Intimate Prayer celebrates the mysterious flow of love between God, you and others through prayer. Featured here are a variety of prayer styles which aim to direct your heart toward God.
"Prayer is the inner bath into which the soul plunges itself." - St. John Vianney


Prayer is a Relationship (Daily Examen)
By Wanda Schwandt 2008

“Prayer is all the ways in which we communicate and commune with God. The fundamental purpose of prayer is to deepen our intimacy with God.” (Barton, Ruth Haley. Sacred Rhythms. Downers Grove/Intervarsity Press, 2006. p. 63).

Prayer is hanging out with God. Maybe most of the time you do all the talking in prayer. If our human relationships were that way, we wouldn’t have very many friends! Relationships are give and take – talk and listen. Take a moment to review your prayer life. Does it feel like a relationship? How is it similar or different from your human relationships? Do you desire to get to know God and spend time hanging out together? Think about your weekly schedule and put aside at least 10 minutes a day for cultivating this relationship.

At the end of each day, it is helpful to review the events of the day. What was joyful? What was challenging? Ignatius of Loyola created a daily practice, called Prayer of Examen, which brought to daily prayer the things he was thankful for, things he needed God’s help in removing from his life, and centered on the quality of his relationships with God and others. Below are two versions of the Examen for you to try:

Prayer of Examen
Center = Breathe deeply and get your body in a comfortable position. Remind yourself of God’s constant loving presence within and surrounding you.
Spend = a few moments mentally reliving your day from beginning to end. What did you do? Where did you go? Who did you speak with? Who did you pass by?
Joys = Where did God meet you today? Where did you find joy, delight, or surprise? When did you feel loved? When were your actions loving? Then = Let yourself deeply feel the gratitude, joy and love that were part of your day. Concentrate on the emotion and be attentive to the feelings in silence.
Challenges = Where were you challenged today? Where there difficult moments in your encounters with others? Did anything stir your thoughts? Do you feel any regrets? Were you drawn in compassion to anyone in particular? If you were not, why do you think that might be? Concentrate = on those emotions and be attentive to the feelings in silence. Is God calling you to any action or change?
Move Ahead = Think about tomorrow – a clean slate. What are your plans? Who will you encounter? How would you like to engage them? Then = Pray for wisdom and strength. Pray that your heart might be enlarged to encompass those Christ wishes to love through you.
Close with the Lord’s Prayer or singing a favorite praise verse.

A Short Examen
If the full Examen is too cumbersome to remember (when you are on vacation, let’s say), Nancy Bieber offers this shortened version:
What has been life-giving today? What has been life-draining today?
How did I experience God’s love today? How did I show my love to God today? How did I show my love for others?

Practice either version at the close of each day or early the next morning before beginning your day. I have created a set of prayer beads that go along with the longer version, putting a series of smaller beads in between each movement in the prayer. This allows my body to help me concentrate on one thing at a time and move smoothly through the prayer.


You may want to try making your own set of prayer beads or order a set from me (coming soon).


Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton (Downers Grove/Intervarsity Press, 2006)


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