Examen for the Year: To See as God Sees
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Walnut Creek, CA, USA
Hear, O my people of the church, I am Jesus Christ of whom you have sung and testified and in whose name you pray. I am the spirit of love and peace which is in the world and yet not known by the world. I have heard your prayers which have been raised to me without ceasing, and I have sent my healing ministry as a dove to be in your midst. Therefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice in the promises which have been given for your assurance. Have I not said it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom? -Doctrine and Covenants 157:11-12
As the year draws to a close, we pause to consider how we have spent these days. What has been shaping us? Where have we shared our valuable time? What has consumed our energy and focus? Who are we becoming?
The prayer of examen invites us to into sacred review by searching our memories and seeking God’s presence in all things. Nothing is too insignificant to bring into prayer. Whatever surfaces is the perfect material, whether the thoughts I had while doing the dishes or a major event in a relationship. Over the next several days, we will pray each part of this ancient prayer together. The movements of the prayer are to pray for light, offer gratitude, review our memories, confess and reconcile, and discern response for the future.
We begin by praying for light to see as God sees. We review the year with gentle honesty, facing what must be faced through the lens of unconditional love and grace. In the joy of good memories and meaningful relationships we desire to see where God has been at work. In what we would rather discard or avoid, we trust we can find God’s presence and invitation. This is at the heart of seeking God in all things.
The prayer of examen reminds us of the Psalmist’s proclamation, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). I find peace in knowing there is nothing I can or need to hide from God. This is the type of seeing I pray for as I begin the examen. Even in the shadowed corners of despair or regret, the Spirit’s presence illumines what needs to be seen in order to experience wholeness.
It takes practice to see this way. We are so conditioned to believe our value is based on our achievements. Yet, in every moment, however we are, God’s grace is expansive beyond our imagination. As the years march on, we begin to discover how a deepening happens in us when we experience the fullness of life in all its varied textures. This prayer is a light we carry into those cavernous places within us that we’d otherwise leave in the dark. We gasp in awe at how, even there, God’s presence and love are shining forth. What will you discover as you pray this prayer?
Spend time in silence imagining God’s gaze upon you in this moment and as you consider your life over the past year: How does God see you? How does God desire for you to see yourself?
“God within, God around. In all creation, God is found” (Randall Pratt, Community of Christ Sings 20).
Prayer of Examen
Journal your responses to the questions above or spend time reflecting in silence.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.