"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all, and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:2–3
Did you ever think of yourself as a letter of Christ? Well apparently, St. Paul felt the Spirit of the living God writes on our hearts. and that we are to be read and la1own by all. We should reflect our discipleship to the world! One way to be able to do this is to develop an intimate relationship with God. Keeping a prayer journal is a way to deepen our relationship with God. Just as writing letters, and sending cards to your friends and family can draw you closer to them. so can a prayer journal do the same for your relationship with God. The journals, which my husband and I wrote during our marriage encounter weekend are a treasure. Writing our thoughts as love letters to each other improved and strengthened an already good marriage. Just as the techniques of a marriage encounter weekend helped me grow closer to my spouse, keeping a prayer journal has enriched and deepened my relationship with God.
Keeping a prayer journal is a special gift. from you to God and from God to you. It is time set apart for you and God. A time of quiet prayer and reflection. A time when the Holy Spirit will guide you to find your true self: A time to discover who you are. This process of self. examination will help you experience God's love for you and will bring peace and joy into your life. This peace which passes all understanding will then allow you to share your faith and love with others.
A prayer journal is meditative writing after prayerfully reflecting on God's Word. This approach to prayer, first requires reflective reading of Scripture or of other sacred or spiritual writings. Then we put pen or pencil to paper, or put our fingers to a keyboard, and write about what we just read.
In keeping a prayer journal we are actually writing to the one we love, Our Lord. When we read the Bible, God's love letter to us, the Holy Spirit reveals the nature of God to us. Reading God's word is a transforming experience. By reflecting and writing about this experience, we become more aware of God's presence in our own lives.
After reading scripture often we experience many emotions. We might feel like praising and adoring God or we might wish to thank Him for his love. Sometimes we may feel sorry for our sins. In writing we may discover that our emotions are intensified. In fact, we may discover hidden or suppressed emotions, such as anger, fear, contrition, or resentments. We may also discover joy, love, and deep feelings of peace.
Keeping a prayer journal is like going on a journey and taking lots of photographs to remember where you visited. The pages of your journal will reflect on your journey with God. God is not only your companion. He will be your guide, your strength and your comforter. Writing in a prayer journal helps you discover your inner being. The very place where Christ dwells within you.
Discovering your true self will be God's gift to you, and to your family and friends. As you grow in faith, the people around you will also benefit. In becoming intimate with God, you will find improved relationships with the people around you. You will grow spiritually as you develop a deeper appreciation for Scripture.
Sometimes keeping a journal will be difficult, and at other times very easy. Sometimes the words flow easily, at other times writing your deepest feelings may be uncomfortable or even painful. Often, we like to put off what is uncomfortable" or we neglect the uncomfortable completely. It will take courage to face these feelings. However, remember you are never alone. God is with you always and often healing will be the end result.
There are many methods for prayer journaling. Here are some examples. Write a letter addressed to God, Jesus, or The Holy Spirit. Write a letter to yourself, as if you received it from God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
Write answers to questions, which appear in Scripture, questions that Jesus posed to his apostles and disciples. There are many questions that Jesus asked his friends. Here are just a few; "Who do you say that I am?" "Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye'?" "Anyone who believes in me, even though he dies will live... Do you believe this?" etc. How would you answer His questions?
Another technique is to copy words from Scripture. Then rewrite the Scripture that touches your heart into your own prayer. Additionally, you could try to rewrite a Psalm or Proverb into your own words.
Writing a conversation between oneself and another can be therapeutic. For instance, perhaps you need to reconcile a relationship from the past, but the person is dead or you no longer know where the person lives. It could even be a situation where the other person refuses to talk with you. Writing to them in your prayer journal may be a way to handle this problem and bring about healing.
Use your senses as you reflect on Scriptures or Sacred writings. Then write in response to your senses. Start your entry with words like; I see. . . I hear. .. I feel... etc. Imagine or pretend that you are actually present in a particular scene that you have just read in scripture. Dialogue with one or more of the figures in this reading.
Today there are many prayer journals being published. Choose one that appeals to you Perhaps, you might like to start with a journal that follows the Lectionary for daily or weekly readings. Maybe you might choose a liturgical season such as Advent or Lent to begin the practice of keeping a prayer journal- I found the structure of a published journal helpful when I first started to keep a prayer journal. Of course, your personal computer or any blank journal can work just as well.
Find a quiet place to do your reading of Scripture, and then to do your writing. Make it your sacred space. Sometimes establishing rituals helps. For instance, you might want to say the same prayer before beginning, or you might light a candle. Try to set aside time in your schedule to keep a prayer journal. A particular time each day or even each week may be helpful. The choice is yours.
From time to time reread your prayer journal. See how you have grown. You might even develop new insights about your relationship with God. As you read and reread your journal you will ascertain different choices that you have made in life, the good, the bad, and those in between. Hopefully, these insights will help you lead a better life in the future. A life that will be centered on God and on loving your neighbor.
Your prayer journal will contain your personal thoughts and feelings and should be meant for your eyes only. However, there may be times when you might want to share what you have written with others. A spiritual friend, a loved one, or your pastor may offer additional insights to you after you have shared with them. This can offer an additional blessing to you.
"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, 'if any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. ' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At that they started to go away one at a time." John 8: 6–9
When faced with a difficult situation, Jesus felt the need to write. And as the rest of chapter eight of the gospel of John shows us, His writing was most effective in helping the adulterous woman, and also in teaching a lesson to His contemporaries. Writing a prayer journal may prove to be a teaching tool for you as well. As you get to know God and yourself better through journaling, you will become a "letter of Christ" for all the world to read, "written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God!"
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