Soul Sculpting Project: Prayer Journal Minute

Soul Sculpting Project: Prayer Journal Minute

It was a case of mistaken identity. My 17 year-old daughter Terese was accused by the police of a crime she had not committed. She said she had not done it and I believed her. The officer, however, was adamant that she was at the scene of the crime. It looked like we would be going to court and the prospect was not appealing to me. My mind ruminated over the situation. Again and again. And again. II prayed in my ruminating, but I experienced no clear solutions, no peace of mind.

I finally got out my journal and wrote. I wrote to God. I described the situation. I expressed my feelings of fear and frustration. I laid the situation in God’s hands. When I finished writing I noticed that my mind was quiet and my body at ease. I had left my anxiety in God’s hands.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The benefits of journaling in difficult situations is well documented.

Research has found that when we experience a negative event, expressive journaling helps us let it go. We will have less intruding and troubling thoughts and our working memory will come back on-line.

One sample psychology study from Duke University:

  • Student participants expressively journaled about a negative event for 20 minutes, once a week for three weeks.
  • Results: Increased working memory, less intrusive and avoidant thoughts and a higher GPA.

Beyond negative events

Journal writing on topics, beyond negative events is also known to be beneficial. Gratitude journals are one notable example.

Studies show that journal writing:

  • Strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases the symptoms of asthma
  • Decreases the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Significantly lower depression
  • Helpful for anxiety disorders
  • Aids recovery from addiction
  • Boosts creativity
  • Promotes better sleepOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For our purposes we will use journal writing to increase our connection with God.

Christians throughout history have practiced journaling and a few are available for us to read. We have the journal of Perpetua (died 203 AD), a woman who lost her life for holding on to her faith. We can explore the many journal volumes of Methodist founder John Wesley. Puritan Johnathan Edwards, revivalist George Whitefield, Holiness Movement leader Phoebe Palmer and countless more have provided us with journals. A journal I have found especially formative is Presbyterian missionary Frank Laubach’s Letters of a Modern Mystic.

Our Soul Sculpting project will carry on in this traditional practice of journaling during our Fixed-Moment of prayer time. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Materials needed in advance:

  • Something to write on: ex. note pad, diary, device.
  • Something to write with: pen, pencil, quill, keyboard.

Two tips from science to increase your success rate:

1. Place the needed materials in a very handy place near your location for prayer. Make it extremely handy. Add NOTHING for your will-power to do to make this happen.

2. Add a tiny treat to the location (chocolate chip, or special pen or paper). This little reward will help your brain want to do this project.

What might we write about?

  • Gratitudes
  • Concerns
  • Requests
  • Praises
  • Hopes
  • And more

What form might we use?

  • One sentence
  • Full paragraph
  • A list
  • A sketch
  • A poemOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Soul Sculpting Project: Prayer Journal Minute

During our Fixed-moment of prayer

  • Take one minute to write a note to God.

After two weeks of repeated visits to the police station the case was finally solved. Terese was guilty of a crime, but not the one she had been accused of.

Terese’s crime: Driving at early dusk without her headlights on.

The officer had stopped Terese and given her a verbal warning. He then drove off without recording the event correctly. The next place the officer went was the scene of the crime Terese was accused of. His record system rolled Terese’s warning to the next crime event. His mind did, too. As can easily happen he created a false memory of Terese’s presence at a new location. After a couple of weeks the error became clear and the officer called to say Terese was vindicated.

The crime Terese was accused of: Rolling burning tires off Flat Top Mountain.

Evan and I visited the place just last year and sure enough there were a number of tires at the foot of Flat Top. When we told some our friends about the burning tires they responded with a twinkle in their eyes, “sounds like fun.” I, however, am glad the event is long over. I think I’ll get out my journal and express my gratitude. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pam says:

    I love how easy and practical these invitations to draw near are.

  2. soulsculpt says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Easy and practical ways to connect with God are two of my big goals for this blog. I welcome any tips you have to share as you do these projects. What works well and what doesn’t work?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s