Examen Prayer
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This is a structure of a particular type of contemplative prayer called Examen. It was first created by St Ignatius of Loyola who lived in the 1500’s. This adaptation has morphed in language and style , but the point is that it is a tool help to help us contemplate (to look thoughtfully at something for a long time) about our day with God, revealing his presence within it. You might like to change the language of it so that it helps you to think through a particular issue or challenge you are facing at the moment. It can be used as a group prayer or solo. Have a go!  

Opening Prayer:

Lord, we open ourselves to your presence this evening.

You are always moving, always present among us in every moment of every day.

Often, as we move about our day it is easy to forget that you walk beside us.

We take time tonight to become aware of your intimate presence in our lives.

Take some time in silence to become aware of God’s presence. You may experience distracting thoughts. Acknowledge them and release them, and return your thoughts to God. It may help to repeat out loud or in your head a phrase, such as “Abba father”, or “Lord Jesus” etc.  

Scripture Reading:

This could be something reflective like Psalm 23, David’s contemplation in Psalm 51, or whatever the scripture happens to be if you are already going through a scripture reading program.

Followed by a time of silence to reflect on scripture.  

The General Examen:

(feel free to change the language if there is a particular issue you are wanting to contemplate)

Lord, we broaden our awareness back over the day/(over this issue).

Looking back, it may seem confusing. A blur, a muddle, rushed through.

Bring us clarity and understanding as we cast our minds over today.

Reveal your presence throughout the day to us.

Time of silence to reflect  

 

We recognise gratitude as the foundation for relationship with you Lord.

Thank you for the day that has been, and your presence throughout it all.

We walk back through each moment of the day with you, noticing its joys and delights.

Focus on the day’s gifts. What food did I eat? What sights did I see?

Who did I interact with – at work, down the street, at home, in the community, even online?

What did I receive from these people?

God, you are in the details of our lives. The little moments, the small pleasures.

We lift up these moments we can be grateful for to you now.

Verbalise a word or phrase of gratitude from the day/week.  

 

We shift our focus to our own emotions Lord, and seek your presence within them.

Spirit, you move in our emotions each day.

Reflect on the feelings you experienced today.

What did I feel? Joy? Boredom? Resentment? Sorrow? Anger? Confidence?

Try to look beyond the feelings, and try to see what the Spirit is revealing through it.

God, what are you trying to say to me through these feelings?

We lift these emotions and movements of your Spirit now.

Verbalise a word or phrase about these feelings or emotions.  

 

Spirit, direct our thoughts to one moment in the day that you want us to pray for.

Perhaps it is a feeling, positive or negative.

Maybe it is a moment, a gift of joy.

A vivid moment of interaction with someone.

It could be a moment that until now, we thought was insignificant.

Take some time, let the Spirit guide you to this moment.

Pause

Look at this moment. Pray about it.

Allow this prayer to rise from within you, whatever it may be – praise, repentance, intercession…

Verbalise a word/phrase about this moment.  

 

Jesus. Brother. Healer. Redeemer.

There are many in this world in need of healing.

There are many in this world in times of joy.

We think of those around us in our families. Our friends. Our communities. Our country. Our world.

We lift up names of those we care for, those celebrating, those mourning, and those who do not yet know you, trusting you to pray with us.

Invitation to call the names – nothing more – of the people you’d like to pray for. 

 

We now turn our attention to tomorrow.

God, give us light for tomorrow’s challenges.

Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you consider tomorrow’s challenges.

Are you doubtful? Excited? Apprehensive? Filled with anticipation? Dread?

Turn these feelings to prayer. Seek God’s guidance.

Ask God for help and understanding. Pray for hope.

Pray in silence or out loud regarding this.  

Closing Prayer

Lord, we thank you for this time of slowing down and entering your presence more fully.

Jesus, we thank you for your friendship throughout the day, and your peaceful presence beside us.

Spirit, direct us tomorrow as we look ahead to another day in hope.

Amen.