Today, we look at what Foster calls The Prayer of Examen. If your mind has equated the word "examen" with that of "examination", you're on the right track. The opening chapter was beneficial for me. I thought I would quote it for you here.
How very strange that the Prayer of Examen has been lost to we who live in an age of obsessive introspection. It is actually possible today for people to go to church services week in and week out for years without having a single experience of spiritual examen. What a tragedy! What a loss! No wonder people today are weak. No wonder they are barely hanging on.
Go ahead. Read it again! This time, read it slowly and out loud.
When is the last time you've taken a honest spiritual inventory? When have you truly examined? In this chapter, Foster writes of a spiritual examination.
The examen of conscience has to do with evaluating what we've done with the opportunities God's given us. In other words, when a spiritual nudge encourages us to minister in a particular way, did we fulfill our responsibility? When we're prompted to speak truth, did we speak or simply allow the feeling to pass? When one is honest about who they are, when we stand before God with warts and all, grace takes on a greater meaning.
Foster encourages us to look inward. It's not that we become more absorbed with ourselves. But it's that a honest evaluation entails looking deep within our soul. A practical example is that of a spiritual journal. A journal differs from a diary in that it focuses on the how and why rather than on the who. Again, this is just one example of looking deep within ourselves. It's a misjudgment to think everyone should journal. But it does benefit some. Foster's point is not the journal itself, but a honest evaluation.
I believe Foster to be onto something. Because reality is often uncomfortable for us, often times we choose to ignore it. Being intentional about these evaluations is paramount to spiritual growth.
I pray I've done this chapter justice. Thoughts? Do you have ways in which you take a spiritual assessment?
trust and obey
19 hours ago