A pastor who struggles with prayer finds his way to a daily practice and deeper connection.
Posted in , Dec 5, 2014
Today's guest blogger is Lawrence W. Wilson.
The practice of daily prayer has never come easily to me. Given that I am a pastor, that may seem surprising. But there it is.
For years I hungered for a deeper, more vibrant prayer life and tried everything from an egg timer to prayer beads to boost my concentration. Nothing worked for long.
I prayed when driven by urgency or sheer discipline but seldom experienced the intensely personal communion with God that I’d heard others describe.
Perhaps not coincidentally, I’d also been a sporadic journaler for many years. In college I bought a gum-bound writing pad for the purpose and dutifully recorded my thoughts.
Over the years I tried everything from spiral-bound schoolbooks to handcrafted leather journals. I wrote by hand, and always preferred a fountain pen.
The practice never stuck, however, possibly because I took it too seriously. When using a fancy journal, it felt as if every word were destined for The New Yorker. So if I didn’t have the energy to be creative, I didn’t write.
“Why don’t you try this?” my wife, Heather, said, suggesting a tool she’d discovered while completing an M.F.A. in creative writing.
Based on the concept of daily practice writing, sometimes called morning pages, she pointed me to 750words.com, a private space for personal daily writing.
“Just put your fingers on the keyboard, open your brain, and see what comes out,” Heather said. “Don’t stop until you reach 750 words, and don’t worry about how well it’s written. Nobody will read this but you.”
To my delight it worked beautifully.
This simple technique soon blossomed into the two spiritual disciplines I’d struggled so long to acquire–daily prayer and journaling.
The blank pages became a diary, a sketchpad, a Rorschach test, a canvass. My writing time became a free-flowing conversation with God that is unscripted, unfiltered, raw and spontaneous.
After practicing this discipline for several months I began to experience what David described in Psalm 42, a passion to spend time in communion with God.
I long for this daily appointment. Daily journaling has brought me into consistent communion with God through prayer.
Does your daily prayer time seem more like duty than privilege? Have you tried writing your conversation with God? Do you have any tips to share with others for journaling your prayers?
Lawrence W. Wilson is a pastor, author, thinker, and believer in the power of God. He blogs at www.lawrencewilson.com.