Ignatian Examen Prayer

What is the Examen Prayer?

The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern God’s direction for us. It is based on a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises (a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices to help people deepen their relationship with God).

When do I pray the Examen?

You can start with once a day; bedtime is often a good time. When possible also add lunch time.

How do I pray the Examen?

  1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on your day with the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you. Ask God to help you understand it and how to learn from it.
  2. Review the day with gratitude. Look for the good in the day, how God was present to you through people, places, and things. Pay attention to the small things, God is in the details, God is in all things.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions. What were your feelings this day? Happiness? Sadness? Boredom? Anger? Confidence? Frustration? What is God saying through these feelings?
  4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. Look at it. Pray about it.
  5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Seek God’s guidance, help, and understanding. Pray for hope.

St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins, protection, help, and wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face, all in the spirit of gratitude. Your life is a gift from God. End the Daily Examen with the Our Father.

Additional Resources:
Video presentation on The Examen
More information on The Examen from Loyola Press
Brochure in PDF format
Bookmark from the Jesuits
A 6-session Lunchtime Examen from Loyola Press