Lent is a time of intentional spiritual formation in the way of Jesus. You are invited to use the prayer of examen, an ancient prayer that can help us listen to God’s voice in our daily lives. It is intended to be prayed at the end of the day. Here’s a guide:
The Prayer of Examen
Recall you are in the presence of God.
“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence…you are there.” Psalm 139:7,8
Stop and remember God’s presence around you and within you.
Look at your day with gratitude.
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14
This step is a reminder to pull our eyes off what is not to remember who is. You can spend as long as necessary, simply raising your eyes and hearts to the God who has blessed you beyond measure. Name at least five things for which you are grateful.
Ask for help from the Holy Spirit.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23
While this step may only take a minute, intentionally invite the Holy Spirit to guide this time. Depend on God to instruct, guide, correct, and speak to you.
Review your day.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalm 139:17
This will take the most time. Like you are watching a movie of your day, scene by scene, hour by hour reflect on the truth and reality of your day.
• What were the highs—what was most life-giving? When did I love?
• What were the lows—what was most life-depleting? When did I fail?
• When did I see evidence of God’s presence?
Remember to listen to the whispers of truth and love from the Spirit.
Reconcile and resolve.
“Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:24
Take some time to consider where you might need to reconcile with God or another person and resolve to make it right as quickly as possible. Ask for God’s help for tomorrow. End with the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.
(This version of the examen adapted from the Fuller Institute of Youth)