Year of Prayer September Prayer Practice: Praying through Journaling
"In the practice of journaling, we bridge these two worlds—the world of God’s Word and the world of our words—in an attempt to communicate to ourselves and others that which God would have us hear and know,"
~ Daniel Wolpert, Creating a Life with God.
Though we often think of prayer as an oral activity, whether spoken aloud or silently, written prayer infuses our worship and devotional time, and it has through the history of the church. We know the Psalms and even our basic prayer model, the Lord’s Prayer, because those before us have written them down. Writing is the way we can share the insights of fellow Christians through time and across distance.
Writing is not only an aid for creating and sharing polished prayers, however, it also serves as a form of prayer on its own. Journaling is a flexible practice that can be used as a way to reflect on other prayer techniques, or it can stand by itself. There are several ways that journaling can be used as prayer.
First, writing is a powerful way to gather our thoughts. As an aid to prayer, it can help us to put down ideas that come to us, so that we can move on without losing them. Putting thoughts on paper helps us to focus. Second, journaling can help us track insights and concerns over time. We can look back at our prayer sessions and see how our relationship with God has developed.
Third, journaling can prompt us to notice how God is acting in our lives. We can see patterns and the progress of God’s influence in our lives, that we may not realize in any given moment. In this way journaling serves not only as a way to express our own thoughts, but can develop in us the prayer skills of listening and noticing. Prayer is a two-way communication with God. Writing can open us up to God’s side of the conversation.
While it may seem strange that God’s words could be revealed through our own writing, if we believe in the power of prayer, we believe that God does want to speak to us. As Julian of Norwich wrote in Revelation of Love
, which tell of her divine visions: “I [God] am the ground of your beseeking: first it is my will that you have it, and then I make you want it: now since I make you seek, and then you do seek, how should it then be that you should not have whom you seek?” God wants to speak to us. Journaling prayer can be a channel for God’s voice.
During the month of September, we will be practicing journaling prayers as we seek God’s will in our lives, in our church, and in our world.
Lord, make us what you want us to be.
Susan Haddox, Lay Leader