Every year when school starts, I find myself setting goals that I want to work on as a mom and that we want to work on as a family. One of mine this year is continuing to teach our children various prayers within our Catholic faith. My hope is that they each have a full repertoire of prayer methods to lean on as they grow up and hopefully one day make their faith their own.
The Examen is a permanent prayer in my own repertoire, and it is one we want to teach to our children. This is still a new prayer method that we bring in from time to time as part of our nighttime family prayer, and this Examen format is one that a Lutheran friend and mom of two shared with me:
- One person names the highs and lows of his/her day.
- After that person names the highs and lows of the day, another person in the family says a prayer for that person, thanking God for the highs and asking God to help that person with the lows.
- Every family member gets a turn to share the highs and lows of the day, and every family member gets a turn to say a prayer for another person.
- Close with an Our Father or other prayer.
I am often speechless at what comes out of my children’s mouths as they share about their day. Listening to them helps heighten my awareness about what is going on in their lives, what is upsetting them, what they are really enjoying about life, and who they are spending time with at school. I am also amazed to listen to the prayers they share for another family member. The Examen heightens their awareness of what is going on in their lives and in others’ lives also. It allows all of us to give God thanks for the gifts in our lives, and it allows us to bring our struggles to God as well.
While we are still leaning into this prayer practice as a family, I hope that this practice of praying our lives together continues!
What a lovely family bonding practice! I am wondering if you have any update on this … did the custom continue as your children grew?
This is a very good suggestion. May I ask when you share your highs and lows with the children, do you only share those you feel they are mature enough to hear? Eg. I am thinking maybe I should restrain from mentioning any conflict I might have with other family members during this open family examen? I appreciate any sharing and advice.
Wish I had someone who would examen-pray G-d’s help in my lows… Happy to learn of a family that does!
This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Becky.
I posted your examen piece on my parents Facebook page.