Journaling is an active form or prayer that can have great benefits to your emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Prayer journaling not only changes you into becoming your best self; but it offers you a deeper appreciation for noticing and listening and hearing God’s wooing, warning and caring of you in the course of daily living a life of prayer and life as prayer back to God.
The art of journal or dairy writing has centuries of examples of those who participate in the action of writing ones thoughts, daily events, and forming a dialogue of progressive considerations in the pondering of ideas.
We all can recall the diary of Anne Frank. There are excerpts that historical fact finders use from the diaries of presidents to prove a political and religious viewpoint of their day. And there are journals that fill in the blanks of history from a feminine point of view. (Most of history is after all told from his story more than hers.)
1. Use Journaling as a tool to wellness.
The journal writing I have done in the last five years stems from the influence of the 1970’s to write for a wellness and balanced sake of self-reflection and emotional healing. Counselors and psychologists have utilized this genre for years.
This spiritual discipline of writing ones prayer journey will reveal clarity of healthier boundaries, toxicity of certain people or activities in your life, the need to put anger and forgiveness in appropriate perspectives, and what really makes you content/happy/blessed in that congruency of internal and external realities of being you.
2. Use Journaling as a spiritual dialogue
However, if we are clear about the purpose of journaling our story, our prayers, our thoughts, and the myriad of details that these areas provoke then the Bible itself is a form of journaling spiritual dialogue over a grief and loss that leads to wholeness and acceptance as in the book of Job. The story of Abraham and his family in Genesis 12-50 is the story of family dynamics and the beginning identity of a national identity told through story. The Psalms of David give us pause to reflect on God’s sojourning with us in all our human emotions that are timeless and remain relevant. The Gospels give grand depth to reform and consideration of knowing a God that belongs to everyone and everyone can call God their Father as Jesus shared and showed.
Prayer journaling has similar attributes as the writers of biography, storytelling of ones events, capturing the emotions of a situation, and offering the ponderings of reflections. Since prayer is simply the act of talking with God; journaling prayers is inking the same words one would speak to God. The challenge in the writing of prayers or speaking them is in the art of listening to what God can offer through the Holy Spirit in this spiritual discipline.
3. Use your journal as a mirror.
The words written offer a glimpse into knowing yourself as God knows you. Within the willingness to write down the events that challenge repentance, forgiveness, acceptance, and wisdom; there is a mirror in the words that offer reality of who you are and whose you are in the writing. Again there is a dialogue in the written words of a prayer journal that requires a form of noticing God’s presence with you.
4. Use your journal to learn from your inner and outer life.
Prayer journaling is a journey of growth and learning from all the thoughts, emotions, and duties of the day as it affects and opens up your internal world. There is only one goal in journaling ones prayers. It is the bringing together the congruency and consistency of your internal self with your external self. To be authentic to God – Self – Others is the definition of being comfortable in one’s own skin as a whole soul. And prayer journaling is a part of that transformation in a spiritual prayer practice of journaling.
5. Think of journaling as writing a daily letter to God.
By writing something to God every day is like writing a letter. When we read Paul’s letters to the churches there is a dialogue of defending himself as Apostle and leader in the faith. His letters hold the readers accountable to consider their relationships to God – Self – Others in the community of faith. His letters encourage the readers to stay the course of their relationships to God – Self – Others with maturity and standards befitting one who would claim Christianity.
In prayer journaling, like Paul’s letters, we can see the growth, accountability, encouragement, and changes within ourselves as we write to God the words that offer us the same consideration for accountability and encouragement.
6. Ask the Holy Spirit for God’s wisdom and clarity.
In the deeper elements of prayer journaling it is important to pray for the Holy Spirit of God’s wisdom to help you be clear and sure about the people, places, situations, circumstances, and search for where you and God the Father see God’s will for you. And within your freewill to choose God’s will; the prayer journaling can give you a compass and map of understanding and clarification.
7. Verify the conclusions of journaling with Scripture and wise counsel.
Prayer journaling is best balanced with the reading of scripture, seeking wise counsel of a spiritual director or pastoral counselor, reading other books for factual information on the subject you are praying through, and sharpening yourself with others who are trustworthy to be a prayer intercessor partnering with you and for you.
My personal experiences
In my own life, I have found that prayer journaling reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, helps me solve problems with a spiritual awareness, has dusted off creativity and capabilities, offers me the comfort of trusting my intuition with integrity, and sharpened my empathy to include me rather than exclude me.
Before prayer journaling I would have spent more time on intercessory prayers and the business of doing faith and family to please others first and most. Prayer journaling is about self- care with a spiritual prescription for personal soul wellness.
Prayer journaling has an endless level of positive attributes for dialoging with God in ink form. This form will lead to more informing and that will lead to transforming yourself into the human/divine soul that is uniquely and wonderfully you.
Copyright Rev. Debra Walters 2014. All rights reserved.