The Daily Examen Prayer is an ancient Christian spiritual practice that helps you to reflect on your day in the presence of God. This prayer involves being still, being grateful, reviewing your day, asking for help, and looking forward to tomorrow. The Five Finger Examen is a great way to adapt this prayer practice to children. (It’s also great for adults to help you remember the steps of the Examen.)
The Five Finger Examen Prayer is a simpler version of the Daily Examen, still following all the same steps but with some simplified language and questions. This is different than the Five Finger Prayer (developed by Pope Francis), which focuses on intercessory prayer. The Daily Examen (developed by St. Ignatius) is a prayer to review our day and look forward to tomorrow.
Want to teach your kids to pray? The Five Finger Examen is a great way to pray the Daily Examen for kids. Using your fingers to help you remember the steps of the Examen prayer makes a great mnemonic device. Start with what is most important: being present with God. (Just like we give a thumbs up to things we like and think are important.) Point out all the good things in your day (your pointer finger). Notice what stood out during the day (your tallest, middle finger). Ask God for help fulfilling your responsibilities and promises (your ring finger). And then look forward to tomorrow and think about small changes that you can make (your smallest finger).
How to Pray The Five Finger Examen
- Be still. Our thumb reminds us of what is important. Notice your breath, try to still your mind, and be present to God and yourself.
- Be grateful. As our index finger points things out to people, reflect on your day and point out everything you’re grateful for.
- Notice. Our middle finger is usually the longest and the one that stands out. What stood out to you today? Where have you felt happy today? Sad? Frustrated? Were there any challenges today? Any victories?
- Ask for help. Our ring fingers are where we put our wedding rings. Think about your responsibilities and promises you have made. What do you need God’s help with? Is there anything you need to say sorry for?
- Look ahead. Our pinky finger is our smallest one. Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. Think about tomorrow. What do you hope for? Are there any little changes that you can make?