7 days 'til Launch: A Practice of Discernment Rooted in God's Love + Wisdom
Our 2021 Liturgical Year B Daily + Weekly Planners launch in just one week! We created them to help you embrace a pattern of prayer and practice that is sustainable—and sustaining. Based on transformative tools that have existed for centuries and are still relevant to modern discipleship and faith formation, this life-giving rhythm is not just for scholars, mystics, or the super-spiritual. It is accessible to everyone.
Each day this week we're sharing a little more about the fresh approach and time-honored tools our planner is based on—and what it’s like when they work together.
DWELLING IN YOUR BELOVEDNESS WITH GOD
Today I want to share more about the prayer of examen, which is about dwelling in our beloved-ness with God. This centuries-old practice of discernment—rooted in God’s love and wisdom—invites us to prayerfully reflect on our days in the presence of God. Rather than a prayer to memorize and recite, it is a contemplative practice based on a series of five movements drawing you through presence, reflection, awareness, faithfulness, and ultimately hopeful action.
This prayer—and what it reveals about the invitations God is extending—allows us to become aware of our time, energy, and attention. Praying the examen in a weekly, seasonal, and yearly rhythm helps us further identify and adjust our priorities within the seasons and rhythms of our lives. The invitations God extends to us, as revealed through the examen, point us toward the things that our time, energy, and attention might be best used for.
The language of consolation and desolation is often used alongside the examen. We ask ourselves where God felt near to us (consolation) and where we felt far from God (desolation). When we pay attention to where we are now and where God is already at work in our lives, we can start to follow these subtle arrows as they point us toward greater peace, presence, and purpose. We start with what needs tending and then see what grows in our lives.
1. EXAMEN PAGES
Prayerfully reflect on your days in the presence of God and evaluate your life in the context of seven key areas: spirit, body, mind, relationships, home, work, and resources. This same rhythm of reflecting and resetting repeats at the beginning and end of the planner (so you can mindfully consider your yearly goals and progress), as well as at the beginning of each liturgical season (so you can into each season with intention).
2. REFLECT & RESET
Use these two columns to examine the seven key areas of your life. In the first column, reflect on each in the context of the previous period of time. How did you attend to that area of your life? What movement happened? What challenges did you face? In the second column, consider how you’d like to tend to that area in the coming period of time.
How are you tending to your soul? How are you and God connecting? What words would you use to describe the way your spirit feels?
What habits are you keeping with your body? What new habits would you like to cultivate? How does your physical body feel these days? How is your energy level?
What are you learning? What would you like to learn? What has been occupying your thoughts? How is the quality of your focus and presence?
What’s going well in your relationships? How are you treating the people around you? What relationships need tending? How can you build into the lives of those who matter to you?
What do you love about your home life? How does it support and comfort you in your current season of life? What needs attention?
How is your work energizing you? How is it draining you? What words would describe your posture toward your work right now? Where do you see God moving in your workplace?
How are you stewarding what has been given to you—your time, money, energy, possessions, education, or experience?
Find additional resources about the prayer of examen here on our website.
CULTIVATE A PRACTICE OF DISCERNMENT ROOTED IN GOD'S LOVE + WISDOM
We start every year, season, and week in the planner with an examen page because this simple prayer has been so foundational to our practice. This gives us the opportunity to regularly pause and evaluate our lives in the context of seven key areas: spirit, body, mind, relationships, home, work, and resources. The key areas serve as prompts for focus, so as never to waver over how and where to get started. There’s space to reflect on the current period of time and reset for the time to come.
Often the examen leads us to focus on small, simple things—practices—that serve as anchors throughout our days and weeks. Sometimes they point to attitudes or mindsets we need to take up or set down—postures. Over time, they form larger patterns of focus as a rhythm begins to take shape.
IT’S YOUR TURN
Where are you right now and where is God? What arrows do you notice inviting your attention? How do you invest your time and energy? When you think about who you want to be—and who God created you to be— what are the graces and invitations that you name? How can they grow?