A Posture of Compassionate Curiosity | Passing the Peace

We hope this tool can be used to encourage reflection, integration, and humble pursuit of the Way of Jesus.

Each day is filled with joys, challenges, and mundane moments. It is our hope that you have found this prayer to be a helpful way to slow down, listen and reflect on your day.

This month, we invite you to further explore the invitation of the internal movement of the Prayer of Examen. Pastor and theologian, Rich Villodas highlights the importance of internal examination in his brilliant book, The Deeply Formed Life. He writes, “In the examination of our reactions, we live from a place of depth, wisdom and discernment.”

As the people of God, it is vital that we engage with ‘gentle noticing’ about what is being brought to our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. We have recommended this grounding prayer to center yourself in God’s love and grace as you pray aloud: “I am your dearly loved child. Form me into your image. Empower me to live as a reconciler and peacemaker.” We encourage you to perhaps discover your own grounding prayer that invites you into a posture of submission, wonder and invitation.

A small, orange tongue of fire on a dark background.

The Examen is not about assigning value, worth or ‘grading’ our performance of the day. It is truly an invitation to reflection. In Luke 6 and Matthew 7 (Luke 6:41,42 and Matthew 7:3-5), we are instructed to take care that we do not fixate on the sawdust in another person’s eye when we may very well have a plank in our own. This caution is wise to consider, especially in the disintegrating moment we find ourselves in– fraught with opportunities to ‘other’, accuse and divide when differences arise. As the people of God, we can and must respond differently. 

 One of our core values at Arrabon is cultivating a posture of compassionate curiosity. This often starts with how we treat ourselves— for many of us, we are our own harshest critics. I appreciate the way the Prayer of Examen allows me the opportunity to be curious with myself and Holy Spirit about what is stirring inside of me and why that might be. This ‘gentle noticing’ invitation allows all of us to go through the examen without judgment or shame, but with an openness to whatever Holy Spirit might want to bring out of the shadow and into the light for examen. It is in this space that God meets us with grace, truth and His loving presence. There is great freedom on the other side of this honest engagement with our true selves. 

Prayer of Examen

Get in a comfortable position– sitting, standing, walking, lying down. Take a few deep breaths, acknowledging the gift of breath in your lungs from our loving Creator.

Consider our cultural moment, the latest news headlines, interpersonal tensions, personal struggles, the brokenness of the world, or the anxieties of society. Each time you engage with this practice, invite God to bring a particular example to your mind.

Before you begin the Examen, ground yourself in God’s love and grace, praying aloud:

I am your dearly loved child. Form me into your image. Empower me to live as a reconciler and peacemaker.

Internal Examen: Naming the tension and feeling within ourselves

Cultivate compassionate curiosity about the ‘narrative’ that these feelings stir up inside of us about ourselves and then to respond with the truth of God’s loving grace as found in Scripture. To encourage this posture, ask ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions.

  • What areas of tension (i.e. physical, emotional, interpersonal) do you notice?
  • Where are you experiencing fear and anxiety?
  • Where are you experiencing grief?
  • Where are you experiencing anger?
  • What other emotions are you experiencing?

    (It may be helpful to find a resonant emotion on the Feelings Wheel.) Bring that emotion before the loving presence of God.

  • What has happened? What was the trigger for me?
  • What is the story I am telling myself?
  • What does Scripture say is true?
  • What Kingdom action may be needed from me to further embody reconciliation with myself, Christ, and others?

Written by Beth Cossin. Originally published in Arrabon’s email newsletter “Passing the Peace.” Sign up for our newsletter below.

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