Different religious groups have various techniques for communicating with their creator. In this case, Christians have distinct prayer exercises that define their interaction with God by offering insights on the approaches one should use when they are in need. Importantly, Christians believe in the power of prayers and their ability to resolve issues affecting them in their immediate environment. The Daily Examen is one of the prayer exercises that is defined by an intimate reflection on outcomes that took place during the day, discern God’s presence and seek for His direction (Foster, 2001). In the same vein, Christians can use the Visio Divina, where one allows their hearts and thoughts to transcend into a pure form of silence that will enable them to understand God’s desire for them. These prayer approaches have a significant impact on the perspectives of individuals towards God because of the role that they play in alleviating problems affecting people in their surroundings. Adding these prayers in my spiritual life will help me improve my relationship with God to understand His commandments and expectations for humanity.
The Daily Examen
Reflecting on the events that took place during the day before going to sleep allows one to realize their mistakes that could affect their growth and development. Based on the inability of individuals to recognize when they are getting into trouble, reflecting on their lifestyles enables them to identify the pitfalls they should avoid. In this case, The Daily Examen embraces the concept of reflection, where one focuses on their day to identify problems affecting their livelihoods (Foster, 2001). By reflecting on their lives, one can detect God’s presence by evaluating the different manifestations of the heavenly power that transcend human effort. God is a supernatural being that comes to our rescue whenever we seek his help. Through prayers, we acknowledge God’s ability to solve our problem and ask for forgiveness because of our erroneous nature as a human being. For this reason, prayer offers individuals a chance to become better and overcome issues affecting their ways of life.
The Daily Examen prayer is connected to Ignatius of Loyola, who developed the approach in the 16th century. Five hundred years later, the prayer is still relevant and allows individuals to communicate with their creator by upholding their religious beliefs and values (Frederick, Dunbar, & Thai, 2018). Dennis Hamm, a theologian, describes five steps that people should use when praying through the Daily Examen and are discussed below.
Visio Divina is a traditional way of praying by contemplating that is achieved through silence. Visio Divina is loosely translated to sacred seeing, where individuals look beyond events taking place in their immediate environment. Commonly used by the Roman Catholic Church, Visio Divina allows individuals to focus on their ability to control body and breathing movements. When an individual is in control of their body, it becomes easier for them to overcome challenges taking place in their surroundings. The Saint John’s Bible offers a candid visual image that exposes individuals to an enabling environment where they can approach God in prayer. By demonstrating the willingness to be transformed into God’s image, Visio Divina grants believers the opportunity to connect with God and learn from his abilities.
Before entering into a moment of Visio Divina, one should focus on their breathing patterns and eliminate any distractions that can disrupt their contemplation process. By breathing deeply, one receives a calming effect that assures him or her about the outcomes of events that will be recorded in their lives. For about fifteen minutes, one should remain still before following the outlined six body movements that resonate with the prayer. In case one is unable to contain their thought process, he or she should focus on a specific aspect of the things they want to achieve through the prayer process (Dalton, Hall, & Hoyser, 2019). The first movement involves reading the word of God. The second movement requires meditation over the chosen Biblical text, while the third phase consists of visualizing the text. The fourth movement is praying to God, while the fifth is contemplation. The last move in this prayer exercise is embracing the behavior of Christ.
Adding these prayers in my spiritual life will help me improve my relationship with God to understand His commandments and expectations for humanity. Understanding the significance of worship enables individuals to develop an active communication pattern with God that improves outcomes in their lives. By embracing the Daily Examen or Visio Divina, Christians can uphold the expected standards of existence that are defined in their religious beliefs and values. Visio Divina offers a contemplative approach that allows one to learn about the image of God and His desire for humanity. By aligning our behavior with the expected standards of existence, it becomes easier to share our petitions with God through prayer.
Dalton, J. E., Hall, M. P., & Hoyser, C. E. (2019). The Whole Person: Embodying Teaching and Learning Through Lectio and Visio Divina. Rowman & Littlefield.
Foster, R. J. (2001). Streams of living water: Essential practices from the six great traditions of Christian faith. Zondervan.
Frederick, T. V., Dunbar, S., & Thai, Y. (2018). Burnout in Christian Perspective. Pastoral Psychology, 67(3), 267-276.