While verbal prayer is a way for us to communicate the contents of our heart and soul with the Holy One, recording our life of prayer in a journal makes it possible for us to delve more deeply into the inner core of our being. Our prayer becomes more real, more full, more tangible, more sure. Writing not only provides a space for us to examine the needs that rest close to the surface of our lives, it also pushes us to look at what causes us dis-ease, and all that makes our heart throb. We can pour it all out in words and images on the blank page, and communicate with the Holy One in a palpable way. As we empty ourselves, an open space is created within us for grace and new possibility. When we least expect it, we glance around and find that we are hearing the lovely whisper of God in return.

journaling exercises:

  1. Write a prayer in thanksgiving for:

    • Your life
    • Those who share your life
    • The world of nature
    • The challenges that help you grow
    • The questions that keep you searching
    • The doubts that cause you to struggle with your faith
    • The joys that keep your heart buoyant
    • The hours of rest that refresh you for life
    • The silence that teaches you to be still
    • The fears that keep you from becoming complacent
    • The work that demands your best effort
    • The ideas that keep your creativity moving
    • The sorrows that help you have compassion for others
  2. Engage in a dialogue with the Holy One by writing out questions that have concerned you. After you have prayed, record the insights that have been given.

  3. Imagine that you are having a conversation with a young child about prayer. What would you want most to communicate? What prayers would you say? How would you teach that child to pray? How could your experiences of prayer be helpful? What cautions, questions, certainties would you offer? If you were to teach the child one prayer that he or she could carry throughout the day, what prayer would that be?

  4. Use the journal to reflect on your feelings about prayer. This might include the times when prayer has been answered in your life, and when it has not. When has prayer confirmed your faith? When has it increased your doubt? What does praying according to God’s will mean to you? How do you line up free will with the hopes of heaven? When are you most moved to pray? What are the obstacles that keep you from praying?

  5. Pretend you are Jim Carey in the movie Bruce Almighty. How would you handle the prayers of all those who cried out if you were doing God’s job for a day? What would be most important to you about answering prayer? How would you help people to believe when they were unwilling to listen? How would you help people move to a deeper level of prayer when their initial prayers seemed too superficial and self-serving?

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