“As you review the morning, afternoon, and evening, notice moments of love and grace.”
Why is this faith practice important?
So many of us go to bed at night with the day racing through our minds. We need a way to both reflect and let go. A daily examen is one way to to this. By reviewing the day that has passed, and preparing for tomorrow with the expectation of God’s continued care, we create the habit of really turning our lives over to God.
Ignatius of Loyola called this practice a direct gift from God and included it in his Spiritual Exercises. This simple, structured prayer time is a means of noticing grace and love in all parts of our day, public and private. Over time, the examen can also assist us in discerning divine invitations – for example, the need to repent, or respond in new ways to God’s call.
What materials are needed for this practice?
• A quiet, uninterrupted space.
• Optional: a guided examen (available on video and podcast). This is especially helpful when getting started.
How to do it
Invite God: Find a private space, and get comfortable. Invite God to guide you in remembering your day. Whatever your day has held, know that God’s love attends you as you look back.
Notice the gifts: As you review the morning, afternoon, and evening, notice moments of love and grace. Give thanks for the many gifts that you received, as well as the gifts that you shared. These don’t have to be big, dramatic gifts – you may notice simple moments that feel peaceful, joyous, or comforting.
Notice the sins: Reflect on the times throughout the day when you made choices you regret, or sinned by things ‘left undone.’
Look to tomorrow: Ask for more of God’s light in the following day. Pray for God’s help in making different choices tomorrow. End your time by giving thanks for God’s presence throughout the examen practice that you just completed.
Resources for this Practice
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This webpage offers a wealth of resources on learning more about Ignatian spirituality, as well as practical articles and guides.
Narrated Daily Examens. Pray as You Go, a well known podcast, offers free streaming audio files, which walk you through an examen process, set to music. There are several options, including a version for children, and one for young adults.
Discover More Activities Like This
Review Your Day with God is part of the Home Practices series on Building Faith. Click below for a free PDF of this activity. Check out Home Practices to find more activities for households of all types and sizes.
Di McCullough is a trained spiritual director and healthcare chaplain, and is currently working as a totally untrained parent of a preschooler. She lives with her husband and son in Columbus, Ohio.
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