Commit

CAST  your burden on the Lordand he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

CAST your anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

I’m working on my prayer journal, and have come up with a simple(r) acronym that takes up less space in the binder than my previous ACT before you ASK routine did.

Commit
Adore/Affirm
Supplication/Satisfaction
Trust

There are a lot of C words that could be used for the first letter of my acronym, I’ve pondered on them all week, and they all are credible.  But ultimately, I chose the word Commit, because of these instructions of Sacred Scripture:
Ps 37:5, Commit your way to the Lordtrust in him, and he will act.
Prov 16:3   Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.  

The dictionary defines the word as so:  (dictionary.com)

verb (used with object), committed, committing.
1.  to give in trust or charge; consign.
2.  to consign for preservation:

to commit ideas to writing; to commit a poem to memory.
3.  to pledge (oneself) to a position on an issue or question; express(one’s intention, feeling, etc.):

Asked if he was a candidate, he refused to commit himself.
4.  to bind or obligate, as by pledge or assurance; pledge:

to commit oneself to a promise; to be committed to a course of action.
5.  to entrust, especially for safekeeping; commend:

to commit one’s soul to God.
My definition of commit:  When I say that I am committed to God, it means that I give myself wholly to Him, pledging my heart, mind, and being, obligating myself to be used in His plan as He sees fit, trusting Him to keep me and provide what I need to best be used by Him.This word requires the operation of all the other c words that I considered:
  • Clear consciencePs 139:23 – I pray that the Lord would search me, know me, test me, and show me areas where I have failed to live up to His righteous standard.  I found several guides to making an examination of conscience, and I’ve heard of something called “examen” that I fully intend to look further into.  I made a page in my prayer journal for my examination of conscience.  This is how I do it now, and it seems to be working.
  • Conviction/convincingHe always answers.  Often, even before I ask for His help, I will be reminded in my spirit of  a sin that needs to be confessed, or a habit or part of my personality that needs to be addressed, or I’ll get an insight into an area that He’s at work in, that I’m making progress in, but could do better.  I really like the word “convince” better than “convict”, it brings to mind a mental picture of God’s Holy Spirit reasoning with mine, and bringing me to agreement with His views, instead of the mental picture of a lawbreaker being convicted and sentenced.  Both are accurate, and theologically sound, and believe me, I have heard that gavel slam down in my own convicted spirit more times than I can count, but I also have received the tender reasoning of the Holy Spirit, that quiets the debate in my rebellious spirit, and willingly submits to seeing it His way.  I much prefer the latter, don’t you?
  • Contrition/confession/cleansing – I use Psalm 51 as a prayer guide for this part of my routine.  If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so…often…especially if you struggle with guilt and shame from sins of your past, or areas where you struggle to gain victory.  It is a beautiful prayer of agreement with God about how He sees sin.  It is a prayer of contrition, repentance, and forgiveness.  It ends with a petition for the ability to praise Him, and teach His ways to others.  This can only happen through a cleansed and consecrated heart.
  • Consecration – this is the act of setting something aside for a specific or particular use.  When we “consecrate” something, we make it “holy”, or we sanctify it.  When we give ourselves to God, He makes us holy, and sets us apart for a specific purpose in His kingdom.  I have a couple favorite prayers I use for giving myself to God.  Some days, I don’t feel I have much to offer, and am reminded that whatever I have or don’t have, I am His, and if he wants to use me wounded and broken, I’m His.  If I’ve experienced his healing hand, or a renewed sense of purpose, it’s for Him, as I have obligated myself to His service.  Alone in my own thoughts, or actively engaged in my parish or community…I belong to Him…it’s up to Him, I’m just the vessel.  Now that He has cleansed me, I ask Him to pour Himself through me.  I pray that others will see Him in me, first in my vocation at home and with my family, and then to my parish family, and neighborhood friends and acquaintances.

I’ve found the secret to casting my burdens, cares, anxieties, and fears on the Lord begins with the recognition that I need Him, I am loved and called by Him, and that I belong to Him.  When I give myself fully to the Lord, to be used as He sees fit, He is faithful to sustain me, just as He promised.

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ACT before you ASK

I’m working on a prayer journal system that will hopefully be a tool in keeping me organized and on task in my quiet time.  Right now, it’s a tool, but also a project, as I am in the process of tweaking it to make it function for me.  You might remember that last year, I began putting a little prayer journal together for the sake of memorizing the creed and rosary.  I did a series on prayer that included some of the insights the Lord gave me while putting it together, and I’m thinking this is going to be a similar series by the time we finish with it.

20140524-081414-29654093.jpgLast year, a dear friend sent me a little journal, which had remained empty and unused until last week.  I’ve put it to use as my Beta version, and when I pick it up, I remember her in my prayers.  (She is one that I thank God for in my Thanksgiving…as well as one I intercede for in my supplication) …but I’m getting ahead of myself.   By the way, I LOVE how God made this journal with sunflowers!  It’s like my prayer life has a theme…and seeing sunflowers reminds me to pray.  How great is He!?

I started putting my journal together by following the ACTS model of prayer, that is, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  As I continued it kind of morphed into what I call ACT before you ASK.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m don’t deliberately make myself focus, my prayer time can sound whiny, and childish.  I do not want my prayer life to be marked by this.  I want my prayer time to be intentional, where I focus on the Lord and my heart is filled to overflowing with gratitude and praise for Him, and marked by faith and trust.

I divided my journal into six sections as such:

Adoration – Where I record the names and attributes of God that I collect as I go.
Contrition/Confession- Where I spend time in self-examination and confess the sins that the Holy Spirit reveals to my spirit.
Thanksgiving – Where I remember to thank the Lord for what He is accomplishing in my life.

Application – Where I record my God whispers…times when the rubber meets the road…those little (or big) things that jump out at me in my daily Bible reading, prayer, or personal interactions with others.
Supplication – Where I keep a record of people that I pray for on a regular basis.
Knowledge – Where I keep a record of portions of Scripture and Bible truths that I have committed to memory and know by heart.

My daily quiet time follows this model pretty closely, with my daily Bible reading fitting right between the two acronyms.  I think I’ll make a separate post for each of my sections so I can show you better how I put this system to work for me.  I haven’t completely made up my mind whether I will prefer a bound journal, like the one I’m using right now, or if I will eventually move to a 3 ring binder system.  I can see benefits and downsides to both, and I may eventually use a combination of both.  It is providing me with more opportunity to create, and draw, and color.  For now, my dividers are homemade, laminated bookmarks that fit the book.  Each divider has prompts that keep me on track, and the cool thing about them is, if I don’t want to take my whole journal with me, but need the prompts, I can remove them from the journal, put them in my Bible, or purse, or whatever I’m carrying, and tote them along with me to use as needed.

More to come…