The Daily Examine
I thought about my ways and turned my feet toward your instruction.
- Psalm 119:50
Ignatius of Loyola, a key faith leader in the 16th century, formulated a simple spiritual practice called The Daily Examine as a way to help people pay attention to their lives and to be able to discern what God is up to in it. Basically it was a way to help Christians actually practice what the Bible talks about so many times, for example, in the verse above. Often prayed at the noon hour or just before bed, this can be a great tool to add to your tool chest this week as you seek to make small changes that have big impacts. Try praying the daily examine each night for a week!
Here’s a brief explanation of The Daily Examine found on the Ignatian website:
“The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.”
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
Pause, breathe deeply, and sit still for a moment.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
Replay the different events, conversations, and people from today.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
Be quietly curious about the good feelings and bad feelings, trying to be aware of whether you met God or missed God in those moments.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Perhaps say thank you. Perhaps say you’re sorry.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Bring to God the things you’re looking forward to and the things you dread.