A few months ago I was introduced to interactive prayer journaling (found in the book Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel by E. James Wilder, Anna Kang, John Loppnow and Sungshim Loppnow). I have journaled my prayers for many years but a friend of mine said that this particular style helped her to really hear what God wanted to share with her. I am terrible at sitting in silent meditation trying to hear from God. My mind is forever wandering to my to-do list or something in the room that is distracting. Her declaration that she received clearer communication with God peaked my interest.
I received the instructions and chose a day to try it out. I wrote a short prayer of gratitude to God. I was then to invite him to respond to my gratitude, writing down what I felt he was saying. I then had five prompts that I was to ask God to finish and record his responses. At the end of the exercise, I was to read out loud all that I had written.
The whole process took between five and ten minutes. It felt very weird. I tried to write down whatever came into my head. I was a little skeptical/hesitant to declare that they were God’s words to me, rather than my words to myself. However, if you’re anything like me, you’re not always very kind, positive or encouraging in your inner monologue. The things I wrote down were kind, compassionate, honest, truthful and loving. Reading the words was so encouraging and comforting.
God cut to the chase and reminded me that he knows what is going on in my life and what matters to me. I received clarity, comfort, wisdom and a feeling of being truly known. As I have continued to practice this form of prayer, it has become less weird. It has grown to be one of my favorite ways of spending time with God.
Two common themes have emerged through these prayer times. The first theme is God has been asking me to trust him. He has reminded me that he is faithful and has a good purpose for my life. I am an independent person and try to do and figure everything out on my own. I am not good at delegating to others because I worry that it will not be completed the way I would like it. I’m a bit of a control freak, you could say. God’s constant reminder of faithfulness is helping me to open up to allowing him to guide me and to trust in his provision for various areas of my life.
The other major theme has been encouraging me to rest. I am a go-getter and don’t like to be idle when there are plenty of things that can be done (it’s probably tied to my independent/controlling nature). I am the initiator of many of my get togethers with other people which has been draining lately. I tend to do housework during QRT (Quiet Room Time for my children) rather than use the time to rest and refresh myself. A wise person helped me to see how important this time is for me in order to be the wife/mom/person I need to be the rest of the day. Not using my little bit of daily free time wisely is noticeable in my attitude (specifically my patience levels).
I feel like there is a reason for God’s desire for me to rest right now and over the summer in addition to the benefits of a daily rest time. I am trusting God to provide the social interactions I need which is a huge deal for me – it’s quite a stretch for me and I was quite tempted to make something happen the first few weeks. I tried to manipulate my agreement (which was to not do any inviting for the month of May). Instead I am working on trusting God completely.
May was a very busy month because of the end of school and having our first trip away from home for the year. I am glad that I did not try to cram more things into the month. God was faithful in providing social invitations and activities. It almost seemed like he was showing off to me. Now that it’s June, I don’t feel like I am on a strict ban from inviting but I have seen the blessings of having space in our schedule so I want to be wiser in scheduling things and our time. Even though it’s summer, we already had a number of commitments scheduled.
I am definitely continuing to grow in both trusting God and resting well/wisely. I hope that I can continue to give things over to God in trust and rest confidently in the faith that he will continue to provide what is needed when it is needed.