You are my God, and I will thank you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord,
for the Lord is good;
God’s mercy endures forever.
I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for the last year or so. It started early in 2018, during the dark, post-holiday days of January when everything seemed bleak and my days consisted of too much work, too much Netflix, too much wine, and too many chocolate chips straight from the bag.
I decided that keeping a journal of things I was thankful for could provide a way out of the sad little place I was in. And so it began: each morning I considered what I was thankful for, and wrote it down. Usually, my attempts to engage in spiritual discipline are short-lived, but for some reason, it stuck. I’ve written in my journal nearly every morning ever since.
Without any deliberate planning, the “thankful” journal evolved into a prayer journal. It wasn’t that I ran out of things to be thankful for, it was just that I needed to pray…about everything – my family and friends, my work, our nation, the environment, my daily worries and joys, and for wisdom, for peace, for patience.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I read through the hundreds of entries made over the course of the year. I was struck by the staggering volume of worry contained within them. I was even more struck that my memory of the past year was different — more positive — than what the pages revealed. In fact, I had forgotten about many of the things I was so concerned about. When I thought about the past year and compared my memory to the contents of my prayer journal’s pages, there was a disconnect. Who was this anxious person represented in the pages? Where had she gone?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. About the experience of laying out my troubled and joyful heart before God, and how that act changed my perception of my life, the lives of those around me, and the world. I believe that somehow, in the act of persistent praying, I came to experience and see things differently.
God has been at work in my life, one entry at a time.
I think I’ll keep journaling.
--Ruth Dalager Buuck
Previously published in
Grace University Lutheran Church Lenten E--votionals
Photo credit: AL.Eyad,Flickr