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Rediscovering the Prayer of Examen

Posted on November 2nd, 2009

About a month ago, a friend sent Geri and I a wonderful little book, Sleeping with Bread, by Dennis, Matt and Sheila Linn. I had read the book a number of years ago but God has used it to reignite the examen as an integral part of our daily lives once again. It has been wonderful. Yesterday, I ended my sermon on “Disorientation and the Plan of God” out of Isaiah 43 by leading our church through an examen. The handout is below. Check it out.

The Prayer of Examen

Nov. 1st, 2009. An adaptation by Pete Scazzero from “Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life”, by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn

 Introduction:  One of the ways God speaks to us is through our deepest feelings and yearnings, what Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) called “consolation” and “desolation.” Consolations are those experiences that fill us with joy, life, energy and peace. Desolations are those that drain us and feel like death. Consolations connect us with ourselves, others and God. Desolations disconnect us.  The questions below are one simple way of discovering the day’s consolation and desolation, that is, the interior movements of God through which He is speaking and leading.   We encourage you to use this powerful tool each day – perhaps before you go to bed, at a meal with others, as part of a Daily Office or Sabbath, or even on a holiday such as New Year’s or Christmas.     The Examen Take about two to three minutes of silence, becoming aware of God’s presence. As you do so, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. When did I feel most alive this week?
  2. When did I most feel life draining out of me?

Another way to ask the same question might be:

  1. For what moments this week am I most grateful?
  2. For what moments this week am I least grateful?

 End with prayer for grace to be more aware of God’s presence and leadings.  How have you used or found the examen helpful in your own life?

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