daily reflection and discernment
The Prayer of Examen is a way of reflecting on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for our lives. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. This prayer can be followed individually or communally in a small group.
Prayerfully consider what has been happening in the community.
What has the Spirit been doing?
Are the people tired or upbeat? Are they engaged? Are they withdrawn?
Listen to the Spirit as a discerning presence for subtle movements in the group. Select a brief passage of scripture to be read aloud.
15 minutes | After the the selected text reading and a short prayer recognizing the presence of God, begin by walking through the five movements of the examen. This can be done individually or as a group.
Begin by remembering some highlights in your life over the past week by thanking God for those specific things.
Allow 3 minutes of silence to get in touch with experiences for which you are grateful and to silently express your gratitude to God.
After a few guiding words offered in prayer, allow 3 minutes of silence to ask God to enable you to see the encounters and events of your week as God sees them.
After a few guiding words offered in prayer, allow 3 minutes of silence to reflect on a specific event or events when you felt particularly close to God or when you felt God was far from you.
Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart for unconfessed sin, including actions, attitudes, and affections.
In prayer, offer the assurance of God’s grace toward you and the freedom that He gives to those who confess.
Silently agree with God about your sin and posture yourself to receive His mercy and forgiveness.
After a few guiding words offered in prayer, allow 3 minutes of silence to consider what unique hopes and prayers you might have for the coming week.
Is there something you should be especially attentive to? Are there areas that may require special grace or opportunities to join God in the work He is doing?
15 minutes | If you are meeting in a group, move from the Guided Examen into a time of conversation after a simple transition prayer. Encourage one another to offer reflections through dialogue.
Keep the conversation focused on the movements of the Spirit in the life of your community and its members. This is not a time for advice giving. Feel free to share observations with one another and ask questions without having to have those questions answered.
15 minutes | If you are praying individually, you may prefer to journal your prayers during or after the Guided Examen. This is a beautiful way to help non-auditory learners focus on what the Spirit is saying while providing a record of these interactions for edification and empowerment.