Ways to Pray | The Examen

“In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray.” – St. Faustina

Over the next three weeks, we will be bringing you a blog series on different methods of prayer. There are so many different ways to pray, and God delights in encountering you in the loving relationship of prayer. If you’re not sure where to start or you’d like to approach God through a new method of prayer, we invite you to follow along with our series to learn about the examen, lectio divina, and Ignatian contemplation.

We’ll begin today by looking at the examen, a method of prayer that St. Ignatius of Loyola describes in his Spiritual Exercises. Though its name can be misleading, the examen is not simply an examination of conscience and account of all the areas in which you have sinned. Rather, it is a prayerful recounting of the events of the day to identify where God moved in your life, where he led you, and how you responded. The examen centers on the beautiful truth that Jesus is alive and constantly moving in our hearts. This prayer allows us to see the very real and personal ways in which this is true in our lives, every single day.

There are five steps to pray the examen (courtesy of IgnatianSpirituality.com):

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

If you have never prayed the examen before, or you have fallen out of the habit, try it again today. God is truly alive and is present at every moment of your day, even in the most ordinary and routine. Pay attention to his movements and start to look for those places where he is inviting you to be most fully yourself. He is overjoyed every time you say yes.


Ways to Pray | The Examen