Tools for discernment

Here are a few tools for discernment with very brief descriptions. Note that this list is not exhaustive.

Breath prayer: Taking deep breaths in of God’s presence, then breathing out distractions.

Journaling: Writing honest reflections about joys, challenges, and questions.

Examen: Asking at the end of each day, “When did I feel closest to God today? When did I feel most removed from God?”

Centering prayer: Sitting quietly with eyes closed, choosing an anchoring thought or image, and returning to that image anytime a distracting thought pops into your mind.

Table grace: Giving thanks before meals.

Lectio divina: Praying the scriptures, listening for a word or phrase that catches you and reflecting on what God might be saying to you through it.

Visio divina: Looking at an image, focusing on what catches your eye and reflecting on what God might be saying to you through it.

Praying the hours: Offering prayers connected to the time of day, often incorporating the psalms.

Colloquy: Imagining a prayerful give-and-take conversation with God, Jesus, or another scriptural figure.

Open-ended questions:

  • Where have we seen God at work?
  • How do we feel in or out of sync with God?
  • Where are we encountering resistance? What might God be telling us through it?
  • What is God inviting us to do or consider?