I don’t know about you, but I struggle to stay focused when I pray. Over the last few years, I have found set prayers to help give me structure and rhythm to my prayer life. Like an ancient well-worn path, they show you which way to go.
There is an old prayer that just might be one of the most helpful daily prayers you can pray as a follower of Jesus. It’s called the examen (pronounced *examine*). This prayer was created by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order of priests. It’s a prayer that invites us to see where God has been at work in our day, and what he may be prompting us about leading into tomorrow. The examen is usually prayed at night, and follows these 5 basic movements:
1. Presence – Open your palms, slow your breathing, take a moment of silence, and become aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence with you.
2. Review – Scan your day hour by hour.
3. Key moments – What moments stand out? What are you grateful for? Where did you miss the mark? Where did you miss seeing God at work?
4. Response – In light of your daily review, what is God saying to you? Where might you need to repent?
5. Look ahead – In light of your response, what is your resolve to take into tomorrow?
You can find an audio-guided prayer we made on the Inhabit Podcast.
I found Reimagining the Examen app to be really helpful when I was learning how to pray the examen.