Do you have a routine for your prayer time? I’d love to peek in on your prayer closet. I’m still tweaking this system, and still haven’t made up my mind if I want to continue to use a bound book, or go to a three ring binder. I’m leaning toward the 3 ring binder for a variety of reasons, but have committed to keep the beta version until school supplies go on sale…what is that, August/September? I may do a trial run of a 3 ring binder at that time…one of the perks of that system is that I can add pages at will, and in a bound book, I’m bound to the number of pages I allotted myself at the beginning…I’m running into that issue right now in my journal. I’m trying to be patient with myself for now, and ride it out. What do you think?
Anyway…back to the journal:
As you may have guessed, I also have made a tab for my Contrition/Confession section (note: My tab says “confession” on the front, but if I had it to do over, I’d use the word contrition instead. When I was making it, I could not for the life of me remember the word “contrition”, which I believe is a better word for the “C” part of my system, as it involves confession but goes deeper, and brings about a godly sorrow over sin and it’s effects.
This is my “confession” tab. I chose the verse from Psalm 139:43 and a word picture from a recent study of Colossians chapter 3.
Since these are areas that I personally struggle with in my everyday life, I like to have a visual prompt of what each looks like. I envision a literal removing of an old, tattered and dirty garment, and the putting on of a new, shiny, valuable one.
On the backside, I have a prompt for the fruits of the Spirit. If I am in a place of being continually filled with the Spirit, my life will produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, and self control. If I’m finding myself lacking in any of these, and I do, often, then I know and remind myself that this is not from the Spirit of God, but works of my own old nature, and/or willful sinfulness, and I want to confess and rid myself of that right away.
After the adoration portion of my quiet time, while I am focused on who God is, and His attributes, I become keenly aware of the striking contrast of His glory and the state of my heart. I am convicted in my spirit of the areas that I fall short, as I focus on His faithfulness, and see my unfaithfulness; as I focus on His patience and lovingkindness, and remember my impatience and harsh tone taken with my loved ones…see what I mean? It is a very vulnerable time…open before the Maker of the Universe, the King of kings, and the One I bow to and call “Lord”; the One of whom I live to imitate, the One I wish to be like. While I am here, in this revelation of the areas that I fall short, and those areas that He wishes to transform to His image, I become contrite; that is full of sorrow and remorse for my failures and sins. I weep over my inadequacies, and lack of holiness, and I fly to Him who I know is full of mercy and pardon; here in my private prayer closet, at this time, I pray:
O Lord, You know how many and how great are my failings. You know how often I sin, from day to day, from hour to hour, in what I do, and in what I fail to do. O Lord my God, I resolve no more to provoke You, and to desire nothing more than You, for You are alone truly lovable. If I should offend You again, please grant me the strength to find favor anew in Your eyes and to lead a life more pleasing to You. Amen.
I know that the Lord forgives me when I ask, because I am told so in His Word (1 John 1:9). I also know that there are deep seated habits and reasons for my failings, there are areas that I need the accountability that comes with confessing our sins to one another. When the Lord reveals these to me, I write them down on a sticky note, that I take with me to Reconciliation. If I don’t write it down, I forget it, and that sin or weakness or stronghold and its memory gets buried. It might not show up again until I am in a similar situation, and because there is sin that has not been reconciled to God, I can trip over it again. Going to confession and bringing these weaknesses into accountability with another is embarrassing, and a deterrent to the sin in itself (at least for me it is).
When I have confessed, and done my penance, and received absolution for my sin(s), that sticky note has completed its task, and is destroyed. Burning it, tearing it into tiny bits, or even flushing it are effective ways of visualizing that sin has been purged and removed from my life. I am forgiven, and it is no longer held against me. I think it’s important to mention here that God does not hold it against me, but He often does not remove the consequences of those sins from me. While I enjoy sweet fellowship with God, I may still have the consequence of a strained relationship with someone who I have hurt with my choices, or other consequences that come from my missing the mark.
