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One of my favorite forms of prayer, one that I learned in my studies for spiritual direction, is the Daily Examen, which St. Ignatius of Loyola described in his Spiritual Exercises. As he began writing the Exercises in a cave, Ignatius realized that he needed a tool or a method that would bring back into focus for him who he was, what was important to him, and what his priorities were. The result was the Daily Examen.
 
For me, writing is clarity, and so I journal my Examen daily. I have gone through dry periods or chosen other types of prayer, so I took a break, but I always return to the Examen as it has been a very rich prayer experience for me.
 
As a businessman brought up through sales and operations, and as a former business owner, I found the Examen an invaluable help in dealing with the pressures of balancing my faith and work lives. Between those pressures and being a single father and raising nine kids on my own, I had to have daily prayer time. Otherwise I couldn’t have done all that I did.
 
The Examen allowed for a daily time to thank God, look at my emotions and at how I drew closer to God daily, or fell away from him, and ahead look to the next day by asking God for what I needed. It was part of the recipe I used for a successful life.

Here are steps to the Examen:

  1. Become aware of God’s presence.
  2. Review the day with gratitude.
  3. Pay attention to your emotions.
  4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
  5. Look toward tomorrow.

 
The Daily Examen is the subject of one of the sessions in RENEW International’s faith-sharing book Balancing Faith & Work. This is a fantastic resource for people who are trying to live a faithful life while balancing all the other daily concerns. It can be very challenging to live a life of faith in today’s world.
 
This book can be used by individuals or, more powerfully, in a small group. If you have an existing small group and you are looking for a new resource, check this out. We can also help you start a small group or a small-group program in your parish with this resource and the others that RENEW offers.
 
Check out Balancing Faith & Work by clicking HERE.
 
Rich Vosler is a sales consultant at RENEW International. Contact him at 908 769 5400 x149 or [email protected]

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