What pastors are saying about the Daily Examen:
“The Daily Examen provided assurance in my calling and presence of God in what I do. The feeling of the presence of God in my ministry. This practice has made me more thankful and I’m able to calm down before going to bed.”
“Even if it isn’t a practice that fits your current season, it’s something to have in the tool bag. Once you get to a season that would be more appropriate, I think anything we can do to equip ourselves and help ourselves we should be doing.”
“I think [the Daily Examen] has helped me to relax a little bit. I feel like [Lent] is a good time to be doing this, since it is a time of reflection.”
The Daily Examen is a simple but powerful prayer used by Jesuits every day. It takes only 10-15 minutes and can be used reflect on positive emotions, move past negative emotions, and align your work with God’s work. In the Duke Clergy Health Initiative’s study of flourishing clergy, we found that flourishing pastors are more likely to do just that – to move past difficult emotions by focusing on their contributions to God’s larger plan. The Examen directs the person praying to focus on a five-step routine:
1. Become aware of God’s presence
2. Give thanks to God for everything in your life
3. Review the events of the day guided by the Holy Spirit
4. Look at what went well or wrong in the past day; if at fault, ask God for forgiveness
5. Look toward tomorrow – what one thing should you do? Listen to what God is telling you
Although the Daily Examen originates from Ignatian spirituality, it shares important commonalities with John Wesley’s beliefs. For both Wesleyan and Ignatian spirituality, the assurance of God’s love and freely given grace serve as the foundation. For both, honest self-examination is important to transform us for holy living. And for both, prayer is central and essential to this transformation of life and faith.
Click here to read more about the Daily Examen.
Meet the Presenters
Mark Shaw is a Spiritual Director who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In addition to Juris Doctorate and M.B.A. degrees, he holds an M. A. in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University. His focus in spiritual direction is for persons in leadership roles. He works with Ministers, Pastors and Deacons from various Christian traditions.
Mark W. Wethington is President of the Wesley Heritage Foundation, a non-profit which promotes Wesleyan thought, spirituality and practice among Spanish speakers, particularly in Latin America. He has a M.Div. from Duke and also a Ph.D. from Duke in New Testament Studies and Christian Theology. He served for 29 years as a local pastor in the North Carolina Conference, including as Senior Pastor of Duke Memorial UMC in Durham. He has given leadership to spiritual direction in the local church as well as across the national and global UMC.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a literature base?
The Daily Examen is a spiritual practice that has not been specifically studied for stress symptom reduction. However, the Daily Examen has strong self-compassion components, and there is a growing evidence that indicates that self-compassion interventions can improve one’s mental health. In addition, the Daily Examen focuses one’s attention on working in alignment with God, a focus which distinguishes flourishing UMC pastors from those experiencing burnout.
2. When and where is the workshop?
The workshop will take place May 20, 2019 at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham.
3. How much time should I expect to commit to this practice?
The Daily Examen will be taught in a one day workshop (no overnight stay involved). You are encouraged to practice the Daily Examen for 15 minutes per day for 3 months.
4. Is there a follow-up session?
Yes. Approximately two weeks after your workshop, you will be encouraged to participate in a follow-up session with Mark Shaw in which you may ask questions about the Daily Examen and voluntarily debrief your experiences and share any insights that you gained with other people in the study. This 60-90 minute session will be held over a web platform like Zoom with the option to participate by phone.