Thanks for sharing your prayer journal drawings and process. I am not a journaler (is that spelled correctly?). It is interesting to see how others work through these things. I am very internal and like to sit quietly in a contemplative mode, thinking of those same things that you are able to write down. But of course the danger of that is forgetting, once arriving at the confessional, some of what you were going to confess. It happens.
I like the idea a lot of writing it down–not just to help me remember, because I know God knows my intent and that I am already repentant before speaking–but I because that is such an interesting idea to throw the paper away. To visualize the letting go, and trusting in God, and putting those past failings behind you. It makes a tiny little individual ritual, which is actually very powerful and meaningful. Great suggestion, and I am grateful that you shared that wisdom.
Thanks for the comment and kind words, Kat. I wish I could say that I journal every day…I just can’t…and especially difficult days, I don’t wish to record it all…I usually end up playing catch-up after the storm has passed, and I can record it with clarity instead of all my crazy emotion. This is one such spell…if you saw my entries, you would see many gaps…I have given myself permission to be that way, and I am learning how to quietly contemplate as well…in the mean time….I like to think I’m developing a balanced prayer life…God knows, really, I’m just scatterbrained some days. I have found it very beneficial to play my adoration play list on those days and just revel in who He is…even if I don’t record anything in the book…He is there with me, and knows my heart.
Yes, Lyn, it is the time dedicated to God, and not the act of recording, that is the important thing. Faithful daily personal prayer leads to balance in life. I love that you sometimes just listen to music–sometimes try to organize and put down your thoughts in the journal . . . I can learn from all of this, and I thank you for sharing it. Especially the part of giving yourself permission to be yourself, to pray the way that you need to that day–and to let go of rigid expectations and goals with prayer. I really needed to hear that.
Thank you, Kat, you have articulated well what is in my heart regarding this. The journal is a tool…I don’t want it to control me…it’s not God, and I don’t want it to take the place of what God is doing in my life…but I do love to look back on it and see where I’ve been…and what has been on my heart…for this, I keep on with it. 🙂
Sometimes I wish I had a record, too, in the sense that you mention here. I do have icons, but that is less concrete and revealing, much like the wonderful drawings that you create to accompany your words. It’s all good, though, and God bless!
I love this post Lyn! I as Reinkat love the idea of throwing the paper away. It reminded me of the Scripture where “God remembers our sins no more.” I think tossing the paper away will help us to remember that also, after they are confessed.
I tried journaling, but found myself not being able to stay committed to it. I also as Reinkat, contemplate much however. Being that said, I admire greatly those who can stay committed to journaling, as I think it is a great way to draw strength in the times which we need it the most. To go back and see where we were, and how God brought us through it, by His forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. Also to think about where we would be today, if He had not. When I think of how much I draw off of the journaling of the Saints, I can see great benefits in what you are doing.
I think you are doing wonderful and I see such a change in your spirit, since you have started this. That to me is wonderful, for God is forever changing us, and giving us new ways in which to accomplish it. If we will get up and do what He wants us to do, that change in us will only serve to give Him the greater glory. That is what we should all be seeking to do. Great post and I loved reading it. God Bless, SR
Thank you, SR. Your words bring such encouragement to me, especially today. I love to read about the saints! I do pray that He is changing me…and that I am looking more like Him.
I’m glad the stickie note tip helps…thank you again for your kind words of encouragement.
I do maintain a prayer journal, as I found that i have far too many people to pray for to remember all of them (and it would take 2 hours every time I pray). However, I do like your idea of the contrition section – and the sticky note (practical and spiritual at the same time). I may need to try that – and I think I may need to go to a 3-ring binder as well. BTW, the dollar store has loose leaf paper (not great quality but very usable). God bless and we sure miss y’all here.
Cindy, I miss you too! Thanks for hanging in there with me here…isn’t technology great? Thanks for the dollar store tip…I’ll check it out!
When I get to the Supplication part of my system, I’ll share how I keep it simple and keep track of my requests. Hint: sticky notes are your friend!
Love and miss you!
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