done lying down, although you may risk falling asleep during it.
- Be open to God’s presence as you begin. For this moment, let your thoughts go, and relax.
- Think back on the events of the day with gratitude. Think about the people you encountered, what nourished you, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Look on those events with a spirit of gratitude.
- Notice the events that were emotional. What were your emotions? How did they effect the day, or what happened during the day? Where might have you fallen short, or where could you have done better. Where could you have brought in love and compassion? Remember to approach these with compassion for yourself and others. Allow yourself and others to make mistakes. Forgive.
- If there is something in the day that needs more attention, spend it here. Pray about it. Ask God for help with it.
- Then, let the day go. Notice how you feel, and accept it, then let that go. Wrap up by re-dedication to your practice and spiritual growth.
Here is an audio teaching on the Prayer of Examen.