Picking up from my last post, and in light of this past Sunday’s message at Living Word, we have been looking at lessons from the life of Stephen (from Acts 6 and 7). Stephen was a person who was full of the Spirit, full of spiritual depth, full of courage, and full of grace.
And we are asking the question: What would it look like—in 2018—if this was a year that you intentionally grew in these areas: in the Spirit, in depth, in courage, in grace?
The Holy Spirit is the source of so much in our lives. How can we live in step with God’s Spirit and follow his leading and guiding on a daily basis?
Today, let’s narrow our focus down to how we can live lives that are full of God’s Holy presence. This will actually be very practical.
I’d like to introduce you to an old form of prayer called the Examen. It’s a prayer that some trace all the way back to the beginning of Christianity. Sometimes it’s referred to as “the examination of conscience,” but I’ve always called it by its shorter name—the Examen. It’s a really simple prayer, but also quite powerful.
It’s five little steps that can be prayed through in a matter of 5-10 minutes. And although you can do it at any time, day or night, in my own experience I’ve found it to be most effective at the very end of the day, because I can reflect back on the day I’ve just experienced.
Here it is:
- The first step is to ask God to shed light on the day you just lived.
- Then start with feeling grateful, and expressing gratitude to God, as you recall your day.
- Third, go through the scenes of your day, noticing God’s Spirit, and being guided by the Spirit.
- Fourth, allow yourself to feel and express sorrow to the Lord Jesus for mistakes and for sin.
- And finally, receive fresh grace and mercy for a new day—and then go to sleep!
Another, even simpler way of remembering these five steps is with these five words:
- Presence: Remind yourself that you are in the presence of God.
- Gratitude: Recall your day with gratefulness.
- Rummage: Rummage through your day being guided by the Holy Spirit.
- Sorrow: Express sorrow for sin.
- Grace: Receive God’s grace for a new day.
You’ve probably heard the famous dictum attributed to Socrates: “the unexamined life is not worth living.” There’s certainly a seed of truth in that for all of us.
God desires us to flourish in every way. And Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This short powerful prayer is very effective because it helps you to allow the Spirit of God to transform you day by day through examining your days.
The more you consider your actions in light of God’s will, his word, and his Spirit, the more you will feel gratitude, receive grace for shortcomings, and be inspired to walk in the Spirit.
Being full of the Spirit—like Stephen was—is not as elusive as one might think. Not at all.
You could do worse than to have a daily (nightly) habit of inviting the Holy Spirit to walk with you through a brief review of your day.
For me, this little prayer practice helps lead me into the experience of being filled with God’s Spirit. And I wouldn’t trade this prayer for any other. Because for me, it helps me let God’s Spirit “get at me.”
Try it this evening—and try it all this week. You, too, can let the Holy Spirit beautifully invade your life with his fullness and presence.