Thanks to Carrie Soukup for this guest post on her version of the “examen.” To read more of Carrie’s work, check at her website, gracefinders.
There is a wellspring of things to offer to God and receive from him by simply looking at your life. This prayer never seems to get old because life is so full and God is so active. Here is my version of this “examen” or “reviewing of my day with God.” Most of it was passed on to me by some great Jesuits. It is most similar to the version by Dennis Hamm, SJ.
The ONE prayer
Saint Ignatius of Loyola told his brothers that if there is only one prayer that they are able to do in a day, be sure to do this one. While I certainly have missed a day or two here and there, over the past decade of including this in my evenings, it has kept me vitally, reflectively, and emotionally connected to God.
It fits your time
5-7 minutes is an ideal amount of time for this prayer but depending upon circumstances, it can take between 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Whether you pray with words, feelings, or images, lift up everything to God, bringing your life into the loving Light of Christ. Periodically you can adapt this to review a certain season in your life instead of just a day.
Prayerful Review of the Day
1. Pray for Light
Ask that you can look at this day with His light.
“Holy Spirit, please enlighten my mind so I may see this day you gave me in truth and love.”
2. Find the Grace
From this day, for what am I most thankful?
Where do I see God’s grace active in this day? Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what these good things mean in your life.
“Thank you… Jesus, you are… This is special because…”
Allow gratitude to well up. Offer it back to the Father with love.
3. Acknowledge the trouble
From this day, for what am I least thankful?
What needs to be converted?
What was a challenge?
Converse with Jesus about these things and listen to what needs healing.
“Please forgive me… I’m sad… Please help…”
Offer it back to the Father with love.
4. Look at tomorrow with Christ
Converse with Jesus about how God wants to (or has already) equip you for tomorrow.
“What concept, scripture verse or resolution shall I carry in my heart for tomorrow?”
Make a tiny resolution about your own action for tomorrow. Ask for God’s grace to fulfill it.
Find this and many more helps for prayer in my book, Collection of Grace – a Flexible Handbook for Growing a Life of Prayer