One of the many reasons why we worship communally is to establish formative habits within worship that will shape us into better Christians in the dailyness of our lives. The way we enact our devotion collectively informs the way in which we worship privately. That is why the content, rituals, songs, ru- brics, and style in worship services are so important to how we are formed as Christ-followers.
Many people struggle with incorporating confession into daily life. On Sunday mornings we confess our sin together and in the silence, but it can be easy to hide behind other people’s prayers and not take ownership for what we are saying to God and to one another. When we confess to God privately it is deeply intimate because we uncover habits that make us un- comfortable to look at for any extended time.
One form of prayer I use is called the Daily Examen. This way of praying has been around for a long time. St Ignatius (a 15th Century Christian) described this way of praying in his Spiritual Exercises. Put simply, this practice allows us to listen to God, review the events of the day, ask for necessary graces, and look forward with hope to tomorrow. I love this prayer form because it put our prayers of confession into action. In using the Daily Examen, we stare our short-fallings down without judgment or shame and imagine how those sins could be transformed by God’s grace and allows ourselves to think of better ways of handling ourselves in the future.
I recommend that you work up to doing this midday and in the evening. But maybe you start by praying it at the close of the day so it fits into your schedule more easily. I usually allow 10- 15 minutes for this prayer to allow myself time to sit with God and become attentive to the Divine Presence within me. Be- low are the 5 steps of the Daily Examen I use. If you have any questions about it I would love to chat with you about it. Blessings on your time with God.
The Daily Examen:
- I quiet my mind and my heart for prayer. I believe God’s presence is with me...
- I offer gratitude to God for the blessings of the day and begin by savoring my gifts.
- I review the events of the day noticing the feelings that surface: my hopes, fears, regrets, joys, and sorrows.I pray from the feelings that surface: talking to God as a friend, listening with my heart for God's response of love.
- I look forward in hope, asking for the grace to better serve God.