The new year (and the new decade!) provides an opportunity for us to reflect and plan. The Examen is a great tool to help us do that faithfully.
The Examen is a form of prayer that helps us pay attention to God’s presence in our lives and assess whether we are being truthful about ourselves and our relationship with God. The Examen asks us to consider the events and experiences of a specific period of time and reflect on them in the company of God’s Spirit.
This is an Examen designed for reflecting on the past year and looking toward the new year. It can be used alone or with a group.
Examen for the New Year
(adapted from Wil Hernandez)
- Look back – Look over the events of the past year. Reflect on these questions:
- Where have I been?
- What significant changes have come my way?
- When have I been most stressed, exhausted, or discouraged?
- When have I felt loved and given love away?
- Look through – Identify any patterns, connections, or themes that have characterized the past year.
- If you can, summarize the past year in a sentence or two.
- What unhealthy patterns or habits do you notice? (i.e. patterns of stress, anger, or anxiety that lead you away from love).
- Look forward – Where do you sense God leading you forward?
- What do you sense your soul needs in this season of your life?
- What are some invitations that God might have for you?
- What are your hopes and dreams for this coming year?
- What habits do you need to create or maintain in the next 6 months?
- Look around – What community support do you need in this season of your life?
- Who is going to help pull this year off?
- To whom do you need to be reconciled?
- Who are the people you need to invite to walk alongside you?