Examen prayer is the Holy Spirit’s application to our lives of scriptural teachings or descriptions of holiness in order to determine where we lack and/or succeed in living a holy life.
1. “The just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17 KJV) is a foundational phrase in the Reformation. Who are “the just”? What does it mean for them to “live by faith”? How does this theology influence your feeling of confidence under the scrutiny of this kind of prayer?
2. In John 8:32, Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (RSV). What truth does he mean? How is there freedom in hearing the truth? If Jesus is love, how is it loving for Jesus to tell you truths about the darkness within yourself?
3. Focusing on long-suppressed fears or habits of sin can be a little dangerous. On the other hand, ignoring these things can be dangerous, too. Do you see either tendency in yourself? If so, how have you dealt with this in the past? How might the prayer of examen provide you with a different option? How can you avoid your default tendency while practicing examen?
4. God calls communities of believers, not just individuals. He convicts and encourages his people as a group, too. What special direction(s) or theme(s) would your particular group need to practice this prayer in unity?