I have found that one of the enemy’s key strategies in my life is to seek to tempt me when I am least on my guard. It may be while I am searching for a topic on the computer or when I am casually walking in a store. Temptations such as anger, acedia, pride, and arrogance can seemingly come out of nowhere.
St. Ignatius speaks much about discernment, however, the ability of discernment requires awareness and the skill of awareness must be developed. The tool Ignatius used to help develop an awareness leading to a more discerning way of life was to practice the prayer of examen.
Ignatius believed we should practice the prayer of examen at least twice a day, once at noon time and the other at night. By taking the time to engage in this prayer (10-15 minutes) a person can become more aware of the times of temptation as well as the times in which God was drawing close to us in our daily lives.
The prayer of examen involves five (5) steps:
1. Stop and take the time to do something to remind you God is always present.
2. Think of the things you should show God gratitude during your morning or day.
3. Pay attention to the times you felt you were acting in God’s will and times in which you were moving away.
4. Confess you times of failure and ask God to help you depend on him in the hours, minutes, time ahead.
5. Look toward honoring God as you continue your day (specifically plan to do something you can do to honor God).
You will be amazed at how this simple act of prayer can strengthen you against the enemy’s actions.