First of all, I review the year in two practical ways (we’ll come to the prayerful bit in a moment):
1. By reviewing my journal, but only at a cursory level.
2. By walking through my calendar in some detail, one week at a time, recalling (and writing down) the notable events, emotions and experiences of the year gone by.
I find this exercise brings clarity and joy. It’s like that moment when climbing a mountain, you pause and turn, as much to catch your breath as to catch a view of the valley. A review of the year is literally that - a ‘re-view’, a new view - of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen.
As someone who often feels like a failure, it’s wonderful to gain perspective and to discover surprising symmetry in the chaos of my life. Experiences which seemed isolated at the time emerge as fractals of a greater unfolding pattern. I perceive ways in which I’m changing, lessons I’m learning and evidence of God’s faithfulness in the cracks and details of my days.
This process is a form of the prayer of *Examen*. The Ignatians used Latin words to outline its four stages, but I do it more simply, like this:
#1. RECALL - the year in as much detail as I can. It’s not a showreel!
#2. REJOICE - wherever God‘s blessings become evident.
#3. REPENT - wherever sinful patterns or attitudes become clear.
#4. REBOOT - How can I be more like Jesus in the year to come?
“I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”