How to Pray: The Examen

The Examen is a reflective prayer inspired by the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Usually prayed at night, the Examen can help us notice God’s presence throughout the day we just experienced. Praying the Examen regularly helps us build the practice of mindfulness throughout our days. When we get into the habit of looking back, we start to approach our days with the realization that we will be reflecting on them later. Doing this can open our eyes to where God is present and encourage us to be our best selves. 

Below is a basic outline of how to pray the Examen:

  1. Enter into prayer – Find a comfortable position. Begin with a few deep breaths to calm your heart and mind. Hand over the day to God, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see your day clearly.
  2. Thanksgiving – Begin with gratitude to God for the gifts in your life.
  3. Review – Now, walk through your day as though you are playing a movie in your mind. What stands out? In particular, are there any emotions, feelings, or reactions that stand out? What might God be telling you through your feelings? Did you experience any consolations – times or feelings that brought you energy and encouraged you closer to God? Or desolations – thoughts or experiences that drained you and turned you away from God or others?
  4. Respond – Talk with God about what stood out from your day, especially any desolations or consolations. Here, you might take some time to ask forgiveness for the times you weren’t at your best. You might continue to offer up more gratitude for the blessings that stood out. Whatever comes to mind, talk with God about it. 
  5. Look to tomorrow – When you’re ready, start thinking about tomorrow. What are you excited for? What are you nervous about? Visualize yourself walking through the day with God and ask for His help.
  6. Close – Spend a few more moments with God, listening for Him and finding peace in His presence. In Hallow, we close with an Our Father and the Sign of the Cross.

Join us in praying the Examen in Hallow – we have themed ones in the praylists, as well as a daily Examen. We hope to pray with you soon!