Praying the Examen

Do you desire to daily spend time with God in prayer, only to find this to be a challenge due to the many pressing demands of hectic everyday life clamoring for attention? Setting aside a few minutes of undistracted quiet, in the evening perhaps, and praying the Daily Examen can help deepen our relationship with God and to discern His Will for us. This prayer is a beautiful reflection upon the events of the day and will help us recognize God’s touch in the ordinary occurrences of our everyday life.

How gentle and loving is Your awakening, O Bridegroom Word,
in the center and depth of my soul.
Awaken and enlighten me, my Lord, so I might know and love
the blessings You ever propose to me,
and I might understand that You have moved to bestow favors on me
and have remembered me.

St. John of the Cross, Living Flame, 4:3,9


Father, I rejoice in Your love for me. You thought of me and so loved the idea of me that You created me. Each moment You are at work, loving me into existence. Thank You, Father, for accepting me as I am and for the special gifts I have received from You this day: e.g. the weather, a good book, a holy desire, a good laugh… etc.

2. PETITION the Holy Spirit to enlighten me to see myself as God sees me, in accord with His living Word.

Father, You know me better than I know myself. Please help me be aware of how You worked in and around me today. I wish to respond to Your call for me, with obedience and love. However, for me to follow Your will, I first need to know what it is. Please help me listen and hear the voice of Your Spirit in me that I may see how You see me.

3. REVIEW the day in God’s presence.

Jesus, be with me as I review the previous few hours since my last examen. Holy Spirit, guide me as I ponder Your ways in my life and my responses to the Word of God in my life. Help me recognize and embrace the unexpected ways You choose to renew my life with Your Presence.

1. How am I feeling right now? Why?
2. Is this leading me to God or away from God?
3. Where was God present to me today?
4. When did I participate in God’s presence in a distinct way today?
5. Was there a time when God seemed to be absent to me today? What was happening?
6. Was there a time when I missed God’s presence and acted in a manner contrary to His will?

4. CONTRITION with confident surrender

Father, thank You for Your care and guidance in the last few hours! I am sorry for the ways in which I was not sensitive to Your Spirit in me. I love You, Lord, and You know where and how I need healing and forgiveness. I surrender myself to You completely.

5. PRAYERFUL RESOLUTION, humbly asking for God’s presence and love.

Father, with hope I look to the future. You accept me the way I am and You allow me to grow. You give me time and grace, opportunity and space. I place the time between now and my next examen in Your hands. I ask You to make me more sensitive to Your Spirit in me. May my life between now and then be united to the life of Your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

“As I go forward with You, Lord,
please strengthen the quiet voice of my conscience,
Your own voice, in my life.
Look at me as You looked at Peter.
Let Your gaze penetrate my heart
and indicate the direction my life must take…
Grant me, ever anew, the grace of conversion.”

Adapted from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Way of the Cross, 2005