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THE EXAMEN

Reviewing your day for regeneration

Adapted from pages 108-109 of Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. Copyright (c) 2006 by Ruth Haley Barton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com


Preparation

Spend a few moments in stillness, allowing yourself to become aware of God’s unconditional loving presence. Hear God say to you, “I adore you.” Breathe it in deeply.


Review the day

Identify the major events of the 24 hours, including meals, appointments, interactions with others, spiritual practices, significant events at work and home, etc. Invite God to go with you in your search of evidence of his presence throughout your day and also in your search for self-knowledge. Reflect on each of the events as if they have been recorded on video. Here are some guiding considerations:


  • Print the journaling pages to use with this practice.

  • As you reflect on the important events of the day, journal the thoughts and feelings that you experienced during the events. Our thoughts are the most important thing about us, and they may often be left unexamined. Our feelings can alert us to beliefs that cause our suffering. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

  • Walking through your day in your mind and record the events in your journal or journaling pages.  Note areas for thanks, confession, and asking God for help, no matter how large or small.

  • When you are done, reflect and journal through the suggestions below.


Giving Thanks


  • Reflect on the parts of your day that you are thankful for.

  • Thank God for each part of your day, for his presence with you in the midst of it, for those moments when you sensed a growing freedom from sin and a greater capacity to love God and others.

  • Allow yourself to experience gratitude for God’s presence with you, even in places that feel dark or confusing.

  • Soak in thankfulness. Journal a prayer of gratitude.


Confessing


  • Invite God to bring to mind attitudes, actions, or moments when you were not living in the character of Christ.

  • As you reflect on your confessions, this is not a time to beat yourself up or linger in shame, but to invite God’s healing and new direction for the future. Confess to him, “Jesus, I need your help with these things. I confess that I have…”

  • Welcome any difficult emotions you have about your confessions.  Consider the Welcoming Prayer.

  • Prayerfully consider what might enable you to respond differently in the future.

  • Be assured of and breathe in God’s forgiveness and his power to continue leading you into the transformation you desire. If you are finding it difficult to acknowledge forgiveness, consider reading Psalm 32.

  • What do you believe God may be asking you to do to make things right relative to the situations you have confessed? 

  • If there are actions you need to take, take a moment to write yourself follow up reminders.


Asking God for Help

  • In those areas that you have asked for God’s help, allow your mind to intentionally release your desire to control your life and to release your fears and uncertainties about the future.

  • Journal or put to words your trust in God to arrange your life and to help you with the things you are asking for.

  • Praise him for what he will do, however he chooses to answer your requests for help.


"Brother Lawrence was aware of his sins and was not at all surprised by them. 'That is my nature,' he would say, 'the only thing I know how to do.' He simply confessed his sins to God, without pleading with Him or making excuses. After this, he was able to peacefully resume his regular activity of love and adoration. If Brother Lawrence didn’t sin, he thanked God for it, because only God’s grace could keep him from sinning. (From The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. 1982, pp. 16-17. By permission of Whitaker House.)


Note: This is a great daily practice – you can even work on the journaling of your events progressively throughout the day and journal through the reflection suggestions at the end of the day. It is also powerful to revisit tomorrow what you noted today, noticing and praising what God is doing in your life. Look at how he may be already helping you on the things you have asked for help with.