THE IGNATIAN EXAMEN
A contemplative prayer practice.
The Examen is a popular way of praying developed by Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), who suggests it as a daily practice.
Making time for prayer allows us to feel more fully God’s presence in our lives.
The Examen takes about 15 minutes, and consists of five simple steps:
1 Recall with thanksgiving
Begin to look at your day briefly.
Allow your mind to wander and
notice where there are things to be
thankful for. Take special care to
notice what you have received and
what you gave. Thank God for all of
2 Request help from God
Ask for the help of God’s Holy
Spirit. Do not judge what comes to
you. It is a gentle look with the Lord
at how you have responded to God’s
3 Review your day
This is the longest of the steps.
Review more carefully the events of
Ask God to show you where he has
been present in your day, either in
you or in others, and what he has
been asking of you. How do you feel
about this? Do you feel pain or joy,
anxiety or peace?
When did you fail? When did you
succeed? In what general direction
do you think you are being drawn
by God? Are you moving towards
God’s plan or away from it?
Are there any things you feel did
not go so well, or where you let
yourself or others down, or that you
are otherwise unhappy with?
Maybe there is something that
happened that hurt you—now is the
time to ask for healing and to be
Remember all the good things, and
thank God for being with you when
you avoided a wrong choice or
resisted an old temptation.
Feel the sorrow in your heart when
you apologise, but also the
gratitude when you give thanks for
God’s gentle work inside your
What are your needs for tomorrow?
For example, is there something
you need to overcome?
What will you need to live the next
day well, maybe patience, wisdom,
fortitude, self-knowledge, peace,
Ask for God’s help and guidance,
for insight for the coming day.
Look forward with hope to what
will come tomorrow.