Thanks Grayson for a thoughtful post. I would do well to
Most of us feel connected to God at some point throughout our lives. Whether it’s on Sunday morning, during a Bible study, or a hike in the mountains.
But what about the ordinariness of life? Do you sense God there too?
That’s a tough question. And if we’re honest, most of us would say no.
What if He is there, you just didn’t notice Him?
How do you know?
Someone recently asked me if I knew God was there. “Yes,” I replied. Their next question caught me less prepared. “How?”
How indeed. How do I know God is there with me, each and every day?
I answered by explaining the dramatic interior changes I’ve gone through since converting. I know because my son smiles at me when I get home from work. And I know because I find joy and love in my wife.
Maybe those were good answers. But they weren’t complete.
I wasn’t quite sure how I knew God was with me at work, in the shower, and as I drove to the store.
Then I read about the prayer of examen.
St. Ignatius and the Prayer
In Noticing God, Richard Peace’s new book about intentionally noticing God, he details St. Ignatius’ prayer of examen. This prayer was to be an examination of the conscience, something critical for seeing God in the ordinary events of life. In fact, Ignatius thought it so critical it was never to be neglected, even if all other forms of prayer were impossible.
“The prayer of examen is all about recollection: specifically, noticing what has been going on in your life during the previous day.”
Originally there were 5 steps, but Peace details a 3 step version he was taught.
The prayer of Examen
Here are the 3 steps, quoted from Peace’s book, with some of my paraphrasing to elaborate:
As I read it the first time, I followed along and went through the steps. And I must say, I was surprised by how refreshing and enlightening it was. I noticed God in the nooks and crannies of my day. His presence was clear with the day behind me and the lack of pressing circumstances.
I always thought the secret to noticing God would be something mystical, but it turns out it can be much more practical. And maybe this makes sense.
In the weeks to come, I look forward to trying it more. Maybe on my drive to work.
What about you?
Try it. Did it work for you? Have you prayed this prayer before?
CC Image • Michael Lokner