Do you want to develop intimacy with Jesus Christ more? Following the thoughts and methods of the great work of Saint Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, below you will find some simple guidelines on doing meditative prayer using a journal. Journaling is good because it allows us to see our spiritual growth as our thoughts become incarnate on the piece of paper.
Each stage is important, but the most import in following through with your resolutions. As you will see, one of the greatest dangers to the spiritual life is feeling holy without being holy. Prayer can make you feel holy, but since we are not angels, but human persons, our prayers must be made concrete and particular. Prayer is meant to unite you to God and grow you in holiness. Doing the resolutions carefully and faithfully will bring you to this goal, by the grace of God.
-Silence, Stillness, Solitude
-Call to mind that “God is here” - be aware of His holy presence firmly in your mind and your heart.
-The Presence of God leads to Humility and Boldness in your attitude towards prayer.
-humility, because you don’t deserve to be in God’s presence
-boldness, because He has asked you to be here and to be his child
-Invocation of the Holy Spirit to pray within you, to give you the proper words, to illuminate your mind with true discernment and to increase your intimacy with God. Ask the intercession of your patron saints.
NOTE: This introduction is meant to limit distractions in prayer and focus your attention on God. This preparation should not last more than 5 minutes of your prayer time. Also, trust, trust, trust.
-While in the spirit of prayer, reflect on the questions that are asked or on the Scripture verses that are provided, applying them with sober judgment to your life
-Use all of your faculties to pray: your memory, imagination, your reason, your will and your emotions
-Freely write down what you are thinking about. Many times, this takes the form of a conversation with God in what He may be revealing to you. Just remember that this is prayer through writing.
-Feeling holy is dangerous without actually being holy; therefore, each journal meditation should have some portion devoted to a specific and particular resolution that comes from each meditation.
-Write down one (or two) simple, specific and particular way that you can live out this meditation in your life, taking care that it is not impossibly idealistic, but immediately practicable by you. For example, don’t say, “I’m not going to sin anymore.” That is neither realistic nor specific enough. A better example would be, “Whenever I am around so-and-so, I will not be offended or annoyed by them, but will seek the opposite, to win over such-and-such.”
-Focus on something that is more immediate in application
-Once the resolution(s) is written down, go back to it from time to time, recommitting yourself to Him and His intentions for your holiness.
-Thanksgiving: Thank God of for the prayer time with Him and for what He has revealed to us
-Oblation: Unite our resolutions and considerations together with the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ
-Petition: Beg God for the grace to be faithful to our resolutions throughout the day. Pray for your family and friends, and pray for those in the parish, especially the teens, where you will be a Core member
-End with an Our Father