Advent Practices – Week 1 – Day 1

THEME: SAMPLING AND IMAGINING

BREATH PRAYER: LORD, HELP ME SEE WHAT YOU SEE AND IMAGINE WHAT WILL BE.


CENTERING:

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
Isaiah 9:2

SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read the centering verse above slowly (aloud or silently).

Pause for a few moments of silence, then pray this week’s breath prayer.

PRACTICE:
PRAYER OF EXAMEN

For a short form of this exercise, follow the prompts in italics.

The practice of Examen allows us to see God’s movement in our lives as we reflect on the past day. Often, the busyness of our days keeps us from seeing God’s work in the moment, thus Examen is helpful for reviewing the day and looking for His hand in retrospect.

  • Begin by closing your eyes, growing still, and listening to your breath. Invite the Father into your time of reflection, and know His loving presence is all around you. Short Form: Sit in silence for one minute, listening to your breath. If your mind wanders, pray the breath prayer.
  • Think back to the beginning of the day (or the previous day if it’s early in the morning) and replay the events of the day slowly. What did you do, whom did you see and speak with, and where did you go? Ask God to show you how His loving presence surrounded you. Continue throughout the day–lunch time, afternoon, evening, and night–when did you have a sense of God’s nearness? How did He reveal Himself to you? Thank God for these gifts of knowing His nearness.  Short Form: What three events of the day are you particularly grateful for? Thank Him for these moments.
  • Think through times during the previous day when you didn’t feel God’s presence. Were there any times you thought, That’s just not right or, That’s not the way the world is supposed to be? When did you experience frustration or sadness or injustice? Was there a person or situation you wanted to rush past, avoid or discredit? Allow your mind to settle on that for a moment. Ask God what He wants you to know about it. Ask Him how He feels about that situation. Short Form: Was there a moment in your day when you felt frustrated or disheartened, or that something isn’t “the way the world should be”? What do you think God might say about that experience?
  • Do you sense the Lord leading you to pray about any of these experiences? Let Him give you the words He wants you to pray back to Him. Let Him put the prayer on your heart that He desires to answer for you. Short Form: Is there action you think God might like you to take in response to this experience? Write a few notes about it in your journal.
  • In your journal, write down a few notes about what the Lord showed you in the Examen of your day.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Lord, help me see what You see and imagine what will be.


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