Praying the Examen

The Examen is a prayer created by St. Ignatius of Loyola. It is an incredible tool for reflecting on your day and looking for God in all things! I've put together a few resources to help little ones walk through the prayer.

About a year ago now, our family began praying the Examen at night before bed. When we first started praying the Examen it felt very scripted, but now that we've been doing it for over a year, it comes very naturally. My husband and I love hearing our little ones (ages 5 & 3) articulate their joys and sorrows, prayers and hopes. I cannot recommend this prayer enough! You can download a printable pictured below by visiting our Teachers Pay Teachers store, click here

Matthew Kelly's book, Goodnight Jesus, was a good starting point for our family to begin a version of the Examen with our kids. It walks little ones through thanking Jesus and reflecting on their day. We decided to add on to prayer and soon it became so well-loved that we decided it should be a staple each night. 

Here is the breakdown of our family's take on the Examen. It might appear to be lengthy, but I would say our family Examen takes under five minutes. The kids are quick to come up with answers so it moves quickly. 

1. Give Thanks
    - "Dear Jesus, thank you for a wonderful day. Thank you for..."
    Other suggested prompts:
  • What are you most grateful for today? (Help your little ones pick specific things like their favorite food at dinner or that special goodbye hug from grandma)
  • Tell God about your favorite moment from the day. 
2. Say Sorry
    - "Dear Jesus, I'm sorry for any times today that I was not loving, thoughtful, or kind. Please forgive me for..." 
    Other suggested prompts:
  • Name a moment from today when you did not choose to love. Tell Jesus you are sorry for your mistake. (Little ones might need help at first identifying moments to be sorry for. They will catch on quickly once they begin to recognize loving actions from hurtful actions)
  • Tell God you are very sorry for your sins and ask for His forgiveness.
3. Be Proud
    - "Dear Jesus, today I made a good choice when I..." 

     Other suggested prompts:
  • What was a good choice you made today?
  • Tell God about something you did today that you are proud of. (Parents this is a good time to point out things you noted throughout the day that made you proud of your child).
4. Set a Goal (this step would be best for older children, but with scaffolding can be used with younger          ones)
    - "Dear Jesus, tomorrow I will work on..." 
     Other suggested prompts:
  • What will you do to become a more loving person tomorrow?
  • Tell God your goal for becoming the best version of yourself/the person God is calling you to be.
5. Say a Prayer

    - "Dear Jesus, please be with all those who are hungry, lonely, or sick. Today we would like to pray especially for..."
  • Choose a prayer to say as you look forward to a new day and another opportunity to grow in love.
Our family chooses to end with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, since those are all prayers we want our children to know by heart!