THEME: KNOW YOURSELF THAT YOU MAY KNOW GOD
BREATH PRAYER: SPIRIT, HELP ME KNOW MY SHADOW, SO THAT I CAN LAY IT DOWN
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. (Philipians 1:6)
Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.
PRAYER OF EXAMEN
On Sunday we discussed how emotions are like “check engine lights that help us know when God needs to heal something deep within.” One of the keys to spiritual and emotional health is to regularly review these “check engine lights” and to take them to God. We can use the Prayer of Examen to facilitate this process.
The Prayer of Examen is an ancient practice for reviewing a certain amount of time, usually the past 24 hours or less. In this prayer, we express gratitude for the gifts of God, notice particularly strong emotions, and examine other experiences or feelings God causes to stick in our minds. When we reflect on the past, we can often recognize God’s guidance and teaching even more than we do in the moment. Use the following guideline to pray through the Prayer of Examen:
- Begin with a moment of silence and stillness, simply asking God to help you review the past 24 hours with you Ask God to reveal your day from His perspective rather than your own.
- Begin reviewing the events of the past 24 hours, as though you were watching a movie of your life. As you do this, look for the most life-giving experience of the last 24 hours. What emotion(s) did you experience as a result of this event? In your journal, write down a brief statement about this life-giving experience, and thank God for this gift He has generously given to you.
- Thinking back over your day, ask God to reveal the most life-sapping experience of the last 24 hours. In your journal, write down the emotion or emotions that you felt during this time and know that they may be “check engine lights,” indicators of something that God wants to heal in you. Ask God if these emotions might be pointing to something deeper that He would like to forgive, heal, or discuss with you.
- Consider the day ahead of you. Think through your schedule, and as you do notice any items that cause you joy or anxiety. Bring those items to the Lord in prayer, and ask Him to help you walk through this day with confidence and peace.
Digging Deeper … On Sunday, we discussed how Jesus consistently avoided the temptation to be anyone other than His true self. Reflect on the emotions that you listed from the life-sapping part of your day. Were any of these emotions indicative of you living a life that is not your own? Take this question to God and ask Him to identify any “false selves” that may have been revealed by these emotions. Bring these “false selves” into the light by listing them and then talking through them with a trusted friend.
- Summary: Write a brief summary (five sentences or less) of what God showed you during your time of Examen.
- Closing: Thank God for His love and tenderness as He constantly forms you into His image. Spirit, help me know my shadow, so that I can lay it down.