Welcome to Lent Online! Each Tuesday afternoon you will find a new Lenten Devotion posted here. Together we will explore a different prayer practice each week. We invite you to make use of it when and where your schedule permits…spread it out through the week, select one day to make time to experience the entire devotion, or even repeat it several times as you desire.
–Your Lent Online partners,
Rev. Jennifer Barchi, Rev. Ron Hankins, Rev. Deborah McEachran
“Every prayer-filled day sees a meeting with the God who comes.” —Carlo Coretto
Put aside any concerns about work or home. Turn off the electronics. Find a quiet, comfortable place to be. Agree with God that you will spend at least minutes together.
In preparation for today’s prayer practice, get out paper and pen. Along the left side of your paper, make a general outline of your activities over the previous 24 hours, working backward from now, i.e. 6-8 pm prepare and eat dinner, 5-6 pm commute from work, 9-6 pm work day, etc.….
We will be trying the practice of Examen as used by St. Ignatius of Loyola (died in 1556). It is an examination of our day past that is prayer. It is going through our day with God. You may want to go through the Examen in silence, or you may enjoy having some gentle background music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlriHXLcCbI Click on the link to listen as you pray.
There are a variety of versions of the Examen, but here is a simple one:
1. Sit in silence for a few moments, asking God to help you pay attention to how God might be speaking to you through this prayer practice.
2. Give thanks to God for the gifts received over the past 24 hours. Take a few minutes to jot down some of those gifts (either experiences, tangible gifts, words or other— whether small or big) for which you are thankful. Jot them down alongside the outline of your day at the appropriate spots. [Note: even if it has been a very rough day, there is some way that God has been good to you.]
3. Confess. Ask God to show you the places during the past day where you have not thought or acted or spoken in line with God’s will, times when you know you have strayed and need forgiveness. Note on your day’s outline when those times occurred.
4. Pay attention to the emotions you felt throughout the past day. Jot down times when you experienced joy, anger, sadness, frustration, boredom, excitement, etc.
5. Select one feature of the day to pray. Circle it. Start with that event/encounter/feeling and have a conversation with God about it. Write your conversation down or keep it inside.
6. Think about tomorrow. What do you want to lift up to God about your hopes, plans, dreams for tomorrow? Jot them down. If you try the examen tomorrow, you can refer back to these notes as you begin to review the day with God.
“Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:10,11
Challenge: Find someone to tell about your experience with the Examen. Did you experience a different way of connecting with God as you and God reviewed the day together? Does it impact the way you look at tomorrow?