Rebecca's Ponderings

February 18, 2010

Journaling?!?

My Journal

This year, I have felt the Spirit leading me to teach my children to keep a prayer journal. I knew it was the next step in the discipleship process. Personally, I have been writing my prayers for several years, using various formats. I have found the prayer journal to be an essential tool in my spiritual growth. Yet, I still felt intimidated at the thought of teaching my children this important discipline.

There were many reasons I felt ill-qualified and apprehensive in this area. I knew that Peanut was ready but I did not think Bud would be for a few years. Journaling seemed so personal that I had no idea how to explain it to a nine-year-old, and certainly not a five-year-old. Our schedule was already full; adding (and keeping) a regular prayer time would be difficult. I searched for a curriculum, yet there was nothing that seemed to fit. We already read the Bible and discussed it at dinner each night. I needed to teach my children to spend time in God’s presence, praying and listening to Him.

So, I prayed. I searched. I waited and listened.

Then around Christmas time, I read “Making Your Home a Haven” by Cyndy Salzmann. (You can find a link to her blog in Side Tracks.) In this simple book about home organization and de-cluttering, she discussed the importance of spending time with the Lord daily. She also shared how she had taught her preschooler to keep a prayer journal using a variation of a familiar prayer model. This was what I had been searching for. It was advanced enough to challenge Peanut, yet simple enough that Bud could do it. I was excited to get started.

I pulled out two composition books and explained to the kids that we were going to change our routine a bit. They had been requesting a circle time to start our school days. Somehow, that had never become a routine for us. Instead, we would now spend about 30 minutes writing in our prayer journals each morning. I showed them how to divide the pages in half and draw a heart and  sad face on the first page and then a smiley face and praying child on the second. (That was Cyndy’s idea.) These symbols serve as reminders of the four elements of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (ACTS). In each section, they could write or draw pictures of the things they wanted to share with God.

To my great delight, the kids loved it! To give an example of adoration and praise, I read a Psalm aloud while they illustrated it. They confessed things like disobedience and thanked the Lord for their family and friends. They even drew pictures of the children we hope to adopt someday. I was blessed to see their joy and their desire to communicate with God this way.

I quickly discovered that this was not an ideal time to write in my own journal. Bud is very vocal and likes to share his drawings and writings with the rest of us. Peanut occasionally has questions about spelling or other details. Instead, I use this time to keep up with the 90 day reading plan, and I spend intimate time with God at night and in the early morning.

Now, the kids eagerly look forward to our daily quiet time. It sets a wonderful tone for the rest of our day. They even took their journals on our recent road trip and wrote in them while riding in the truck. My heart is blessed to see our children growing spiritually. I pray that God will continue to fill them with His Spirit and to grant me wisdom to nurture their love and knowledge of Him.

*** Update: For those who may be unfamiliar with ACTS, I have explained this method in more detail at: http://9at9.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/acts/

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1 Comment »

  1. Great post! I don’t have any little ones, but I’ll definitely have to share this link with my friends, most of whom do. I’m sure they’ll love it. My daughter and I only recently learned to keep a prayer journal (and she’s 18), but it’s been a great blessing in our lives.

    Thanks for posting this!

    Cindy

    Comment by cindyinsd — February 19, 2010 @ 12:29 am | Reply


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