My parents raised me in church, but I got to know Jesus alone in my childhood room.
When I was in elementary school, my family went through a traumatic experience and it turned my world upside down. I would stay up at night and worry about everyone, everything. I would pray and ask for Jesus to “just make everything ok”. Jesus met me in those moments and did more than I knew to ask for.
My walk with Jesus has been marked with worry, peace, grief, miracles, attempts at being good, and repentance for being a sinner. In God’s goodness, He has met me every step of the way and continues to bring me back to his word that says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9).
My childhood prayers for my family to be ok didn’t work out the way I wanted. Things got worse before they got better, but I never walked through it alone after I invited the Lord in.
The longer I pursue Jesus (and, more importantly, recognize that he is recklessly pursuing me) the more I’m resting in the truth that my spirituality is less about what I should do and more about what He has done. I’m safer to feel, desire, make mistakes, and receive grace.
As I continue to invite practices in my life to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit the prayer of examen has been an incredible resource for me. This is a tool that has been passed on through tradition in the church and I would like to invite you to give it a try. See if this tool provides a way to experience your faith in a fresh way.
How to Pray the Examen
- Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you.
- Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life.
- Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time.
- Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away?
- Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific, and conclude with the “Our Father.”
Audra Mahoney, MA, is a licensed LPC associate with Living Wholehearted, LLC. She serves children, adolescents, couples, men and women.