Our first object is a pen. I find journalling a helpful prayer tool: to reflect, process and invite God into my everyday. It gives me something concrete to mark moments and reflect back on, and my true thoughts often come to the surface as I write. If we are willing to pay attention, God teaches us through our reflection on our days.
‘Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.’
– Frederick Buechner
Of course, you don’t need to use pen or pencil, a notes app on your phone could be even more accessible (if you can manage not to be distracted!). I love to have uninterrupted time to write, but even a snatched 5 minutes can be helpful. And we have a train of thought to return to when interruptions appear.
I often turn to my journal to help me to process my own life experiences, but I also appreciate using more structured exercises sometimes. Here is a 10 minute exercise which came from the Ignatian Sprituality Centre in Glasgow.
– Take the phrase “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51, from Mark 10:46-52). Listen to Jesus asking you the question.
– Sit with the question and then journal freely.
– Note how you feel as you write, and also when you read what you have written, you could journal about this too.
Do you journal? How can this be prayer for you? If you do the exercise, do let me know how you find it!
‘Journalling is meditative writing. Spirit and body cooperate to release our true selves.’
– Jacqueline Bergan & Marie Schwan
‘If our writing makes us feel vulnerable then we are probably succeeding in stripping away the masks behind which we hide from God, our fellows, and ourselves.’
– Lawrence Osburn in Paper Pilgrimage
Ideas for Journalling as Prayer:
-Write freely, talking to God about what is on your mind from your day.
-Write some of the moments you’re grateful for in your day.
-Write a letter to God.
-Write a conversation between you and Jesus or between you and another biblical character.
-Consider and dialogue about a specific event or an experience.