Every night before we head to sleep, Steven and I pray an Ignatian Daily Examen together. We call it the “CPR” prayer.
C – Claim your blessings.
P – Pinpoint victories and losses.
R – Renew commitment to Christ.
In a way, it allows us to pray backwards through the day. We first center ourselves in God’s presence. Sometimes are cuddled up on the couch and other times I have already put on my pj’s and I am tucked in bed with the lights off. We start by reviewing our day with gratitude. We look at where God was present throughout our day with the people we interacted with and the work we accomplished. We look at the small things, like meals together, good conversations, and beauty in nature. God is in the details.
(Credit: Sarah Renee Studios)
After we review our blessings, which are sometimes many, we pay attention to our emotions. God is in the movements of our emotions through the day. Sometimes we are bored, elated, angry, or sad. We talk about how God has allowed us to have victories and losses throughout those emotions. We also remember how we fell short and sinned, if we had an argument with each other or were a little lazy and unproductive at work. During the time of losses, we also talk about the world. Steven has a much better world view than I do, so he updates me on current events and what is happening around the globe. When I heard about the attacks in Paris, I immediately paused to pray. Steven said that there is something about Paris that makes it much more real. It might be because so many of us have traveled there or had friends there, but regardless of the reason, we had to pinpoint that loss and pray for all those impacted by this tragedy and the other tragedies occurring throughout the world. Our hearts break when members of our human family are hurting.
Finally, we renew our commitment to Christ. We talk about what we are going to do tomorrow for Jesus. I mention what plans I have the next day and how I can incorporate my faith into what I have scheduled. Steven often reflects on how he can say a Divine Mercy Chaplet or listen to Christian music throughout the work day. Our plans are usually not epic, but God is in the small, sweet moments of our day. We please Him by smiling at a co-worker, mentioning how glorious the weather is, or calling a friend who we know is struggling. We joyfully look forward to the next day, knowing that with Christ at our center we can do all things.
There is always something to pray about, there is always something to be grateful for, and each day is filled with both moments of great joy and great sorrow.
The Ignatian Examen comes from Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. This type of prayer resonates well with us, because Jesus is not only our Lord but also our best friend. We are able to ask for help, protection, courage, wisdom, and all those amazing graces we need to thrive each day. When we center ourselves in the spirit of gratitude and view life as a gift, we are able to place our confidence in God knowing that He is walking with us each step of the journey.