"A Prayerful Review of My Day"

"God wants a world in which human beings work together in harmony and friendship with God, with one another, and with all of creation." 
William Barry SJ 

This is an excerpt from a supplemental article to the book I am currently reading: Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God's Friendship by Trevor Hudson

Once our vision of what God wants is reasonably clear in our mind, we can begin the process of discerning what our personal role in realising God's reign looks like. Every day we are presented with an overwhelming number of choices, decisions, and dilemmas regarding how we live. To live as God's friend and partner is to keep choosing whatever is most conducive in making God's dream real  where we actually are. This is what it means to cooperate in our partnership and friendship with God. It must lead to faithful choices and obedient actions on our part. After all, what God wants for our world will only happen if we play our part. No one else can do in God's world what you and I are called to do where life has placed us. 

Engaging in this kind of faithful friendship and partnership with God will require the practice of learning to discern. So let me explore one spiritual discipline that helps us with this. . . . I like to call this particular devotional practice "a prayerful review of  my day." It is best done sometime in the evening. Built around the Examen of St Ignatius it goes something like this:

After  saying  thank  you  to  God  for  the  gifts  received through  the  day,  we  take   time  to  notice  where  we have  felt  most  alive  and  responsive  in  the  past   twenty-­four  hours.  This  is  often  a  sign  of  where  we have  lived  in  tune  with   God’s  dream  for  our  lives  in the  world.  Then  we  take  time  to  notice  where  we   have  felt  most  dead  and  unresponsive.  This  is  often  a sign of where we have most probably been living out of tune with God's dream. I am discovering that noticing these differences on a daily basis has the effect of fine-tuning my capacity to make future decisions more in tune with God. I am gradually learning that our daily cooperation with God depends upon making faithful choices in the matters that confront us, both big and small. 

There are two other important bits to this practice of a daily review. We also look back over the day to see where we have failed to live as a faithful friend and partner of God. Bringing these failures to the cross each evening opens our hearts to receive afresh the mercy and forgiveness of the divine friendship and keeps us growing in it. The last bit is to imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others. Obviously we will need help and race with this so we ask for this as well. This is the creative part of the review where we are able to exercise our initiative for the sake of realizing God's dream in the world. 

So, I am going to try to do this on a regular basis until I finish this book with my online book club in mid-December. I cannot guarantee I will type them here (I have been journaling a lot more lately in my physical journal, and it has been really fun). 

Gifts received throughout the day:

  • Early morning time with God and listening and obeying what He told me and connecting people together
  • Saying Happy Birthday to my buddy and looking at video and pictures of our trip to Sayulita, Mexico five years ago
  • George not having to leave until 7:45 because he has a dental appointment
  • Warm bike ride into work
  • Singing praise songs out loud as I rode
  • The "avenue" of trees I ride though and enter into my work environment
  • Nice smiles from the staff at PAC
  • Students eager and willing to let me transfer balls from one class to another (even one not in my class). 
  • Cancellation from my conversant so I could have a whole afternoon to myself
Where did I feel most alive and responsive?

When that connection was made for someone I have been praying for and continued connection for another person. I guess I am most alive when I see answered prayer, especially when I have prayed corporately with others, and we have seen the answer together!

Where did I feel most dead and unresponsive?

I honestly cannot think of anything. 

Imagine one practical thing that we can commit to do the next day that will express our love for God and others. 

Make Challah bread and listen to who God would have me give it to. 

Update 11/8/2016: I followed through, and God blessed big time. He told me to take the bread to the mosque where about ten ladies gathered at noon. They had a little teaching time, and then they brought the bread out with other treats. The leader said, "Oh, in Syria, giving bread means giving love. Did you know that when you thought to bring it?"

I told her, "No, all I know is that I prayed and asked God what I could do to express love today, and He told me specifically to bake bread and would show me who I was to give it to."  

The ladies were delighted to hear that! 

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