Scripture Focus: Colossians 4.2-6
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Reflection: Time Tested Devotion
By John Tillman
One time-tested way of devoting oneself to prayer is the prayer of Examen. First published in 1548 in the Spiritual Exercises, by Saint Ignatius, this prayer has been used throughout the Church, by both clergy and laypersons.
There are many versions of the Examen, including the version at this link. The Examen is adaptable and customizable. As you implement it and get it into your memory, you can use the prayer at any time.
Pray the Examen regularly and it will tutor you in practicing the presence of God. When you are more sensitive to his presence and leading, you can become a reliable source of God’s influence and action, no matter where you go.
For a simple, short version of the Examen, use the following five actions: Awareness, Analysis, Admission, Acceptance, Anticipation.
Awareness: Pause. Relax. Release any concerns your mind is holding. Become aware that you are in God’s presence and have been continually…when you are settled peacefully, thank God for his presence and ask for his grace to be more aware of him, especially in the next few minutes.
Analysis: Review moments from the past day or week in which you sensed God’s presence with you. When and how did you sense him? How did you interact with God or act on God’s prompting or on God’s behalf? … Celebrate moments in which Christ’s grace, love, and righteousness shone through you. Humbly acknowledge that these moments were empowered by the Holy Spirit and not yourself.
Admission: As you review you will also recall shortcomings and failures. Confess sins with the knowledge that Jesus has forgiven you. Confess not just actions of sin, but motivations behind them. (Not just that you shouted in anger but that you have an unhealthy desire for dominance and control rooted in a failure to trust God…)
Acceptance: Celebrate that, through Jesus, you are forgiven, reinstated, and accepted. This is the good news, the gospel! In addition, celebrate that Christ is at work in and through us for our sanctification and perfection.
Anticipation: Look forward to tomorrow with faith and anticipation of the presence of Christ going before you and being with you. Ask for grace to be more aware of his presence with you going forward, and close with the Lord’s prayer or another prayer chosen from scripture.
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name.
Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
*We will return to prayers from The Divine Hours, next week.
Image Note: In today’s image is NGC 4565, known as the “Needle Galaxy” for its profile. This edge-on spiral galaxy is about 30 to 50 million light-years away. When we practice God’s presence through prayer, we are in the presence of the God who cared about Paul’s chains and who placed this galaxy in the sky for us to find.
Read more about Mustard Seed Prayers
Allow your prayer to be shaped and rewritten by your relationship with God.
Read more about Breathing Prayers
Breath prayers are simply short prayers which can be said “in a breath.” These are often taken from scripture.