The Prayer of Examen dates back to St. Ignatius of Loyola. It is a good form of prayer to follow upon the practice of Confession, in that it involves a daily review of the day's events to open ourselves to perceiving what God may speak to us, and for preparing ourselves for the day to follow. It is best practiced at the end of the day, perhaps as a preparation for lying down to sleep.
The progression of the prayer is as follows:
Center yourself in silence, similar to Centering Prayer. In this place of centered quiet, give thanks to God for all that you have received that day. Name the small blessings as well as the greater gifts. Reflect upon the unexpected places from which grace or joy has come. Express gratitude to God for them all.
Prepare to review the day by asking the Holy Spirit to be present in your remembering and reflection. Earnestly desire to be instructed by this Loving Presence as if you are a child coming to the most loving Parent you can imagine. Accept the assurance that God wants nothing but the best for you, and is ever ready to facilitate the spiritual growth of all who seek it.
Review your interactions from that day: What things were difficult? What puzzled you? What were your reactions? What might have you done differently? Ask for the Holy Spirit to use this as a time to teach your heart and mind Jesus' way of the Bigger Mind and Bigger Heart.
Ask forgiveness of God for any mistakes, harsh words, or behaviors still rooted in the dysfunctionalities and engagnglements of societies systems of domination and destruction. Receive the gracious assurance that, if your request for forgiveness is sincere, you are fully forgiven by God and can be empowered to behave and think differently.
Commit to rectify your mistakes and misspeaking the next day. Commit to making amends for wrongs or hurts you have inflicted, and seek to root out the cause for your mistakes and hurtful behavior. Choose positive and life-affirming actions with which to engage those around you. Offer these commitments and choices up to God and ask that the Holy Spirit prepare you for the next day.
Close the prayer in a moment of silence, just as in Centering Prayer, nestled in the presence of the eternal source and center of Love.
Relish the moments that went well and all of the gifts I have today.
Request the Spirit to lead me through my review of the day.
Review the day.
Repent of any mistakes or failures.
Resolve, in concrete ways, to live tomorrow well.
Scriptures for Reflection Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. —Psalm 103:2–5 NRSV
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. . . . Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? —Psalm 139:1–3, 7 NRSV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. —Psalm 51:10–12 NRSV