Let's Go To The Lord In Prayer
I attended a prayer and painting ladies morning out at church a while back. We spent some time talking about prayer. I have studied about prayer but the one thing I learned was about a daily examine. Not only did I take home a pretty prayer bowl I took home a new time to think about the goodness of God. A method of reviewing my day in the presence of God.
I have prayer time first thing in the morning and then chat with God throughout the day. By the time I lie down at night I fall right to sleep. I have enough time to thank Him for the day and ask Him to keep my family safe and give our minds and body rest. So this examine I have to do in my mind while I am still sitting up. Basically, I reflect on my day and where I see God in it. Over 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged the Daily Examen. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the days events to detect God's presence and to discern his direction for us. There are five steps that include asking God for light to look at the day through His eyes; give thanks for the gift of that day; review the day carefully and completely with the Holy Spirit; face your shortcomings and look toward tomorrow. Romans 8: 26-27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."
Some days are wonderful and peaceful and you see God all over it. Last night I had one of those days where I had to really examine what went on. Looking over the day it almost seemed a blur or a jumble. On those days we ask God to bring clarity and understanding to us. By spending 15 minutes in the evening brings new awareness to the day and God's will for me. Luke 5: 16, "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
I ask God to walk through the day with me so that I am in His presence. I start my mornings with gratitude but I have loved ending my day with deep gratitude. I go back over all the joys of the day. I try to list all of the gifts from that day. I think about all of the people He put in my path and how our interactions went. I try to remember the small things like the food I ate, the nature around me, the birds that sang on my walk, and other small pleasures that I take for granted. Those small pleasures are a gift from God!
When I started studying St. Ignatius I realized that I was to detect the presence of God in the movements of my emotions. What emotions did I experience that day? Joy, resentment, anger, boredom, compassion? What is God saying through these feelings. Often times I am shown where I fell short. When I am frustrated does God want me to consider a new direction in some area of my life? Am I worried about someone that I need to reach out to?
I am still working on the next part. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you a part of your day that God thinks is particularly important. It could be positive or negative. It could be a significant encounter or just a passing. It could be pleasure or peace. Look at it and pray about it. Pray about whatever is brought to your heart whether praise, repentance, gratitude or praying for someone else. 1 John 5: 14, " This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
The last part is asking God to be with you for tomorrow's challenges. Pay attention to your feelings that surface as you anticipate tomorrow. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Nervous? Excited? Let these feelings turn into prayer. Ask God to guide you and help you. Pray for hope. Philippians 4: 6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Because I "chat" with God throughout the day like I would anyone else I like that St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. Nothing formal. End your day like this. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Mark 11: 25, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Ask for His protection and help. Ask for His wisdom for tomorrow's questions and problems. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. End with the Lord's prayer. Matthew 6: 9, "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..."
Our life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. Set aside time for thankful reflection on where God is in your everyday life.