Years ago I enlisted the help of a therapist for postpartum depression after my second son was born. I had my children in mid-thirties, and I wanted to be that perfect mother. Constantly worried about whether I was parenting correctly and obsessed with their safety, I knew that I needed help. After a few months of therapy, I remember one session where the therapist advised me, “One day, Sheri, I am going to see your teenage children in here.” She proceeded to share with me how some of my behaviors could have a dramatic effect on my relationship with my children. After that session, I felt as though I had been ‘verbally’ spanked but I was grateful for it. She made me sit up and take notice. I am blessed to have wonderful and loving relationships with both of my sons because I heeded her advice.
So when I read a devotion by Oswald Chambers last week, I felt again as though I had been verbally spanked. It made me sit up and say, WOW! While the devotion was entitled, “The Habit of Having No Habits,” the message was clear about my prayer journal habit.
“Your god may be your little Christian habit – the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, ‘I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.’ No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality,” writes Oswald Chambers.
Here is the link to read the entire devotion: http://utmost.org/the-habit-of-having-no-habits/
I have been guilty of loving the habit of my journal writing – the habit of writing – so much so that at times I have consciously missed to simply meditating on His Word, His presence at that moment, and forgetting to put down the pen to quietly listen to God.
As Oswald Chambers wisely ends this particular devotion, “Remember that ‘the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit’ is before all else.”
Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?
My prayer journal has helped me to focus attention inwardly on my relationship with God. I have created this habit of writing daily in my prayer journal, and I take my journal almost everywhere I go. However, this Oswald Chamber helped me to question whether my journal writing was a self-examination of my relationship with God, or was my prayer journal just an opportunity to write everything that was going on in my life?
Truthfully, the answer was both.
Writing in my prayer journal is a spontaneous habit in my life, but the habit hasn’t always been immersed in drawing closer to God. I thank Oswald Chambers for verbally spanking me just has my therapist had many years ago to set me on the right path.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8
“If we can change our attitudes about prayer – thinking of it as a process that builds our relationship with God – and cultivate a daily prayer time, we can become strong people of prayer. And the prayer life we develop has the potential to completely transform our lives.” John Maxwell, Author, and Speaker
When I begin my daily prayer time, I read several Christian devotions and then I end with reading Scripture before I begin writing. God speaks to me in many different ways and in my circumstances, as well as, through other people’s perspectives. Devotion topics lead me to spiritual self-examination allowing me to explore where I am in my relationship to God. I am able then to journal my own perspective and allowing God to work with me in whatever is limiting my understanding or acceptance of His Will for my life.
The following daily devotion websites are some of my favorite reflective readings:
Our Daily Bread www.odb.org
Oswald Chambers www.utmost.org
Rick Warren www.rickwarren.org
InTouch Ministries www.intouch.org
Lutheran Women’s Missionary League www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions
Biblegateway www.biblegateway.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.
Crosswalk www.crosswalk.com/devotionals has a list of daily devotions.
Praying the Scriptures:
“Give (me) each day (my) daily bread.” Luke 11:3
“Trust in the Lord with all (my) heart, and do not rely on (my) own insight. In all (my) ways acknowledge him and he will straight (my) paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:67-68
Prayer Writing Prompt:
If my devotions lead me to Jesus, then they are good. But, if I stay where I am, something is wrong. Is there someplace where I am not at home with God?
Am I limiting myself from doing certain things that restrict me from drawing closer to God?
You can now follow The Prayer Journals on Twitter for daily writing prompts.
Comment on this post with your favorite daily devotions!
If you would like me to pray for you, email me, Sheri at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com or send a tweet @PrayerPrompts.
Blessings on your day!