If someone has something worth listening to, it is worth writing down.
Early in my legal career, the group I was working with moved to a new law firm. I had recently finished my first jury trial as the lead attorney. I was defending the case and unfortunately the jury had ruled against my client. On the positive side, the Virginia Supreme Court had granted my petition for an appeal.
I was in Richmond visiting the main office of the new firm. One of the partners was a retired member of the Virginia Supreme Court. I stopped by his office and asked if we could talk about the case. He agreed. As I sat down, he began by telling me that he had learned as a young lawyer that if someone had something worth listening to, it was worth writing down. He noted that I did not have a notepad. I apologized and rushed out to find one! He graciously spent some time with me after I retrieved a pad and pen.
Over the past five or six years, I have been attending the twice monthly morning of recollection for men on Saturdays at my parish. I had been attending for a couple of years before I realized that I should be taking notes. I started bringing a notebook and pen to each reflection and I take notes. I decided that the act of bringing the notebook and pen prepared me to hear something valuable. It disposed my mind and spirit to expect something interesting. If someone had something worth listening to, it was worth writing down.
At my first silent retreat in Omaha more than 25 years ago, I learned to use a prayer journal. Over the years, I have changed the way I use it but I still keep a notebook with me during my morning prayer time.
If something in particular strikes me or is anointed in my spirit from my spiritual reading or the Scriptures, I jot it down. If I have an insight or inspiration in prayer, I jot it down. I also write down prayer intentions from time to time.
Most entries in recent years have been brief. As the Holy Spirit leads me, I may review portions of the journal, or just the past couple of weeks, to see what God is trying to show. I also see crises survived with God’s help. I see obstacles overcome with God’s help. I see prayer petitions answered by God.
The most significant role of the journal, however, is that I approach my prayer time with the same hopeful expectation as bringing a notepad and pen to a meeting or a presentation. I expect to hear something valuable. I figure if God has something to say to me that is worth listening to, it is worth writing down.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you.”1
Eric A. Welter is an employment lawyer and trial attorney with a long-time devotion to intercessory prayer. He is a Catholic Christian who has been involved with intercessory and healing prayer ministry for over twenty years. The Abound in Hope Ministry website is https://www.aboundinhope.org/ministry.
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