More from Dennis Hamm's reflections on the consequences of "praying backwards"- of reviewing the day and also looking toward tomorrow.
1. There is always something to pray about- there will always be 24 hours to look back upon and 24 hours ahead of you.
2. The gratitude moment is worthwhile in and of itself- this is in fact what Paul tells the Colossians.
There are times I find myself falling asleep while doing review- what better way than to fall asleep while praising God for the day?
3. We learn to face God where are, as we are.
So much of our days can be comsumed by looking like we have it all together- do we fool ourselves into thinking God expects that? God already knows who we really are, why not let God meet us there and walk us through?
4. We respect our feelings.
By this I mean we recognize them, hand them to God. This is not easy, but far easier than internalizing and letting them build and dominate.
5. Which leads to the notion that then we are able to be liberated from our feelings rather than enslaved to them.
Is not our God a God of liberation? A God ready to walk with us and shoulder the load, a God who wants to help us restore our relationships with God and each other?
6. We find things to confess-but our sins are not the only or primary focus when paired with well-rounded prayer time.
7. We begin to experience healing.
8. We get over our Deism-
God is more present than we usually think, and desires a deeper relationship than we sometimes assume or allow.
9. We find the antidote to Pelagianism-the belief that life with God is a "do-it-yourself project."
If at first you don't succeed...is not a theology of grace and freedom.
Our lives are a response to God's love. Not a prerequisite.
So often in our days, people ask, "How are you?" We say "fine" and move on. Often this is just a pleasantry. The examen asks us to pay attention to that question, not as navel gazing, but for perspective- seeing ourselves in relationship to God's children, to creation, and to God. To keep us connected by asking where those connections are strong, where they need help. There, God is saying, "have a seat, how is it going? I've got all the time in the world to listen."