God, Is That You?
Posted on Aug 28, 2023 by Jon Brudvig
Truth be told, sometimes the change process feels more like a tomb than a womb. After all, change, especially unwanted or unwelcome change, often entails loss — the loss of a building, the loss of a tradition, the loss of relationships, the loss of stability, you name it. As a result, a community undergoing change and transition may find itself challenged to see and experience God’s presence in the loss and uncertainty that change often brings. We ask ourselves, “Where is God in all of this? How do we know where God is leading us?”
The answer is prayer.
At the core of the biblical witness is the promise that God is with us. Although we want to trust the promise, events beyond our control sometimes make it hard for us to see and experience God’s presence in our lives. The darkness of grief and loss clouds our view, and a hopeful future may seem like nothing more than a pie-in-the-sky pipedream beyond our reach.
One way to counter this pull toward apathy is by prayerfully cultivating an awareness of God’s activity in your life, of being more mindful of God amid the routine of everyday life. Begin by ending each day with a simple prayer that includes the following five steps.
First, presence. We remind ourselves that we are in God’s presence. Second, gratitude. We call to mind a few things that we are thankful for, savor them, and thank God for them. Third, review. We review the day to see where we felt God’s presence and where we responded to God’s invitation. Consider, too, where we may have missed out on “God moments” during the day. Fourth, sorrow. We acknowledge the ways that we have fallen short during the past 24 hours and we ask God to forgive our sins to help us to better tomorrow. Fifth, grace. We close our prayer by asking for God’s help as we live into the baptismal promise of dying to sin and being raised to new life in Christ.
Prayer is vital to our spiritual well-being. It sustains and nurtures our relationship with God. The power of the daily examen lies in its simplicity and structure. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and enthusiastic practitioner of the daily examen, writes, “The prayer is effective because it helps us see where God has been in the past. And this, in turn, helps us to notice where God is in the present.”
In Christ’s Peace,