What is the Prayer of Examen?

The Prayer of Examen is an ancient prayer practice created by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

To help us become more present and disciplined to the experience of God in everyday living, and to encourage us to live more consciously in and of the presence of God in our daily lives, Ignatius gifted us with what he called “the most important prayer” that we could do, the daily Examination of Consciousness or the daily Examen. In the Examen, we have an opportunity to spend a few moments reviewing our day, paying special attention to the moments we most felt God’s presence with us, and conversely, becoming aware of the times when we felt separated from God. The Examen further invites us to practice living in gratitude as we are asked to remember those people, situations and events in our day for which we are most grateful, and also to ask special blessing and prayer for those hopes and concerns in our hearts. Lastly, the Examen reminds us that each day we may ask forgiveness for any and all transgressions in which we feel we did not follow the best path that God offers to us in our words, thoughts or deeds. By recognizing our need for forgiveness and God’s desire to forgive us through this daily examination of consciousness, the power and freedom of living in ongoing redemption becomes possible. Our spiritual path becomes a dynamic experience of conscious living based on our relationship with God. (https://www.marquette.edu/faith/examen-of-consciousness.php)

How To Pray the Examen

The examen, or examination of conscience, is a quick prayer to help you see where God was active in your day. Usually done for 15 to 20 minutes at the end of a day, the prayer was popularized by St. Ignatius Loyola in his classic text The Spiritual Exercises. Use these five easy steps to pray the examen every day, and soon you’ll begin to notice God’s presence more easily.

1. Presence: Remember that you’re in the presence of God in a special way when you pray. Ask God for help in prayer.

2. Gratitude: Recall two or three things that happened today for which you are especially grateful. Savor them. Then thank God for these gifts.

3. Review: Review you day from start to finish, noticing where you experienced God’s presence. Notice everything from large to small: from an enjoyable interaction with a friend to the feel of the sun on your face. When did you love? When were you loved?

4. Sorrow: You may have sinned today or done something you regret. Express your sorrow to God and ask for forgiveness. If it’s a grave sin, pray about seeking forgiveness from the person offended, or the sacrament of reconciliation.

5. Grace: You may want to return to a meaningful part of your prayer and speak to God about how you felt. At the close of the prayer, ask for God’s grace for the following day.

The above is take from James Martin, S.J.