Journaling prayer, David style.

The other year, Meg wondered about journaling prayer. I think it’s a great question. I think that sometimes, David prayed with a pen.  The book of Psalms includes some of those prayers. They reflect honesty and vulnerability. They aren’t pretty or polite.

But neither is good conversation.

1. With a loud frustrated voice.

I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble. (Psalm 142:1-2)

2. With an honest desire for vengeance.

They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.
Rise up, LORD, confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
By your hand save me from such people, LORD,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
may their children gorge themselves on it,
and may there be leftovers for their little ones. (Psalm 17:12-14)

3. To an empty chair.

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:9-10)

4. Asking for forgiveness.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1-2)

5. With a sense of commitment.

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;  you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;  surely I have a delightful inheritance.  I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:5-7)


For a journal of some of my prayer, see “God. We Need You”: A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel.