Journaling & Devotional Reading #1

Journaling is a way of connecting with God as you become more aware and attentive to Him. Consider these words as you explore journaling as a spiritual practice:

OPEN my eyes so I can see what YOU show me of YOUR miracle-wonders.
Psalm 119:18 The Message

There are lots of different approaches to journaling. But remember our purposes are about cultivating a deeper relationship with God as we grow to know him more.

Join me over the next several weeks as we take a look at a variety of ways of journaling and prompts to begin our writing. So, let's begin.

Our first step into journaling connects our writing to a portion of scripture.

Lectio Divina

In this journal practice, you'll be reading a portion of scripture as a way to enter into journaling. Think in terms of attending to Scripture not necessarily studying scripture. Sometimes we refer to this type of reading as "devotional reading" or "lectio divina". Essentially, reading and reflecting on scripture in this way invites us into God's presence to listen for his word to us at this particular moment in time. As we engage with God, we'll be recording and reflecting on our experience in our journal. Ready?

Grab a journal and a pen. Or you can record your thoughts here in the comments section below.

1. SILENCIO: Begin by quieting your heart. Slow down and consciously come into God's presence. You can do this with a simple prayer and a few deep breaths.

2. LECTIO: Read the passage of scripture. Read it slowly and out loud (if possible), take your time, linger over words or phrases. If a particular word or phrase stands out to you, stop and attend to what God is saying to you. Write down the word or phrase that stands out to you.

We'll be reading Matthew 11:27-30 (THE MESSAGE)

27Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

28"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

3. MEDITATIO: Read the passage a second time out loud. Linger awhile. Soak in the words and images that come to mind. Listen for any invitation you sense God inviting you to explore or discover.

4. ORATIO: Take this time to respond and pray as you read the passage a third time. Now, dialogue with God as you journal. Begin by writing down the word or phrase that stands out to you. As you respond you might explore your feelings or thoughts you're experiencing? Invite God to open your eyes and ears in deeper ways. Talk to God as you journal about what you are thinking and/or feeling.

5. CONTEMPLATIO: Contemplate as you rest and wait with God. Give yourself time for the words to sink deeply into your heart. Maybe you need to get real about something that you are experiencing today. Do that! You may need to bring something to God and hand it over to him. If so, do that! Likely, we all need to surrender or lay down the fears, concerns, and circumstances that weigh us down. Take some time to write down what you sense God is prompting in you.

Would love to hear your thoughts as you explore this way of journaling...