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The Ignatian Examen

St. Ignatius invites us to find God in all things. That means we have to pay careful attention to how the Spirit is moving in each moment of our daily lives. We have to take a magnifying glass to the seemingly ordinary, seeking to encounter the Divine. 

That’s why the Examen is such a powerful prayer. In it, we’re invited to encounter God, express gratitude for the gift and gifts of each day, and to commit to make up for any mistakes we may have made. 

The Examen is a flexible prayer, too, responding to the signs of the times. Below, you’ll find several variations to meet your need in this moment.

How to Pray the Examen

1. Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you. 

2. Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life. 

3. Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time. 

4. Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away? 

5. Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific, and conclude with the “Our Father.”

Different Needs, Different Examens

An Everyday Examen

No matter what kind of day you're having, you'll find God in it with this Examen.

An Examen for Racism

Examine how your actions and privileges harm our Black brothers & sisters.

An Examen for White Allies

Discern how you can recognize your privilege and advocate for racial justice.

An Ecological Examen

Discern opportunities in your day to embrace ecological justice.

A Daily Examen Podcast

Listen in as Fr. James Martin, SJ, guides you through the daily Examen.

After COVID Examen

As we emerge from COVID-19, take time to reflect on both sorrow and hope.

Storytelling Examen

Consider how to make sense of your life story using the Examen.

An Examen for Civic Life

Reflect on the interrelationship between Gospel values and political engagement.

An Examen for Refugees

Recommitment to accompanying, serving and advocating for refugees.

Global Citizenship Examen

Educate Magis offers an Examen for global citizenship, based on the Ignatian definition. (Scroll to middle of page)

Social Media Examen

Reflect on how you relate to and through social media.

An Examen During Covid-19

Take time to reflect during a period of uncertainty and rapid change.

An Anti-Racism Examen

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities offers an anti-racism examen.

Cannonball Examen

We find ourselves in an environmental “cannonball moment,” called to live in new ways in response to “the cry of the Earth.”

Additional Examen Resources

Examen Live! An Initiative of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality

Find more episodes of Examen Live! from the Office of Ignatian Spirituality. 

Stories from Living the Examen

How This Ancient Meditation Practice Changes My Day

By Mike Jordan Laskey

Why We Pray the Examen Each Night with Our 11-Month-Old

By Clarissa Aljentera

The Prayer That Changed Everything

By Patty Breen