Daily Examen Prayer

St Ignatius of Loyola
St Ignatius of Loyola

The Daily Examen involves praying through the experiences of our day to gain insights into our interior life, grow in holiness and discern how God is calling us to follow him.

The practice of a daily examination goes back to the early Church. In the 4th century St John Chrysostom wrote:

“make your conscience appear in judgement; demand of it an account, and having thoroughly probed and dissected whatever evil purposes you formed during the day, repent for them.”

Modern usage of the Daily Examen largely comes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. St Ignatius lived in the 16th century Spain. He experienced a profound conversion while recovering from being struck in the leg by a cannon ball. St Ignatius later wrote his ‘spiritual exercises’ and founded the Jesuit order. The spiritual exercises include instructions for a daily examination, especially as a tool to overcome a particular sin.

When we pray the Examen we can bring God’s presence into every moment of our lives. We have an opportunity to be more thankful, to work on our faults, and to prepare for the future. The Examen can be prayed once or twice daily and is often prayed at midday or in the evening. There are many different instructions for praying the Examen. Below is a form of the Examen you can use.