Updated: Mar 3, 2021
How was your day? A complex question that we frequently answer with hardly a thought and little to no honesty. Yet, imagine accepting the divine invitation to answer this question with intentionality, reviewing the day in the Presence of our Heavenly Father. In the protection of His Loving Arms, we can notice what went on during a day, listen to what God might say about it, and respond in honesty from our true identity as a Beloved child of God.
A detailed history and explanation of this practice of daily review commonly called the prayer of examen can be found in Sleeping With Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. This short, engaging book gives its reader permission to take the information within and make it their own. This is what our family has done.
Our family has chosen to center our practice around these two questions:
For what moment today am I most grateful?
For what moment today am I least grateful?
Sometimes we practice this daily review within our church community, but often it’s a bedtime routine where we model physically being held or embraced by God’s Love as we walk through this practice. We may breathe deeply or quiet ourselves in order to focus on being in God’s Presence and listening to God as we review the day.
The first movement of this practice trains us to PRAISE. Praise is the practice of recognizing the things that are good, realizing our own powerlessness to make things good, responding in awe and wonder at the grace of God, and surrendering our own control and expectations to the goodness of God. Praise leads us to worship as we recognize the ways that God blesses us more than we could ask or imagine.
The second movement of this practice trains us to LAMENT. Lament is the practice of recognizing the things that are not right, realizing our own powerlessness to make things right, appealing to God to make things right, and surrendering our own control and expectations to the goodness of God. Lament ends as we become aware of grace and respond in worship realizing that our worship results from the character of God and not in response to our circumstances.
We close this time of daily review with a reminder of God’s Love for us that holds us close and sustains us through the night. Often this is takes the form of reciting scripture, singing a song or hymn, or praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Here are a few resources as you explore how you might review the day in God's Presence as a family.