St. Ignatius’ “Examen” has been my daily prayer exercise for the past 9 months and has been a simple, yet life-changing approach to helping me notice the subtle movements and whispers of God in my life.
Here is how I make the exercise:
First, I take a few minutes to be still and quiet my mind and body. Once I feel at peace, I review my day; I play it back in my mind as though I was watching a movie: conversations, thoughts, difficult moments, people I’ve past on the street, songs I’ve sung along to, feelings of joy, frustration…all of it. I try not to edit anything out, no matter what it is. I want to bring my whole-self to this time. Once the scene has played out in my mind, I ask the following questions (sometimes I find it helpful to write them down, if I can):
1. Where did I notice God today?
2. Where did I fail to notice Him?
3. When did I feel at peace today?
4. When did I feel stressed?
5. Where did I show God’s love to someone?
6. Where did I not show God’s love?
7. How did I experience God’s love for me?
Then prayerfully reviewing these things, I ask God to reveal what He is inviting me to see, both about Him and myself. With thankfulness for the good moments and receiving His unlimited grace and love for the bad, I commit the previous and the following day to Him, asking for more awareness of His presence. This is my daily practice and it has become incredibly meaningful for me.
ps. If you find it hard to recall the entire day at once, try making this exercise twice a day- first on your lunch hour and then before bed.