How Busy Persons Find God in All Things - in less than 15 minutes
I pray in gratitude for all the gifts that I have received as I glance back at the experiences of the past twenty-four hours, and allow a spontaneous conversation to develop with God who was and is present.
I pray for enlightenment so that the Spirit will help me see myself honestly, as I review both my actions and my heart's involvement in them.
I survey the period since last engaging in reflective prayer, paying special attention to the more intense feelings, moods, thoughts, and desires that surface, as a way of getting a sense of what is going on in my life.
I pray for healing in my heart for any of the ways that I have not lived up to the requirements of love in my relationship with God, myself, and others.
I ask for help to live with renewed hope and increased love of God and others, considering briefly the immediate future, and paying attention to the feelings that spontaneously arise.
The brief reflective prayer called the Awareness Examen was designed by Ignatius of Loyola to help foster intimacy with self and with God. Self-intimacy comes when we become more aware of our inner life of thoughts and feelings, hopes and desires, fears and frustrations. Intimacy with God comes when we are able to recognize how God is present and active in the whirl of events that make up each day.
We carve out a few moments of solitude in the day so that we can reflect on what is going on and where our actions and choices are taking us. We look concretely at events and ask: Where is God in this situation? Any one of the five parts that make up the structure of the awareness examen might occupy the majority of our time and attention. (Spiritual Exercises, no. 43).
Pray in gratitude for all the gifts that we have received. With a grateful heart, we glance back at the experiences of the past twenty-four hours and thank God for every gift we can recall.
Pray for enlightenment so that the Spirit will help us see ourselves more clearly, freed from defensiveness and blind spots. We are praying for a Spirit-guided insight into our actions and our hearts.
Survey the period since last engaging in reflective prayer, paying attention to our feelings, moods, thoughts, and desires as a way of getting a sense of what is going on in our lives. Usually, our feelings—whether painful or pleasant, negative or positive—are the best indicators of what is happening in our lives and where we need to listen to the voice of God. As we attend to the more intense feelings that surface, we ask ourselves: What is the nudging of God in this experience? We try to let our prayer be a spontaneous conversation with God about what we notice in our day.
Pray for forgiveness for the ways we have not lived up to the requirements of love in our relationship to God, ourselves, and others. The goal here is to glean the lessons of love embedded in yesterday's experiences, so to be better able to love in the present.
Ask God's help to live with renewed hope and increased love of God and others. As we let our minds consider briefly the immediate future, we pay attention to the feelings that spontaneously arise and share them with God in prayer, like one friend speaking with another.
At midday or before bed, the awareness examen serves as a prayerful pause of ten to fifteen minutes to remind us that God is intimately present with love and support all the days of our lives.