Monday, June 14, 2010

Memos to God

Last winter I started writing in a journal, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. This one was much different from my teenage journal.
I was having a few missed heartbeats and a little anxiety. So I decided to start a prayer journal. Having recently read Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help,” I was inspired by the character Aibileen who wrote her prayers in a book. Her friends seemed to think she had a more direct line to God by writing her prayers down.
I have a friend who does that. There’s nothing magical about writing down your prayers, but there is something special about taking time to think about your needs and the needs of others.
So, I started this journal. I must admit, as an administrator in an educational setting, my written prayers looked, at first, like memos. I started with a list of people for whom I wanted to pray. No details, just a list. I started with myself, of course, I need this, and I need that, and then I moved on to the other people and their needs—more like a status report.
A few times, I even sent up a memo/request for physical things—more like a budget.
Of all people, I need patience. Some of my memo-prayers might as well have said, “If you will recall my journal entry of Jan. 20, I requested patience. I am requesting that virtue once again.” We all know what happens when we pray for patience.
My business-like prayers were more in line with a long-range planning request—telling God what I thought I’d need in the future.
As the long winter months passed, I noticed that my prayers were changing. They were not so memo-like. They evolved from the simple lists to paragraphs. The emphasis shifted from me to my children, co-workers, my husband and others.
God worked through my selfish needs to let me see the needs of those around me. You know, I’ve never had much trouble with some of the commandments such as: “You shall not murder” and “You shall not steal.”
But the verse that give me trouble is found in Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God;” Being still is something I struggle with. This verse in the Hebrew probably means “Enough” or “Stop”. No matter how you look at it He is telling us to slow down and recognize him.
That’s what this journal has done for me. I challenge you to take as little as five minutes a day to think about your blessings, the needs of your loved ones, and to give thanks for what God has already done for you.
You can even confess out loud and in writing some of your weaknesses. You can’t fix something you can’t acknowledge, and God won’t tell.
The stillness is coming easier all the time.

1 comment:

  1. I have been keeping my prayer journal for about a year now. I keep a list, too, and then I go back and make a note when my prayer gets answered! It's an amazing thing to see how God makes everything happen exactly as it should. I loved this post!