Church, liturgy, and the examen

Rosaries, casting out demons, the Apostle's Creed, and worship music with lights and smoke---that's my faith background. I was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic elementary school. In high school I became sort of enthralled with Buddhism; I wasn't a practicing Buddhist or anything, but I read lots about it. My biological father is also a pastor of a Pentecostal church. My husband was raised Lutheran, and we were married in a Lutheran church. Eventually my husband and I landed in an evangelical church.

Like most aspects of my life right now, I'm even in a transition phase with my faith. My view of God hasn't changed, but I'm feeling a pull towards a more traditional, liturgical church service. I miss saying the Lord's Prayer as a church body. I miss the reverence of an entire congregation standing up when the word of God is read aloud. I miss hymns--their purity, their harmonies. I miss a simple worship set void of lights and fog machines. I miss intellectual sermons centered clearly around God's word that don't rely on a video to introduce the message. At one time in my life I preferred the modern evangelical church and all of it's fixings, but I don't anymore. I'm tired of the frills, of the smoke and mirrors, and all the distractions. I want Jesus, and so much of the way modern evangelical church is structured and presented takes my focus away from Jesus. I've done some researching lately to discover a church that my husband and I can be on board with theologically and liturgically, and we just haven't been able to find one (if y'all have suggestions, feel free to shoot them my way!). So....this has led me to find ways to incorporate more focused habits into my spiritual life to draw closer to God. The one habit that has seemed to be the most fruitful is a daily examen.

My examen...complete with super cool bookmark. 
I knew nothing about the examen (I'm still not sure if I can pluralize it or if I have to maintain the article 'the' prior to it....gah!) prior to this school year. I stumbled upon this blog post one afternoon, and I was intrigued, so I did more research and learned that basically the examen is a practice of incorporating focused, reflective prayer into your day to connect with God in the day to day practice of your life. The theory is that God has ordained all things, and even reflecting on the most ordinary day can lead us to see how and where God is working in our lives. Here's a link with more detailed, historical information regarding the examen. I started using the Abide app on my phone to shake up my prayer life--there's been a few times this year where I just needed someone to pray for me, so the app allows me to select my prayer needs/topics and then hear a prayer read (with scripture references). It's a great way to focus my heart and allows me to pray even when I feel too weak, too vulnerable, or too stained to pray. The Abide app has a daily examen prayer that will walk you through a reflection of your day. I find it to be relaxing and reflective and an excellent way for me to sink deep into God--to be focused on seeing the ways He has worked throughout my day. My goal during Lent is to write down three ways I noticed God work in my day (either that day or the next morning). I'm excited to see where this takes my prayer life and my relationship with God--it can't hurt, right?!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I had recently encountered the examen and your post helped a lot.

Blessings on your journey!