Day two of our one-week commitment
to the ancient Prayer of Examen.
Recall that the Prayer of Examen is an ancient Christian spiritual practice to help you remember that in the past 24 hours God has been active and present in your life. On Monday, November 9, we provided a brief and basic introduction to the prayer's background and four steps. You might find it useful to review that introduction on your second day of using the prayer of examen.
TUESDAY: DIVING DEEP INTO THE WAYS OF JESUS
Sunday, in our worship, we were asked if we would "dive deep into the ways of Jesus." We have spent years diving into ways of thinking and living that are based on our national identity, family of origin, political persuasions, and so on. The point is not to disregard these formative influences. It is simply to recognize they have played a large role in forming us into the people we have become. Therefore, are we willing now to have our ideas and values and habits shaped and formed by the ways of Jesus?
STEP ONE: PRESENCE
- The best you can, turn down the distracting noise around you so you can turn up the power of reflection.
- Find a comfortable location. Settle into it.
- Be there in that relatively quiet and comfortable place and moment. Do not rush past this.
- Perhaps say a brief phrase from scripture to help center your attention on the presence of God. For example, "The Lord is near to all who call on him."
STEP TWO: GRATITUDE
- As your distractions subside and your focus increases, pray this prayer: "Gracious God, in these moments, please remind me of your goodness and generosity."
- Now that you are centered and focused, in what small and big ways was God active in your life in the past 24 hours?
- What were the circumstances and situations surrounding God's activity? What was happening in your life? What was going on in you and around you?
- Take a moment to write at least one of these moments in your journal.
- Take another moment to express your gratitude to God.
STEP THREE: REVIEW
- In the last 24 hours, what part did the ways of Jesus play in your attitude, habits, actions, etc.
- Where did you make a decision, or take a step, or say something, because of the ways of Jesus in the past 24 hours?
- Where did you resist cooperating with the ways of Jesus in the past 24 hours?
- As you think over the past 24 hours, is it more true that what you did--your practices and habits--was largely formed by the ways of Jesus or by something else?
STEP FOUR: RESPONSE
- Having spent some time remembering how the ways of Jesus shaped your last 24 hours, it is natural to respond. Take time to journal and pray.
- You might find it necessary to confess that your attitudes and values have been shaped more by your culture, family, political party, and less by Jesus.
- You might find it necessary to share a concern, or a confusion, about how to follow the ways of Jesus at work, in school, in your family, in your marriage when it appears that few others are.
- You might find it necessary to make a commitment to learn more about the ways of Jesus, reading a book such as 'The Jesus I Never Knew,' by Philip Yancey, or joining a group such as Faith Matters at Upper Room.
- What practices and habits and ways are you now going to change? Which are you going to continue living tomorrow?