This method of prayer is best used together within the "Awareness Exercise" . Essentially it consists in focusing the Awareness Exercise on a particular point for a period of time in order to work systematically at achieving some particular goal in our spiritual growth. We might be trying to transform some habitual attitude which we have identified in ourselves, or to change our typical way of reacting to a given set of circumstances. Deep changes in our long-standing attitudes, values, emotional reactions or patterns of thought and behavior take time. That is why we single out some particular goal and work at it for whatever period of time is required to achieve it.
This is not just an exercise in psychological self-help, although it includes human efforts according to sound psychological principles. It is essentially a prayer and an effort to dispose ourselves to receive the grace of God and to cooperate with it. For this reason the Particular Examen is best made within and as a part of that method of prayer we have called "The Awareness Exercise" .
To use the Particular Examen, we make these additions to the Awareness Exercise:
Each morning, when we rise, we remind ourselves what it is we want to work on and ask God's help to do it well this day.
When we make the Awareness Exercise, we specifically and explicitly include the particular point we are working on when we review the day to ask what has been happening, and when we take our stance toward what has been and what will be. For example, we try to identify the times we have fallen into a pattern of thought or behavior which we are trying to change, or how many times we have succeeded in adopting a stance we are trying to make habitual. Then we declare to God our gratitude or our regret with regard to these occasions, and we recommit ourselves to the goal we are focusing on.
Before going to sleep, we recall again what it is we are working to acquire, and we rededicate ourselves to it.