Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prayer Journals

At the bottom of my list of prayer intentions I mention that I put requests into my prayer journal. Shannon asked:
Prayer is something I am trying to grow in, and I am intrigued by the idea of a prayer journal. I am unfamiliar with the concept and I'm curious how one would use a prayer journal. What kinds of things do you write in there? Is it a prayer in the form of a dialog? Is it a place just to keep track of prayer intentions?
I don't think I have ever mentioned anything specific before so that is a good question. I have heard of two sorts of prayer journals. The first is where someone journals their prayers and I believe also what answers they received along the way. I'm afraid that I'd then get so into writing things down I would forget about the praying part ... which says a good deal about my personality I fear.

The second sort of journal is the kind I keep, one with a list of intentions. Being a "list-ish" sort of person, I have different categories on different pages of a little black Moleskine notebook with headings for family and friends, clergy, illness, the dead (for prayers for those in Purgatory), discernment, and special concerns (which includes the many sorts of prayers that don't fall under all those other areas). I also have a page of saints that have called themselves to my attention ... as quite often, reading that page will lead me into other areas of meditation or remind me of an intercessor for a prayer request.

Sometimes I carefully read through everyone listed, pausing briefly to lift each one in prayer.

Other times I will read the headings and offer a general prayer for all listed there, letting my eye fall where it will. On those days, there usually are several names that will stand out for me and they come back to me all day. I take that as a special day of more intensive prayer for those people.

There probably are many other sorts of prayer journals and ways to intercede for others in prayer. Please do drop into the comments box and let us know so that we may all grow in prayer for each other.

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