Pow! Wow! How?

“Happy are those who make the Lord their trust…I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation.” – Psalm 40

I learned a new twist on an age-old spiritual practice called the Ignatian Examen at youth group the other day. It’s called Pow Wow How.

The kids use it to check in with each other and with God. Pow! reveals a recent struggle. Wow! tells of something they are grateful about. And How? tells the group how the speaker saw God at work in their life that week.

The efficacy of both practicing gratitude and cultivating “emodiversity” (including acknowledging negative emotions) has been widely documented by researchers in positive psychology. That is, doing both these things makes us happier.

And as for looking backward in your life for God, Jesus did say, “those who seek, shall find.” After all, most spiritual insight is hindsight: like Moses, most of us see God best after She’s gone by already.

Summer’s coming, and with it, many of us get unmoored from our communities of faith and regular spiritual routines. Consider taking a practice of POW~WOW~HOW with you on the road, and notice what happens to your heart, mind, soul and strength.


God, thank you for scientists, who are proving your age-old strategies for happiness true. And thank you for youth, who give us new ways to draw closer to You and each other. Amen.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God.