All of us are created with a capacity to know God's continuous activity in our lives, although let's be quick to add, overcoming the challenges to do so can be rather daunting. Our every day, ordinary lives tend to be over packed.
Romans 12:1-2 from 'The Message' provides us with an important directive.
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
Lets consider one way of placing our everyday, ordinary life before God as an offering. For nearly 500 years, people of prayer have discovered that the prayer practice known as "the prayer of examen" provides a way of doing so. This prayer practice cultivates a deepening awareness of how God is working in and through our everyday lives.
This grace-filled prayer practice will lead you through a reflection of your day. You will capture moments of thanksgiving and beauty. You will learn to notice those moments of God's activity in your life. You will also develop a deeper awareness of God's desire to provide you with what is most important as you move forward from this day, step by step.
Before detailing this prayer practice let me leave you with this. The focus of the Examen prayer is to provide you with a means to experience deeper contentment with who you truly are in the midst of your very real day to day life. This is a journey towards seeing yourself as God sees you. May you experience His delight in you.
To practice the Examen Prayer, begin by placing 1 or 2 minutes between each of these progressive prayer movements. You will naturally adjust the length of those spaces when you become more familiar with the flow of movements through this prayer. Be sure to experiment with both length and frequency. Sometimes I will only take 5 minutes total at various points of the day. Other times I will linger for 30 minutes or more, especially if I am reflecting over the entire week, which I often do on my weekly Sabbath.
Begin with silence. Let's not race ahead of Jesus here. Lets become aware of His presence and promise to walk with us through the details of our everyday lives.
After some silence ask Jesus to help bring to mind those details of the day that carry beauty and truth. They may be big or small, but they are moments that make us feel grateful. Let your day unfold before you in this way over the next few minutes.
Now, review your day again and pay attention to the emotions you experienced at different points of that day. The emotions that made you feel fully alive. Choose one of those moments and prayerfully relive the experience with Jesus.
When you are ready, move through your day again. This time notice the emotions that weren't so pleasant. The emotions connected to events where you were not your best self. With bold honesty, present the details to Jesus and receive the healing He brings to you.
After a bit of time ask the Holy Spirit to show you something from the day from which to pray spontaneously and then begin to do so.
Now, we come to the last part of the prayer of examen. Begin to look at tomorrow and notice what is coming up and notice how you feel as you consider what is known. From here begin to ask the Lord for what you need from Him so as to anticipate the coming day with hope.
I have included an audio where I guide you through these movements. You may find this helpful to experience the progression through this prayer exercise.