Prayer of Examen


Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way

Psalm 139:23-24

Over the centuries, Christians have practiced the Prayer of Examen as a way of intentionally noticing the places where they have been aware of God’s presence and activity, as well as the places where they may have resisted Him or ignored His presence.

The Examen involves setting aside a few minutes each day to review the past day and prayerfully listen to the Spirit of God as you pose the two questions above: where was I aware of God’s presence and where did I resist God.

There are many ways of framing those two questions. For example,

1. For what moment today am I most grateful? For what moment today am I least grateful?

2. Where was I aware of living out of the fruit of the Spirit? Where was there an absence of the fruit of the Spirit?

3. What has been good today? What has been hard?

I tend to pray the Examen at the end of my day as a helpful way of “keeping short accounts” with God. As the Holy Spirit guides my thoughts, I am reminded of God’s presence with me throughout the day and gentle the gentle convictions of the Holy Spirit are an invitation to accept God’s grace and resolve to start fresh in the morning.