Examen daily prayer practice

A great way to pray is to look for God's presence in your life. More than 400 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God's presence and to discern his direction for us. Consider using this prayer practice at the end of a meal, at the end of a family gathering, or at bedtime.
STEP 1 | Become aware of the presence of God.
  • Recite “Be still and know that I am God.”
  • Become aware of your breathing.
  • Focus on a particular scene or scripture passage.
  • Position yourself in a way to be more open to God’s presence.

STEP 2 | Review the day with gratitude.
  • Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights.
  • Thank God for the people you encountered throughout the day.
  • Thank God for sights you experienced (nature, artwork, billboards).
  • Thank God for the sounds you observed (birds chirping, music, etc.).
  • Thank God for smells of today (ocean breeze, food cooking, coffee brewing, campfire, flowers, etc.).
  • Thank God for the moments of delight, joy and laughter.

STEP 3 | Pay attention to your emotions.
  • Reflect on the feelings of impatience, anger, jealously or detachment you experienced during the day.
  •  Reflect on the feelings of joy, generosity, openness you experienced during the day.
  • Ask what God is saying through these feelings.

STEP 4 | Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may be a vivid moment or something that seems insignificant
  • An encounter with another person
  • What’s been in the back of your mind all day
  • A key decision made, a new learning, or a new way of reframing a problem
  • A significant accomplishment

STEP 5 | Look toward tomorrow.
  • Ask God to give you light for tomorrow's challenges.
  • How might God use you?
  • What do you need to let go of or resolve?
  • How might you start fresh as a new creation in Christ?

STEP 6 | End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus.
  • St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend.
  • Ask forgiveness for your sins.
  • Ask Jesus for his protection and help.
  • Ask Jesus for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face.
  • Do all this in the spirit of gratitude.


  1. What are your current practices for practicing the presence of God on a daily basis?
  2. What are the things you say and do that help you be more mindful of God's presence?
  3. If you were to "try on" daily examen this month, when would you do it?
  4. What setting/location is most conducive for you to practice daily examen?
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