DPD2 – Ignatian Wisdom of the Examen Prayer – The Daily Prayer of Discernment: The Examen Prayer with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Ignatian Wisdom of the Examen Prayer – The Daily Prayer of Discernment: The Examen Prayer with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor discuss the Examen Prayer, a significant practice in Ignatian spirituality introduced by St. Ignatius of Loyola. It’s  role in enhancing one’s spiritual life by fostering a clear-sighted faith and increasing awareness of God’s presence and actions in daily life. Fr. Gallagher explains that the Examen Prayer is not just introspection or examination but a relational dialogue between the person and God.

The first step in the Examen is gratitude, where one reflects on the day to recognize and appreciate the gifts and love received from God. This step sets a positive foundation for the rest of the prayer, encouraging individuals to focus on God’s actions before considering their responses. Gallagher shares personal anecdotes to illustrate how recognizing these daily gifts can transform one’s perspective and deepen the relationship with God.

Gratitude, he argues, is the most effective way to grow in love for God, as it opens the heart to the endless outpouring of God’s gifts. This practice, even when initially challenging, gradually reshapes one’s spiritual awareness and relationship with the divine.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. The Essence of the Examen Prayer How does the Examen Prayer foster a deeper relationship with God rather than being just an act of introspection or examination?
  2. Importance of Gratitude Why does St. Ignatius prioritize gratitude as the first step in the Examen Prayer, and how can this practice transform our daily spiritual lives?
  3. Recognition of God’s Gifts Reflect on a specific instance in your life where recognizing God’s gifts changed your perspective. How can daily acknowledgment of these gifts impact your overall spiritual growth?
  4. Overcoming Initial Challenges What challenges might you face when starting the Examen Prayer, especially in the step of gratitude, and how can persistence help in overcoming these challenges?
  5. Daily Application and Benefits How can setting aside a few minutes each day to practice the Examen Prayer, specifically focusing on gratitude, lead to a richer and more fulfilling spiritual life?
  6. Relationship Dynamics In what ways can recognizing and appreciating the gifts from God change your relationship with Him and others in your life?
  7. Practical Implementation Considering Fr. Gallagher’s examples, how can you practically implement the Examen Prayer in your daily routine to enhance your spiritual awareness and relationship with God?


As outlined from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

(translated from the autograph by Fr. E. Mullan, S.J.  1909 in the public domain)

It contains in it five Points.

First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.
Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.
Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.
Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.
Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace.


Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

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