The Prayer of Self Examen
The word, “exam,” is likely not a favorite word for many of us. We think of a big test in school. We think of a check-up with a physician. We think of someone looking closely at details that can impact our lives. While exams may not always feel good, or we may dread their outcomes, they are good for us. They make us wiser, inviting us to pay attention to details we easily ignore. At the end of an exam, we often experience relief.
The prayer of self examen can also bring fear and trembling. St. Iganatius of Loyola introduced this type of prayer in his Spiritual Exercises as a way of coming before God and reflecting on the day’s events. Offered at the end of the day, prayers of self examen invite the Holy Spirit to show us moments of thanksgiving as well as moments we might have handled differently. The prayer ends with surrendering all of the day to God with an eye towards a better tomorrow.
This past Sunday, our passage from James was an excellent model for a modern prayer of self examen. The Holy Spirit invites us to look within for the source of our actions, words, and decisions. More importantly, the passage offers us a prayer of hope to take into tomorrow.
Would you set aside at least one evening this week to offer this prayer? And perhaps offer it at noon time on another day? Pause in silence between each sentence to sit quietly before the Lord. Listen for his voice…
Almighty God, I submit myself to you. I resist the devil, who flees from me. I come near to you, and I thank you for coming near to me. Reveal to me the source of any conflicts today. Show me any cravings in my own life. I desire wisdom from above: wisdom that is pure, peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. May I rise into a new day as a peacemaker, who sows seeds of justice with my peaceful acts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Based on James 3:17-18, 4:1, 7-8a)
all good things to each of you,
Lectionary Texts for Sunday, September 30, 2018
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Don’t forget we will September 30 will be Youth Sunday. We will have one worship service at 11AM.