Praying the Examen - Part 2

Praying the Examen - Part 2
Photo by Reign Abarintos / Unsplash

Step 2: Thankfulness

The previous step of prayer was simply to connect with — experience — God’s ever-present nearness.

Now that we are experiencing God presently with us, we can hijack humanity’s typical problem solving go-to.

A survival skill of humans is to see what is going wrong and work to fix it. Thus, our knee jerk reaction can be to hit on those issues up front. This makes sense, but it also poses a problem, it keeps our eyes on the negative — on the issues. When we get pulled into the problems, it can make it difficult to get focused on the good.

The Examen can interrupt this human tendency by first drawing us to the positive before we deal with the negative.

After we recenter to experience God’s near presence in step 1, we then reflect on all the good we have in our life.

We don’t just tick off a quick list of some good stuff we can identify.

Rather, we sit and savor with God what is good in our lives.

  • Do I have warm socks on my feet? Savor what that feels like to have socks — maybe wiggle your toes in them to add to the sensation.

  • Do I have a roof over my head? Savor what it feels like to know you get to sit under a roof when you get home.

  • Will I have a full belly when I need to eat? Savor what that security feels like to know you won’t starve.

  • Will I have a bed to collapse into at the end of my day? Savor what the knowledge of a mattress to end your day on means to you when so many others only have dirt or concrete.

These are some things we can consider that are the good things in our life — things we get to relish and re-experience with God before we move further into our prayer.

This week, after performing step 1 to connect with the nearness of God, I encourage you to add step 2, savor the good things in your life with God.