As 2011 has kicked off, I’ve been evaluating my life and what I want to do for this year. I’d already been thinking about this for a few days when I was in church on January 2. My pastor Dave Rodriguez introduced a type of praying that was perfect for the mindset I was in. It’s called the Prayer of Examen. Richard Foster has a chapter on this type of prayer in his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.
Basically, the Prayer of Examen is an inward spiritual practice, where we analyze what is going on inside of ourselves. It has two components:
1. The first is where we examine how God was working in or through us throughout our day and how we responded to Him, and
2. We examine our conscience to see where we need to be cleansed, purified and healed. See Psalm 26:2,3.
So, as I was in church, Pastor Rod suggested we all go through the Prayer of Examen in the context of looking over the past year of 2010. Here are the questions he suggested we answer.
1. Looking over the past year, for what am I most grateful or thankful?
2. When or where in the past year were you cooperating most fully with God’s action in your life?
3. When were you resisting?
4. Beginning today, how do you want to live your life differently?
Take some time to prayerfully answer these questions. What do you want 2011 to look like for you?
While my church did this in the context of one year, many people pray the Prayer of Examen on a daily basis. You can ask yourself these same questions using the last 24 hours as your context. Here are some ways it may help you to do this on a daily basis, or at least semi-regularly.
Perhaps you take a walk every evening; you could answer these questions as you’re walking. Or maybe you like to journal, and you can journal your answers. Perhaps you want to mentally run through the prayer as you’re lying in bed at night.
Whatever way you decide, incorporating the Prayer of Examen into your life may help you to grow spiritually as you invite the Lord to help you analyze your heart.
|Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
By Richard Foster / HarperOne