Second Thursday of Lent/March 5/Prayers of Examen

Jeremiah 2:13 (NRSV)

For my people have committed two evils:
 they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
 and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns
that can hold no water.

I have all of God’s power, wisdom, strength and grace at my disposal. Why then do I so often trust in my own strength, my own best judgment, rather than taking my empty cup to that fountain to get it refilled? This is a serious charge that God brings against his people. Forsaking God? When have we done that? Perhaps more often than we would like to admit. And what follows when we stop trusting in God as our Life Source is that we then entrust ourselves to wells that run dry. How do I make sure I’m at the fountain of living water?

The first difficulty is that I have to admit my cup is empty. We so want to trust in ourselves and the belief that we are independent, self-empowered and self-made. The number of self-help books on the market is proof.  It is counter cultural and counter to our ego to stop and admit that our cup is empty. Even this morning, I’ve been working my way through my list, answering emails, forging ahead with my day without taking time to be still, and sit with God, and wait. But that is where I find my center, where I’m reminded of who I am, who God is, and he loves me.  That inner stillness is my strength.  The fountain is always flowing, but I have to see my own poverty and turn to God to receive its life-giving waters. What might change if we came to him admitting our emptiness and our need to be refilled, or re-minded of who we are in his eyes?

Today’s prayer practice: Examen of conscience

Isaiah 26:13 confesses, “O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but we acknowledge your name alone.”   As you sit with God and review your day in light of other gods, what comes up for you? What felt like Life to you, and what drained you? Were you aware of your emptiness? What other resources have you trusted in rather than seeking God? Where did you go to draw water? How thirsty are you now? Remind yourself of his unfailing love, and that the Source is always flowing. Our openness to that is all we need to receive it in full measure.

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