Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
It’s New Year’s Eve, that time when people all over the world resolve to change their ways and do better in the next year. I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions (and I am overflowing with thankfulness that I can live and walk in grace rather than in “trying harder”). I believe it is more practical to make changes in my life at the time God impresses on me the need to change rather than make sweeping plans for a calendar year. Yet, I have taken to one new practice that I read about in Mark Buchanan’s book. It is an ancient Christian practice called the prayer of examen. It has perhaps been one of the most convicting and teaching practices I have ever undertaken.
This is how it is described in The Rest of God.
“One way to practice this is to review your days at the end of each and ask two simple questions: Where did I feel the most alive, most hopeful, most in the presence of God? And where did I feel most dead, most despairing, farthest from God? What fulfilled me, and what left me forsaken? Where did I taste consolation, and where desolation?”
Buchanan says that it “trains us in the quirks and rhythms of our hearts and teaches us to track the wind of the Spirit.” I’ve found that it reveals the depths of my heart, ideas I need to changes, truths that I need to believe and so much more. In discovering this moment today caused desolation within me, then I must explore the question of why? Was it because I didn’t really trust God with that aspect of my life? Was it because I was moving away from God and flirting with sin? And those moments that caused my heart to soar with hope? What was I focusing on in that moment? How was the Spirit of God moving in the process of leading me in “the way everlasting?”
If I was going to make one resolution for 2010 it would be this, that I continue in faithfulness the process of asking myself these questions and so asking God to search my heart, to teach and lead me along the path of life eternal.