A prayer journal helps us to remain focused on such an experience, particular theme or subject and assist us greatly in bringing us back to any ‘unfinished’ business.
JOURNALING IN PRAYER
ICCRS Councillor, Chairperson NSC Australia
(Used with permission ICCRS Newsletter 2018)
Catholic tradition teaches us that God is a God who longs to continually communicate with us. The Church states that He does this in 3 basic ways: Through Creation; the voice of our conscience; and Sacred Scripture. God is always striving to get the attention of every human being. A couple of questions we can ask ourselves is “how do I communicate with God?” and “Do I strive and use means at my disposal for this purpose?”
A prayer journal can be a tool to assist a prayer with this personal God communication (prayer). Some Saints who have used this tool to record their interior lives are St Ignatius of Loyola (Spiritual Exercises) and St Therese of Lisieux (The Story of a Soul). Millions have been beneficiary of their written recordings and the revelations of their interior lives have and continue to inspire a multitude of Christians.
A prayer journal is not a chronological diary of prayer with a particular written form. It is not a theological thesis nor needs to be grammatically correct. Put simply it is an interior dialogue of prayer, captured on paper, between the writer and God: A conversation of one heart to another. This journal can record great joy and equally deep sorrow. It can use many words or very few. It can be poetic or chaotic. There can be times in our spiritual journey when it seems as though we are the ones doing all the talking. God is Silent. Recording our prayer experiences during these times can reveal the ‘still silent voice of God’.
We are becoming ‘surface dwellers’ with no time to journey towards depth and mystery.
The Information Technology highway in today’s world gives us answers at the touch of a button. Our minds can be entertained through many different mediums and this has affected our prayer communication with God. We are becoming ‘surface dwellers’ with no time to journey towards depth and mystery. With little hesitation we can jump from one ‘thought’ (or scripture verse) to another. We are losing the ability of waiting patiently, of going deeper. Due to this inability it is becoming rare to ‘taste’ our prayer experiences (or lack of prayer experiences) with God. We no longer savour its full flavour or give it adequate time to reveal the full message contained within its depths.
We can experience God’s presence during our prayer time in a very powerful way yet within a matter of hours or days easily forget this encounter. However if we record our experience in a prayer journal it brings us back to that experience and gives the Holy Spirit space to work with deeper revelation. A prayer journal helps us to remain focused on such an experience, particular theme or subject and assist us greatly in bringing us back to any ‘unfinished’ business.
A prayer journal can be a very powerful tool when dealing with past hurts. These hurts and emotions can be so deeply hidden within us that it’s difficult to get in touch with them and almost impossible to express, through the spoken word, the deep emotions happening within us. Our journal can be our best friend where we can record through the written word, the powerful emotions welling within us. We can use our recordings to safely confront ourselves, our aggressors or God Himself. Through these recollections we have the ability to see paths of Grace; paths of weakness; the Hand of God at work in our lives.
God desires a living close relationship with all His people. He constantly invites us to draw deeper into the mystery of who He is and the depth of His love for us. Our prayer connection must be deepening if we are to experience the fullness of life that God is offering to us. Praying the same now as we were a couple of years ago would indicate that we may not be completely open to the Grace being offered, to deepen in this relationship with God. A pray journal is one way to turn this around.