The Examen is a prayer of awareness that offers a simple structured way of praying. It can be adapted for specific intentions, as in this variation.  Though offering a structure, the Examen can be prayed with flexibility. For example, this Essential Examen invites you to reflect on what is essential in your life in Christ, and what is non-essential.  You may wish to pray with what is essential in one prayer sitting, saving the prayer for what is non-essential for another sitting.
You will require no more than twenty minutes for each prayer session, which means you can pray it whenever you have short quiet moments.
You may also pray this on-the-go, for example when you are on the bus or train, or when you are jogging, thereby turning your ordinary moments into prayerful moments.


Grace prayed for
To place God at the centre of my life.

I become aware of God’s love as I begin this Examen.

I ask God to enlighten my heart and mind so that
I can become more aware of Him.

Step One

I thank God for His gifts.
[Take a minute or so to thank God spontaneously for whatever comes to mind at this moment. It could be something generic
(health, good weather, etc) or something specific (an answered prayer, some joyous event that occurred, etc.)]

Step Two

What do I consider to be essential to my life in Christ at this moment?
What do I consider to be non-essential to my life in Christ
at this moment?
You may wish to write them down on a piece of paper so that you have a visual map of what guides your faith life.
[Consider what gives life to you and draws you closer to God, and what takes life away from you and pulls you away from God.
Reflect on what the essentials make you feel (joy, fulfillment, authenticity, etc.) and what the non-essentials make you feel (anxiety, envy, guilt, etc.).]
Are there essentials in your list that have somehow become
non-essential, and vice versa? How and why did that happen?]

Step Three

Essentials: I thank God for drawing close to me through
these essentials.

Non-essentials: I ask for God’s forgiveness for placing too much emphasis on the non-essentials in my life, the things that pull me away from God.
Step Four

I look ahead and imagine how my life may be transformed as I
re-evaluate what is essential to my life in Christ.
I pray that God may help me adhere to these essentials.
I pray to God for help to overcome the temptation to let
non-essentials control my life. I may wish to consider any specific areas of my life where I may require God’s help.
I prayerfully conclude the Examen with my own prayer, or
I may wish to pray the Lord’s prayer.

Anthony is a spiritual director trained in the Ignatian tradition. Like Peter, Anthony left behind a successful advertising career to follow God's call to cast the net elsewhere. Anthony brings his creativity into his work as spiritual and retreat director, helping people to find God in all things, and to integrate their faith with the concrete realities of life. Anthony conducts retreats regularly for BGST and serves as a mentor for the school. He also leads silent retreats to Thailand and Australia.

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