Today our challenge is to stop using the hosepipe and to take up the watering can. Yes you can!!
Hosepipes use 7 liters per minute and we tend to spread the water all around the plants rather than watering directly onto the plants.
Just as our plants need frequent watering, so do our souls. It is important to develop a daily prayer routine that works for you. One such helpful routine is the Prayer of Examen, developed by St Ignatius of Loyola 500 years ago.
Many Christians and many spiritual directors use this simple prayer exercise.
In our world of information and activity overload, I believe taking some moments for quiet reflection is critical to our spiritual life, regardless of our particular temperament or devotional preferences. This practice was developed specifically for followers of Jesus with busy lives rather than monastics with countless hours to spend with God. Not much has changed in the past 500 years in this regard…
And what is it exactly?
Questions. Not magic questions, but very good ones. They are intended to allow you to sit with God and think back over the day in some particular ways. You can do this purely by thinking/talking with God, or journaling your reflections. As with all prayer practices, remember this is a tool, not the goal. So don’t feel overly constricted by the specifics when it comes to how long you spend with this or trying to “answer every question.”
You will need
- a quiet place
- 10 minutes (or more!)
- These Examen questions
- a journal (optional)
How to do this
- Be still and become aware of God’s presence
- Review the day with gratitude
- When did I sense your presence the most in my day?
- When did your presence seem farthest away from me in my day?
- How were you loving me in my day?
- How were you loving me even when your presence seemed far away?
- How did I respond to your love in my day?
- Pay attention to your emotions
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it
- Look toward tomorrow.
You will probably feel that you can’t make the time to do this. But, DO THIS. The timing is what gets most people. Maybe try doing it in one of the following times:
- after you’re done working for the day, but before leaving work;
- stop somewhere between work and home for doing this;
- do as soon as you are able when getting home from work but before beginning your evening routine;
- first thing after dinner or putting kids to bed;
- or as a way to ending the day before bed.
If mindfulness or the thought of slowing down just for a moment in your day sounds appealing, you may love this. And if the mention of “sitting and thinking with God in silence” terrifies you, it just might be a helpful way to grow in your prayer life by giving it a go.
Not much has changed with Ignatian spirituality over the last 500 years, but there is one major change!!!
You can now get an app for free on Google play