Prayer and Spirituality Day Southwark Cathedral 16 April 2016
A group led by Libby Bradshaw from St Mary’s Battersea attended a Prayer and Spirituality Day at Southwark Cathedral on 16 April 2016. It was subtitled ‘Meeting the risen Jesus in daily life. ’
I can only speak for myself but I found the day profoundly moving and helpful. I believe the others did too. It would be impossible to describe the day in detail but in light of our Archbishops’ Call to Prayer in the week leading up to Pentecost 2016, I would like to share one of the workshops (Alive to the Spirit), led by Chris Palmer and attended by all the participants from St Mary’s Battersea with you.
EXAMEN: A review of the day
One of the most rewarding things we can do in prayer is to review our day with God, to notice where we’ve been drawn towards him and where we’ve run away from him. This form of prayer is recommended by St Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises and is called the Examen. It has been used by many people over hundreds of years wishing to discover the touch of God in their lives. Whatever other forms of prayer we use, building this into our daily pattern of prayer will produce rich fruit. Find a time and place to pray where you can dedicate fifteen minutes or so to prayer. Become attentive, by feeling the sensations in your body, or the sounds around, until you are calm in body, spirit and mind.
Say thank you: Thank God for the wonderful things he has given you. Gradually name things that you are grateful for, aspects of your everyday life, special moments from the last day, gifts in creation. If you don’t feel grateful, choose gratitude by recalling the things in your life or the world that are valuable.
Ask for insight: Ask God for his insight into the day that has passed, that he will show you where you have drawn close to God and where you have drawn back.
Review the day: Look back over the day that is passed. Notice what happened at each time. Notice how you felt. Particularly become aware of any hidden or unacknowledged feelings. Ask where they arose from. What during the day has been life-giving and brought joy? What has been deadening or brought sadness? How have you responded in each moment- within, towards others, and towards God?
Seek healing: Bring the times of brokenness to God for his healing and the times of wrong-doing and wrong-thinking to God for his forgiveness. The Examen is the work of God’s grace in which we receive God’s renewal.
Look forward: Look at the day ahead. See the opportunities and the challenging times. Decide what times you will build in for prayer and reflection. Name what you will choose to do differently. Plan how you will live the day in tune with God’s love in your life.
As you come out of prayer, thank God for what you have gained through your prayer.