I have always loved words. When I was a child I aspired to be a writer and gleefully turned in imaginative stories for school and even sent a few type-writer typed manuscripts to some publishers. Much to my disgruntlement, none were ever accepted! Nevertheless, I continue to make writing a daily part of life. In my young adulthood, during a time I sought counselling, I began to journal, using The Artist’s Way; A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron for guidance. I commenced by following a stream-of-consciousness style, where the writer lays out whatever comes to mind in the moment: thoughts, emotions, memories, and workings of the heart. A routine practice is encouraged.
Though there were years with young children when writing was the farthest thing from my mind or capacity, I think the framework was laid earlier for my current practice of prayer journaling. Some years ago, I turned to journaling again when life events were quite a struggle and I needed to keep much of it confidential. As my frustrations and emotions poured out of me onto the page, I noticed that as I wrote I was talking to God. My journaling took on the shape of a conversational prayer. I named my gratitude before the gracious Holy One. I sought companionship with my friend, Jesus. I flooded with teary emotions the listening ear of the Advocate. I felt the fire of the Holy Spirit in a new idea taking shape. I commended those who I listed in prayer to a merciful and healing God. I sought comfort and peace, wisdom, and insight as I processed and sat with life. I paid attention.
Today, this daily prayer journaling has become a part of my weekday routine of drawing close to God. It is intentional time spent with God. I miss it when I can’t do it! At Christmas I was gifted a beautiful candle, and also gifted the perspective that routine can be like ceremony, when honoured as such. Now when I sit in my spot with my prayer journal with one of the kids’ left-over school notebooks, my Bible and my special shawl, I light the candle and it becomes even more of a ceremony than it already was. Spending time with God in this way brings a beauty to the routine of life that sustains and upholds me, whether on the valley bottom or on the mountain top. It prepares me for the day ahead and, crucially, reminds me I am not alone. Thanks be to God.