Rediscovering John Wesley's Prayers of Examen: Prayers for Denying Self


The term you'll find for today's prayers and examen questions, I have changed to Denying Self.  The term originally used was mortification.  Since this term is not a common term used in our language today and comes with misunderstandings, I thought it best to substitute.  For John Wesley, self denial was a spiritual practice where a Christian seeks to avoid excessive pleasure by denying those pleasures and accept difficulties as they come throughout the course of one’s day or life.  In this way, especially during the season of Lent, it is very appropriate to consider how we might deny ourselves.

Wednesday: Denying Self

MORNING
General questions for every morning:
1.  Did I think of God first and last?
2.  Have I examined myself how I behaved since last night’s retirement?
3.  Am I resolved to do all the good I can this day and to be diligent in the business of my calling?

Prayer
O Thou, who dwells in the light which no human being can approach, in whose presence there is no night, in the light of whose face is perpetual day: I your sinful servant, whom you have cared for this night and who will live today by your strength; I bless and glorify you for the protection of your almighty providence!  I pray humbly that this day and all my days may be completely devoted to your service.

…You did not seek to please yourself, yet for your ‘pleasure all things are and were created.’  Let some portion of Your Spirit fall on me, so I may ‘deny myself and follow you’...Help me abstain from pleasures which do not prepare me for taking pleasure in You…



EVENING
Particular Question relating to Denying the Self

1.  Have I done anything just because it was pleasing?
2.  Have I done what passion tempted me to do or did I do the opposite?
3.  Have I been on the receiving end of inconveniences which I could not avoid?  Did I accept these experiences as something God allowed?
4.  Have I tried to come up with excuses to avoid self-denial?
5.  Have I looked at a situation and thought it is too small a thing for me to worry about denying myself?
6.  Except in situations where God's glory is concerned, have humbled myself with others who have opposed my thoughts and plans?
7.  Have I taken time out of my day after I have experienced what I thought was suffering for Christ and my own sins?  With this time have I listened for God's judgement and thought how to change my behavior?

Prayer
You whose mercy is without measure, whose goodness is unspeakable, do not despise your servant as I prepare for sleep.  I plead for your forgiveness and a continued relationship with You...

Have mercy on all who are experiencing suffering; remember the poor and needy, the widow and the fatherless, the friendless and the oppressed; heal those who are sick and without hope.  Give them your holy and loving presence.  When you see it is best for them, accept them into the company of the saints who have already died and into your everlasting kingdom...





Ken's Note:
If you are just now coming into this series of blog posts, I have taken these daily prayers and questions of personal examination, and sought to translate some of the more archaic English phrases of John Wesley used in the 18th century, into language easier to understand.  Where available, I have removed the “thee” and “thou” to make it easier and still keep the intent.  My hope and prayer is you’ll find, as I have, these prayers and practices which John Wesley provided to Christians to be both Biblical and applicable to your own spiritual life and practice.

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