Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: Jeremiah 30:1−2
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.”
Spiritual Practice: Journaling
There is something powerful in writing down your thoughts, prayers, and daily experiences. It gives you a chance to tell the truth in a way you might not otherwise disclose. It allows you to integrate multiple streams of thought, making connections that might have otherwise been lost. It allows you to see your prayers and desires to God, and maybe even pray them at least three times, (1) when you think the prayer (2) when you write the prayer and (3) when you go back and read the prayer again. Going back and reading the litany of prayers from last week, last month, or last year is a powerful reminder of the way God walks with us through our life. Things change quickly (and strangely simultaneously so very slowly) these days, and we have much to reflect on: journaling has the power to be a transformative discipline after 13 months of pandemic life.
“But I get writers block,” you might say. “But I don’t want anyone to find my prayer journal, it has too many private thoughts,” you might worry.
As for writer’s block, start simple: 3−4 sentences a day. Or maybe just a list of names or situations you would like to hand over to God. Or, and I’m not sure why this works, but I’ve tried it: try typing in a blank word document but turn the text to white so you can’t see the words you’ve just typed, and the only thing that matters is the next word and the next sentence you write.
As for confidentiality, sometimes just the act of writing down your prayers to God is the most important part of this spiritual practice, so try journaling your prayers, writing them down and reading over them, but then destroy your journaling paper every day. Then your prayers take on this ethereal quality, they disappear into the presence of the Holy Spirit. Alternatively keep a prayer journal that is simply a collection of prayers, scripture passages, and quotes that you can return today after day and share with others freely
God, you write your love across our very lives,
so let us write our love to you.
Let the content of our lives
flow from pen to paper,
so that we might notice anew
where your love, justice, and peace are unfolding.
Let deep reflection be
(not navel gazing but)
one of the quiet ways we let you shape our lives,
so that we are truly your hands and feet in the world.