Prayer of Examen
originally published at https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/prayer-of-examen/
+ The Prayer of Examen is a spiritual practice of reviewing the day to retune ourselves to the sacred in ordinary life. Usually lasting 15–20 minutes and done in the evening, the prayer prompts us to remember God’s presence, express gratitude, reflect on the day, and prepare for the day to come. The video above uses contemplative imagery captured from daily life with our coworkers to show how the prayer’s application is both organic and accessible. We encourage you to watch slowly and prayerfully, using this video and prompts below as an opportunity to practice this ancient prayer in your own life.
Note: All footage for these videos is original to FULLER studio and was filmed in Southern California. Video, audio, and text versions are available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese. Click above and learn more in the credits below.
Ask God for Light
Stop, breathe deeply, and know that you are in God’s presence. God has been with you since the beginning of your day, in every detail. As you prepare to look back on your day, ask the Holy Spirit to shine the light that will clear your vision—so you might see what God wants you to see. In the words of Psalm 139, verses 7 and 8: “Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!”
Every moment in your day is a gift from God. Be thankful for all of it, even the smallest things: a patch of blue sky, the music in your headphones, a smile from a stranger. Allow gratitude to draw you into the fullness of your life. The first two verses of Psalm 9 declare: “I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will talk about all your wonderful acts.I will celebrate and rejoice in you; I will sing praises to your name, Most High.”
Review the Day
Think back over your day: who you were with, where you were, what you did—however ordinary. Recall the sights, sounds, smells, conversations, thoughts, and feelings you experienced. What enlivened you? What discouraged you? Give your attention to those moments, and offer them to God. Psalm 139, verses 1 through 3, says: “Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways.”
Face Your Shortcomings
As you consider your day, reflect honestly on the moments you felt out of tune with God—something you said, a missed opportunity, some way you wish you had acted differently. For what do you need forgiveness? Do you need to make things right with someone else? Look at your shortcomings, and allow God to heal them. In the words of Psalm 51, verses 10 through 12: “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.”
Look Toward the Day to Come
As you end your day, look to tomorrow. What are you looking forward to, and what concerns you? Ask for God’s help in the future: to open your eyes, your ears, and your heart to see where God is working. Remember that God will again be present tomorrow—in all things large and small—guiding you toward fullness in your life. As you conclude the Prayer of Examen, remember this promise from verses 1, 2, and 8 of Psalm 121: “I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. The Lord will protect you on your journeys—whether going or coming—from now until forever from now.”