Let me set up a common scenario in my life. I sit down to pray to God, whether it is before or during Mass, during Adoration, or just in my spare time. I find myself starting really strong and then my mind wanders. I coo over the cute baby five pews behind me. I plan out what work I am going to be doing later that night. I wonder what on earth was I thinking when I answered that question in class. I try to figure out what I’m going to wear tomorrow.
Let’s just say I get distracted easily.
Does this sound familiar?
I always catch myself, and then I mentally smack myself across the face. Why do I always do that? Why can’t I devote 10 minutes out of my day to my Lord and Savior?
I started to realize that I needed a more focused way to pray. On a whim one day, I wrote a letter to God in a journal.
I know what you are thinking… a letter? Really? I am completely serious. In fact, I liked this idea so much that I started doing it all the time. I begin each letter with a different salutation. Examples include: Dear Lord, Hello Jesus, Dear Prince of Peace, Greetings to heaven from Earth… and there are plenty more where those came from.
As silly as this might sound, I found that this was my secret to great prayer time. I have always adored letter writing, so it only makes sense to write letters to my Creator!
I write out what I’m thinking and want to say to Christ. While my mind is working, my hand is moving. My earthly cursive flows into a beautiful conversation with the Divine. Christ, who loves us more than we can imagine, yearns for conversation with us. So, what does it matter if that conversation is in your head or on pretty journal paper?
My correspondence with Christ didn’t end there! I also love the saints. I keep up with their feast days, and I get overly excited when it is one of my favorite saints’ feast day. Feast days are like mini celebrations! Who wouldn’t want more excuses for celebrations? They are like Catholic Holidays! … Do you know where this is going?
I started writing letters to the saints that hold a special place in my heart and I began asking them for intercession daily. Dear St. Monica, Dear St. Joseph, Dear St. Therese of Lisieux, Dear St. Louis de Montfort… the list goes on and on.
Don’t worry, I have started to write letters to Mary also. (Those greetings are interesting… Dear Mama Mary, Dear Mother Most Pure, Hi Mom)
The point is that we live in such a fast-paced world. A tweet, Facebook post, or text can be sent in seconds. It makes perfect sense that when we actually sit down to pray, it is a real temptation to become distracted. But when you are writing with a physical pen and paper, you are completely devoted to the task before you. It is just you and the heavenly letter recipient in a dialogue. How insanely cool is that?
This somewhat eccentric way of praying encouraged me to start journaling regularly. I highly recommend journaling to all. It helps clear the mind, organize thoughts, ponder questions, and reflect upon this awesome life that God gave you! Also, you will have a personal record of your life. It is so cool to look back and tangibly see how much you have grown through the written word.
So next time you are trying to pray, and the words are not flowing, the thoughts are lacking, or the Hail Mary’s are meshing together… write a letter. The postage is free, and the delivery is instantaneous.
Editor’s Note: “In My Own Words” is a section of blogs on LifeTeen.com that contains submissions from our readers. If you love reading LifeTeen.com and want to contribute a blog about how you, as a teen, live out your Catholic Faith in your life, feel free to email your submission to Christina [email protected] Please keep submissions under 750 words.