Tonight I attended a healing prayer service at our episcopal parish and was reminded by our rector of the daily examen prayer.
Have you heard of the daily examen prayer before?
This is a daily prayer first introduced by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 1500s, who said he considered this daily practice to be the most vital spiritual discipline anyone can incorporate into their daily life. He found the benefits of practicing it too rich to miss for even one day.
What is the daily examen prayer, you ask?
It is a time set aside at the end of each day to prayerfully review the day you’ve just finished and consider how God has been present in it.
For example, when I sat and prayerfully reviewed my day today for God’s presence, these are some of the things that emerged in my awareness:
- The gift of an extended coffee date with one of my dearest friends
- A conflict with Kirk that ended in our renewed commitment to each other and our life together
- A couple kind e-mails
- The opportunity to meet with my spiritual director
- The smell of rain
- The granting of an unusual request I made of someone recently
- The joy-filled smile of an elderly woman at church tonight
- A spontaneous opportunity to capture a photograph of some beautiful velvety flowers
- The way Diva (my little girl kitty) sits with me at my desk while I work
These are large or little graces that communicated God’s presence and care toward me today.
What kind of things would be on your list today?
When I began practicing the daily examen a few years ago, I found that it increased my sense of gratitude at least ten-fold. I became aware of God’s goodness and presence in my daily life in ways I never would have realized otherwise. It led to an increased sense of well-being and joy because I grew in my trust that God was present and actively working in the nitty-gritty details and tiny moments of my life.
That God would care and attend to my daily realities as much as I came to realize he does really floored me.
These days, I typically practice a different daily examen prayer of sorts at the end of each day by listening to a podcast called Pray as You Go. I’ve mentioned this podcast here before, but it’s a 10-15 minute daily recording that includes a different Scripture reading each day with personal reflection questions and beautiful sacred music that promotes reflection and reverence. I love it.
Today I encourage you to practice the daily examen by prayerfully considering your day and then asking: where has God been present to you in this day?