This weekend we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. I thought it was a good time to return to one of my favorite prayer tools for Catholic professionals: the daily Examen.
Over the years I have had numerous discussions with Catholic businessmen and women around the country about making time for prayer and reflection during the busy work day. People have been interested in how I keep the Jesuit Daily Examen on my calendar, so I am sharing it here along with suggested times.
There are many ways to pray the Examen (you can find more about this prayer in Father Timothy Gallagher’s excellent book, The Examen Prayer), but I present below one way a busy professional can find time for it throughout their day.
The Examen is one of the most effective (and easiest) ways I know to have scheduled reflection and prayer throughout the day. Save it as an ongoing and daily occurrence on your computer/smartphone calendars and try following it faithfully (3-5 minutes for each one)…it will make a real difference in your life!
Daily Examen for Busy Business People
1. Thanksgiving – 6:45 am
Begin by relaxing into God’s presence in an attitude of thankfulness. Find one thing to be thankful for, even if you are having a tough time. Allow gratitude to take hold of you.
2. Pray for Insight – 10:15 am
Pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you need at this time. Consciously open yourself to God’s light.
3. Finding God in All Things – 1:15 pm
This is the heart of the prayer where you examine very concretely the events of the day.
- What happened since this morning?
- Who have you come in contact with?
- What occupies your thoughts today?
- How are you being drawn to God in your life today? Now?
- Where is God calling you specifically this day?
- Is it time to make a tough decision that will affect the lives of many people?
- Should I simply bask in gratefulness to God for my life, career in family?
This is not a time for searching for faults. Rather it is a chance to take a step back and recognize that God is active in the entirety of the day.
4. Petition – 5:30 pm
Express to God your desires. Again be specific and frame your prayer here in a petition: “Dear Lord, at this time I ask….for strength to…for courage to….for the resolve to…to be thankful for…”
5. Resolve for the Future – 9:00 pm
Finally, look to the future. “How shall I live the rest of the day?” “What shall I do?
Finish with a prayer, for example, the Our Father.