Maria Morera Johnson explains how prayer journaling feeds the soul and encourages creativity.
Penmanship used to be a part of my day in elementary school. Mid-morning, we would take out our Palmer Method workbooks and practice our long, slanted lines and uniform circles across sheets of green-dotted guidelines, and then practice copying sentences over and over again. I made an effort to emulate the example, and I got fairly good at it.
After 40 years of sloppy note-taking, first as a student and then in professional settings, I can produce handwriting today that is legible, even under the duress of rapid-fire scribbling. When I'm relaxed, the neater script still resembles the Palmer style I practiced for so many years.
Sister Dawn might tap her fingers on my page and point out that I've taken some license with my S’s and A's, but for the most part, Palmer is still recognizable. It has stayed a part of me these past decades.
What else, I wonder, is so magnificently a part of my being? A sense of peace and safety in the family? Having friends to let down my hair with? A love of board games and card games? The things that make up the various parts of my personality, particularly those things I practiced and put-in the long hours of hard work to develop, are deeply ingrained.
Playing around with a new collection of fountain pens and the fun ink colors to spark my creativity has, indeed, been a form of play. It has also been an inspiration for some deeper thoughts about the process of writing and, unexpectedly, my faith.
The act of writing with each of these pens carried a level of intentionality and purpose that at first caught me off guard, but then I quickly came to enjoy and appreciate.
I found myself looking forward to writing in a new journal. It soon turned into a prayer journal, and I couldn't wait to pray on the page, each word a little work of art, an aspiration and flourish in my letters to God. I found an intimacy and intentionality in my thoughts and words that flowed from my heart as effortlessly as the ink onto the page.
Prayer journaling hasn't replaced the other forms of prayer in my life, but it has become a rich and meaningful expression for me. I enjoy the preparation, the gathering of my tools and my thoughts, and most of all, the joy of composing words just so. I find a deep satisfaction in using the gift of writing in this prayerful way.
Do you have a prayer journal or a favorite prayer practice you'd like to share?
Copyright 2020 Maria Morera Johnson
Images copyright 2020 Maria Morera Johnson. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Maria Morera Johnson, author of My Badass Book of Saints, Super Girls and Halo, and Our Lady of Charity: How a Cuban Devotion to Mary Helped Me Grow in Faith and Love writes about all the things that she loves. A cradle Catholic, she struggles with living in the world but not being of it, and blogs about those successes and failures, too.