To Know Christ
“You cannot know Jesus without having problems… by sitting in first class… in the calm… in the library. We only come to know Jesus on the daily path of life… in order to know Jesus, we need to enter into a dialogue with Him. By talking with Him, in prayer, on our knees. If you don’t pray, if you don’t talk to Jesus, you don’t know Him. It is by following Him, by going to Him, by walking with Him, by traveling along the road of His ways.” ~ Pope Francis during Morning Meditation, Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, Thursday, September 26, 2013.
The above passage was taken from the book, Reflections from Pope Francis, An Invitation to Journaling, Prayer, and Action, by Susan Stark and Daniel J. Pierson, Published by the Penguin Group LLC, New York, New York. I highly recommend purchasing this book as one of your prayer journal tools.
Christ teaches us how to pray
Luke 11:1-4 (NKJV)
“… one of His disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.” So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is
Indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
I learned the Lord’s Prayer from my parents and in Sunday school at church. It is one of my earliest memories of learning. It is a prayer I recite publicly from the church pew as well as in private. But, I confess there have been times when I have recited the Lord’s Prayer without much concentration and feeling toward the meaning of the words.
As I mentioned in my April 10, 2016, post, “The Prayer Journals,” my ultimate meltdown came during and after being severed from a long time career in the financial services industry. Each night I lay tossing and turning, sobbing, calling out to God in my prayers for peace and answers. “NOW WHAT, GOD??” I would be so exhausted from the panic and the stress of trying to find a job that often my prayers were just rambling questions and pleas for answers. Unfocused and overwhelmed, my reciting the Lord’s Prayer were simply mechanical attempts.
“When you pray, don’t ramble like heathens who think they’ll be heard if they talk a lot. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “ Matthew 6:7-8
Obviously, that Bible verse caught my attention. God wants me to pray for comfort in troubling times, but my prayers must be from the heart guided by faith and trust in Him. How could I overcome my wretched tiredness of my situation to spending quality time with Him? Not only to pray but to listen for His answer as well?
For those of us who were born before the Internet, do you remember receiving a letter in the mail? Maybe it was a friend writing to you about their summer vacation, or perhaps it was from your Grandmother wishing you a happy birthday. Were you excited to receive these letters and cards as I was?
Do you remember writing letters to them too? I remember carefully choosing the right card or stationary to write my message. Then placing the stamp carefully in the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. Those friendships and relationships were special to me.
Isn’t that the type of relationship I should have with God?
Would God be excited if I wrote to Him daily?
My prayer journal has become my daily meditation and interaction with God.
In my last post, “The Holy Bible – Our Handbook,” I provided my favorite Bible translation and formats including my favorite journal and pen. I do not recommend the electronic prayer journal for several reasons.
Firstly, physically writing my prayers versus clicking a keyboard helps me to mentally focus on what I prayerfully share in my journal. Studies have also shown that we remember more and longer when we write than what we type.
Secondly, I carry my prayer journal with me in my purse (it’s a big purse) or briefcase. There are moments during the day when I want to spend time with God, and perhaps jot down thoughts or topics I want to explore later. If I am having a stressful moment, I can find peace when I am able to bow my head and then share it on paper. If I am traveling or running errands I would not be able to readily access my journal if it was on my computer, or on my iPad which usually has a low battery.
And lastly, I like to review my previous journal entries and record how God has answered my prayers. I don’t want them in a cloud somewhere (although I know they would be protected from fire or some other loss); but for me, just like my Bible, I want a physical book to re-read. It’s my map of where I have been, how far God has brought me, and where He still needs to take me.
Praying the Scripture:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in (me) richly; reach and admonish one another in wisdom; and with gratitude in (my heart I will) sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever (I) do, in word or deed, (I will) do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17
Prayer Writing Prompt:
“The biggest communication problem we have is that we do not listen to understand; we listen only to reply.” Anonymous
When it comes to my desires, I am frustrated with God’s seemingly lack of response. When I pray, am I devoted to my desire or to God?
I hope you will continue to follow The Prayers Journal Blog. I have much more to share with you on the purpose and blessings of keeping a daily personal prayer journal. (Click the pop-up button “Follow” in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.)
Blessings! I am praying for you!