The Daily Examen…

For several years I have been using the Daily Examen, a prayer made popular by St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit Order.

The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to identify God’s presence and discern his direction.  The Examen can help us see God’s hand at work in our life.

Here is the basic rhythm of the Prayer.  For starters, take about a minute for each movement of the prayer.  Try it and see what you think…

Invite the Holy Spirit (Presence). Remember that you are in the presence of God. Ask God for help in your prayer.      

     Review the day with thankfulness (Gratitude). Recall two or three things that happened today for which you are especially grateful.  Savor them. Thank God for these gifts.


     Replay the day. Focus on your feelings (Emotions). Where during your day did you experience God’s presence? When did you love? When were you loved? When did God’s presence seem most far away during the day?

     Choose 2 emotions (One positive; one painful). Talk to God about these and then listen. What positive emotion comes to mind? What painful emotion now comes to the surface? Did you sin? Do you need to perhaps seek forgiveness from someone you hurt?

     Look to tomorrow (Grace). What does God want you to do differently tomorrow?

This is not just something you can do at the end of your day, important as that is. You whole day can be a kind of prayer. During a break in your day, you might try to do the examen for just 2 minutes. … Sometimes my wife, Jennifer, and I will “shorten” the prayer at the end of a busy day by simply asking each other, “What was the best part of your day?”  and “What was the hardest part of your day?” or this way, “Where did you most feel God’s presence today?”  “Where did you least feel his presence in your day?”

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