the good way


Session 3 • Sabbath • Devotional

In ‘The Artist’s Way’ Julia Cameron encourages people to engage in writing ‘morning pages’. This is simply three pages of stream of consciousness writing; a ‘brain dump’ as she calls it, which makes room for creativity. I often think followers of Jesus would benefit from making this a regular practice. In the context of journalling we can be in conversation with Jesus about whatever has been going on in our lives - what we’ve been thinking about, what our dominant emotions have been, what longings we have, or what questions we’re holding. Getting all of that out in the presence of God makes room for us to be filled afresh with his words to us and to receive his guidance, and love. Often a day off can be a great opportunity to review the week with God through a practice of journalling.

The 24/7 Prayer Network have created many resources to help people engage in practices that allow them to experience the presence of God. They have developed a course called The Prayer Course and a toolshed of accompanying resources. The following resource was created for Oaks Church, Brooklyn based on their guidance on journaling, found here.

The Spiritual Practice of ‘Remembering’

The weekend represents a welcome break from routine in every way, and that can include our relationship with God. This is not to say we take a break from God on the weekend, but instead that we are invited to spend time with God differently on the weekend, in a more leisurely, restful manner, just as we might with a friend. Journaling is an excellent way to slow down, collect the dust-covered treasures from another full week, and commune with our Father.

Journaling, for those who need reassurance, is a legitimate way of praying, as essentially it facilitates an ongoing correspondence of our heart with our Heavenly Father. It allows for our inner, often subconscious, thoughts to become part of our conscious awareness, bringing new perspective and allowing us to assess our inward convictions and heart-condition.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” - Luke 2:19

Throughout the Bible, the people of God are admonished to “remember.”

A major theme of the Old Testament is Israel remembering God’s revelation in the Exodus. When they remember well, they enjoy God’s presence and blessing. When they forget to remember God (plenty of irony there), they live long stretches outside of God’s presence and blessing.

In the New Testament, the church is regularly commissioned to “remember.” On 21 separate occasions, Jesus or one of the Apostles instructs us to “remember.”

This practice is most powerful illustrated in 1 Kings 19, when Elijah is overwhelmed with fear and anguish. God offers Elijah a question and an instruction. The Question: What are you doing here, Elijah?​ In other words, how did you end up in the internal unrest you are experiencing now? The Instruction: Go back the way you came... In other words, retrace your steps and remember. The invitation is to untangle lies he’s believing, remember God’s power, love, and faithfulness, and take his next steps in reliance on God (who brought him this far).

We come to the end of a week in the condition of Elijah in the cave. We are often tired, weary, and overwhelmed. We are much more adept at holding on to the difficult moments, harsh words, hardships, and insecurities from any given week than the whisper of God’s voice. For that very reason, we must make “remembering” a committed spiritual practice. When we do, we can pick up the pieces from each week worth holding on to as a guide for our next steps.

As you sit down on the weekend to journal, use these steps as a practical guide.

Create Ritual

Unfortunately, leisure in God’s presence is not something most of us are accustomed to. To establish this as a normal rhythm, ritual can be key. Pick a consistent time and place, somewhere you enjoy but can also focus: A nearby park bench, a favorite coffee shop, a chair by the window in your apartment. Pick a time and place and form a new ritual with God.

Don’t Rush

The secret of Mary’s “pondering” is that she was attentive to what was going on beneath the surface of her life. Journaling is not a rushed exercise to squeeze into a five minute window. For it to have formative power, it requires slowing down, waiting, and pondering.

Often there are also things going on in our lives ‘under the surface’ which only come to our attention when we take time to ‘give voice’ to and process what we are experiencing in our bodies and hearts. This is the real genius of journaling and the crucial distinction from keeping a diary. A diary is a record of the events of life. Journaling goes deeper, affording us an opportunity to be ‘naked’ before God, and in so doing leads us into a healthy process of self-awareness and reflection.


Writing can easily just be writing, what matters is the orientation of our hearts. As you begin to journal, make a personal address to God. Choose a name for God that feels appropriate for this week. It could be “Dear God, Loving Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Lord,” or anything that feels like an honest, personal address to you.

You may also want to add the date to the top of the page. This is a record of your walk with Jesus.


Look back over the last week in God’s presence. Ask him to help you remember what he wants you to ponder. Begin with 7 days prior and retrace the steps of your last week with God. Remember the words He’s spoken and the prayers you’ve prayed. Remember the week and the people and events that filled it. You might find it helpful to reflect on your week in terms of ‘gratitude and grief’ - what were the treasures of the week that brought you life and joy and what were the things that caused you pain?


Empty your heart to God. This is not an essay, and you won’t be graded. It’s a letter to the God who knows your heart, who knows the words you are going to speak before you open your mouth, who knows you better than you know yourself.

Tell God the things that are on your heart and weighing on your mind. It may be a mixture of pondering future decisions, asking for wisdom, off-loading negative thought patterns, expressing worship, processing, or praying for some important issues.

Some parts of what you write may feel like random and spontaneous thoughts, and other parts may contain devotional or even theological musings. Artistic licence is a fundamental principle of journaling. Diagrams, doodles, and even bad spelling are all allowed!


End each journal entry with what you want to remember as you go into another week. Close by writing the word “Amen,” and resting. The God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6), so you can enjoy the weekend resting in the assurance that God will continue to work toward salvation, healing, redemption, and wholeness in your life. Your work is only to remain in intimate relationship with your Redeemer.

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