The Examen is part of Ignatian spiritual practice and was the prayer that St. Ignatius asked those in his order to prioritise; once at noon and once in the evening.
How to pray the Examen.
- Become aware of God’s presence. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding as you begin to review your day.
- Review the day with gratitude. Recall your day, in God’s presence, note its joys, delights and gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
- Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings? Notice where you have fallen short today and offer your sins and faults to God.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to and important feature of your day. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.
- Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Allow these feelings to turn into prayer and seek God’s guidance.
- St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus, asking for what you need and thanking Him for all you’ve been given. You might like to say the Our Father.
With thanks to the Loyola Press.
Prayer and Liturgy
Running a Group
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit