Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Saturday, November 14, 2020

An experience with the examen prayer

Photo from Fine Art America
Last night I was praying the examen with an emphasis on shifts.  The questions were about if I'd noticed shifts in myself during the past week, months or even years.  To think on those shifts and ask God to bring any specific one to mind.  

I kept looking for negative shifts, but the Holy Spirit kept bringing me back to the fact that there's been a shift in my attitude this past year as I've sought him to be my everything.  I know that repentance is important so I was seeking in my mind for some sin, some negative shift...but God kept bringing me back to this increased desire for Him.  I'm not sure how to describe this, but it was as if God wanted me to know that He was pleased.  I was overwhelmed with a sense of it...I cried a little bit because it was so encompassing and wonderful.

I'm reminded again of a couple of verses.  The second half of Romans 2:4 (TPT):

Do you realize that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you to repentance?

The first half of Hosea 11:4:

I drew them with gentle cords
with band of love

This is who God is.  He is love.

This morning I read a translated poem by St Teresa of Avila that explains this experience so well (and it blows my mind that here I am relating to a woman who lived in Spain from 1515 - 1582):

                                                HE DESIRED ME SO I CAME CLOSER

                                                     He desired me so I cam close.

                                              No one can near God unless He has
                                                          prepared a bed for 

                                          A thousand souls hear His call every second,
                                  but most every one then looks into their life's mirror and
                                              says, "I am not worthy to leave this

                                              When I first heard His courting song, I too
                                                     looked at all I had done in my life
                                                                  and said,

                                              "How can I gaze into His omnipresent eyes?"
                                                        I spoke these words with all
                                                                    my heart,

                                            but then He sang again, a song even sweeter,
                                and when I tried to shame myself once more from His presence
                                        God showed compassion and spoke a divine truth,

                                                "I made you dear, and all I made is perfect.
                                                            Please come close, for I

Friday, November 13, 2020

Experiencing God through prayer

Photo from Stained Glass Painting Techniques
 I've been circling around praying the prayer of Examen for a few months now.  I've been struggling with silence and solitude for coming up on 2 years.

But God's been so good, so gracious to me.  It's like He's been drawing me to Himself.  Not because I've done anything right at all...just because of His goodness.

I hadn't been able to make myself start a daily practice of the examen prayer.  I'd read about it and it just seemed like too much, so I couldn't make myself do it.  I've also struggled in this same manner with silence and solitude;  it just loomed up so big and unattainable.  I was forcing myself, using a 3 minute timer, to have a time of silence.  

Then I participated in an online course where the facilitator did this thing where he'd start by letting us all be silent and he'd speak  Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God                                                                                                              

Be still and know      

Be still 


Between each section he'd give us some time of silence.  

I found that exercise an effective way to enter into silence.  To detach from the world around and start a time with God.

Then I read Pete Grieg's book How to Pray and nothing seemed so difficult.  All types of prayer seemed more accessible.  

The real clincher with regard to examen came when I shared the goal of praying the exam in my book club  and  a woman, Amanda, recommended an app called Reimaging the Examen. For me, this has made all the difference. This app guides me into going through the examen.  It also has quite a number of differently focused versions that help keep it fresh.  I haven't gotten super lengthy or deep yet. But I'm establishing the pattern.  It's becoming a part of my life.  I find that I'm looking forward to it each day.

Another thing I've noticed is that I've struggled with being exhausted all the time for years now.  But lately I've been more energized.  I know this is gonna sound cheesy, but you know how when you're in love and you start dating someone how all of life just gets brighter and you're happier?  How you just want to be near them every chance you get?  Well that's kind of the experience I've been having with prayer.

It make me think about Matthew 11:28-30.  I've been pondering this passage for the past few years as I've been struggling with fatigue.  I've been especially drawn to the way it reads in The Message paraphrase:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Monday, November 9, 2020


 I'm thinking about how thankful I am for the resources that God's give me:

* The Renovare book club    

Adore the emails, podcasts, and most of all the actual group of people with whom I meet once a week.  It's a somewhat eclectic group - 7 individuals; 2 males & 5 females, ranging from mid 30s to mid 60s in age. Ethnically there's 1 African American, 1 Indian, 1 Japanese, and 4 Caucasians.  All Christians; including  Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical non denominational, Presbyterian, and Baptist.  These people like books just like me and they're interesting.  Their ideas stimulate me.   

* Some really good books I've read lately  - White Awake, How to Pray, and Jesus and the Disinherited being the most recent.

* The Lectio 365 & Re imagining the Examen apps.  

The Lectio is adding a fresh new perspective to my morning time with God.  I've been trying to figure a simple way to add the Examen into a time in the evening and this app guides me through it.

* The people with whom I work  - My job is hard.  I'm so grateful for the humor and camaraderie that I have with the people with whom I work.

* John & I's relationship - We really seem to have grown closer in these last few months.  I can honestly say he's my best friend.

* Asian dramas - Sometimes I get an immense amount of enjoyment out of these things.

                                                                     Graphic from Banzai

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