SERMON SERIES | DISCIPLINES FOR SABBATH-REST (2)
Christian Reflection (Examen)
08/09 MAY 2021 | PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Rev Chia Chin Nam
Scripture Passage: Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Spiritual disciplines are intended to help us find daily rest in God; so that we may live our lives from the posture of rest. The Prayer of Examen is a simple life changing prayer that lets us experience the presence of God. According to Jim Manney, “The examen is a method of reviewing your day in the presence of God. It’s actually an attitude more than a method, a time set aside for thankful reflection on where God is in your everyday life.” The psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 also invites God to examine his heart and mind. We may not be aware of God’s presence all the time, but He is with us every day.
In our prayerful reflections, we can ask the following questions:
- What does God want me to see and learn?
- How can I thank God for His presence with me?
- Is God pleased with the way I respond to the people I met or the situations I handled?
- What could I have done to better represent Him as the ambassador of His sacrificial love?
- Are there areas I need to seek His forgiveness in?
- What can I look forward to tomorrow in the light of His presence?
Those who seek God diligently and perseveringly will find His presence and draw strength from Him. If you think God is far away or you cannot sense His presence, Examen is the prayer for you. Let us allow Him to tune our hearts to His presence and when we do this daily, it becomes a prayer of examination:
1. Examen is a simple and powerful daily check-in moment with God that reminds us of His presence and attunes us to Him. It is not meant to be a deep and probing experience. The 15-20 minutes prayer tunes us to the Holy Spirit, connects us to Christ, to scrutinise our behaviours to see how closely our actions conform to His in and through the mundane things we do every day. God knows everything we have done, and we need to seek His forgiveness so that we might be freed for joyful obedience. God is omnipresent, He will not only bring healing to our hurts, but He will also bring direction, comfort, and strength to His people.
2. Examen is a practical prayer; like having an honest conversation with God. There is no long list of prayer items to be ticked off and there is no scripture text for reference. We review our day in the loving light of Christ and say in honesty for God to examine thoroughly. What do we talk to God about? Feel free to download to God everything that happened.
3. Examen is a God-centred prayer that helps us find Him in our emotions. We should be honest with God and tell Him how we are feeling. Why would God be interested in our emotions? Emotions are a part of our day-to-day living and are spiritual signpost that points us to God. When we vocalise our negative emotions before God, we release and reduce their power over us. Suppressed feelings often turn to depression when we try to hide them. Ask God to reveal what is behind the emotion and what He wants us to do about it. When we talk to God about our negative emotions, we make them the means of grace that lift us up and enable us to look forward to another exciting day leading life with Him.
The Examen is designed to help ordinary people develop a reflective habit of mind that is constantly attuned to God’s presence and responsive to His leading. We can experience God’s presence and discern the right path with prayerful reflection on our relationship with others, our work in the world and the feelings generated by these encounters. Let the Christian Reflection embodied in the Prayer of Examen help us.
(Sermon Notes by Honey Vreugdewater)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. “The examen is a method of reviewing your day in the presence of God. It’s actually an attitude more than a method, a time set aside for thankful reflection on where God is in your everyday life” (Jim Manney).
- How is the prayer of examen similar to the way you usually pray?
- How is it different?
- What would hinder you from practicing this spiritual discipline?
2. Read Psalm 139:23-24 aloud. Recall everything that has happened to you in the last 24 hours. What or who stands out for you? Then ask God the following:
(Best done in 20 minutes at the end of each day).
- What do You want me to see and learn?
- How can I thank You for Your presence with me?
- Are You pleased with the way I responded to people I met or the situations I handled?
- What could I have done to better represent You as the ambassador of Your sacrificial love?
- Are there areas I need to seek Your forgiveness in?
- What can I look forward to tomorrow in the light of Your presence?
3. Examen is a simple but powerful daily check-in moment with God that reminds us of His presence and attunes us to Him.
- How attuned are you to the presence of God in your daily life?
- Do you ‘check in’ with God at least once a day?
- How can you make examen your daily discipline, together with other spiritual disciplines (Worship, Meditation on Scripture, Prayer, Silence and Solitude)?
4. Examen is a practical prayer; like having an honest conversation with God.
- How honest have you been with the Lord in your prayer?
- What may be hindering you from being yourself in His presence?
5. Examen is a God-centred prayer that helps us find Him in our emotions.
- What is your idea of a God-centred prayer?
- Why does God want to know how we are feeling when He is all-knowing? (Psalm 139:1-6)
- How is the above statement (point 5) a reality for you?