Tuesday, July 13, 2010

journaling and prayer

I’m thinking about what Dallas Willard said about prayer, and about how it’s conversation with God about matters of mutual concern. And it made me feel better about how I usually pray – which is often in my journal.

I've been journaling regularly since the first day of eighth grade, and often, my best prayer times happen when I'm journaling. Because I don't journal to record events; I journal to figure things out. When I journal, I take what is bothering me, these big knotty problems that I can’t see a way around, and I lay them all out on the table, spreading them out so I can examine all the different bits, and I try to do that consciously in the Lord’s presence, inviting Him in and saying, “what is this? What am I missing? What do I do about this? Help me. Help me see what I’m seeing, help me know what to do, what my approach should be. Give me wisdom. Have mercy on me. Help me.”*

 And that? According to Willard, that is prayer. He said that the heart of prayer is the request. That there are other things a praying person will have in his life, like thanksgiving and praise, but that the heart of prayer is the request. And this, this laying out my problems and trying to look at them with the Lord – that’s prayer.

 I guess I always felt a little badly, because I so often felt like I prayed in my troubles and not in my joys. But now I see: prayer is for the troubles. Thanksgiving and praise is for the joys. It’s okay. It’s like in that song “Sacred” by Caedmon’s Call, where the singer is talking about her children and says, “Teach me to run to You/Like they run to me/For every little thing.” I am God’s child, and running to Him for “every little thing” is kind of what I’m supposed to be doing. That is, given the relationship, it makes sense. This is how children treat their parents.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

*It's become this more and more as I've gotten older. It wasn't all prayer at the beginning and still isn't now, but the further I get in His service, the more it all become that.  


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