“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” - Psalm 139:7-10
The next several weekly messages will be about different ways to pray. The first type of prayer I want to talk about is called The Examen. The Examen is an ancient prayer practice from St. Ignatius of Loyola that involves looking back at your day to notice God’s presence with you. This is a prayer practice that you do everyday in the evening or before bed.
You start by acknowledging God’s presence. Some people like to do that by lighting a candle. Others by finding a particular place to sit. However you become aware of God’s presence, do that. Then you think back on your day in the presence of God. If the day feels jumbled, ask God for clarity. Consider the events of the day with gratitude, from the big events to the smallest details. What were your joys and delights? Savor those moments.
As you consider the events of the day, pay attention to your emotions. Often, God communicates to us through our emotions. What emotions did you experience, positive or negative? What is God saying through those feelings? Sometimes we discern sins and faults, which are important to pay attention to. Other times our emotions may lead us to other insights. For example, a feeling of frustration may mean that God wants you to consider a new direction in some area of your life. Or concern about a friend may mean that God is guiding you to reach out to them. Notice what rises to the surface of your thoughts and lift that to God in prayer.
Finally, look ahead to tomorrow. Pray for God’s presence to guide you in the coming day. Notice how you feel about what’s coming. Pray about whatever comes to mind. Ask God for light and hope. Close your prayer time with the Lord’s Prayer. May God bless the time you spend in prayer.
Grace and peace,