Journalling is meditative writing. Spirit and body cooperate to release our true selves.

(Jacqueline Bergan, Marie Schwan).

AIM: To encourage us to recognise and build on our reflective skills as tools for purposeful, intentional living which includes journalling.

Our Intentions

To enable participants to

  • Become more aware of their own reflective skills and of how to use these more effectively.

  • Become aware of the use of a journal both for prayer and reflecting on prayer;

  • Begin to use a journal as a tool for reflection, both in the session and later.

Welcome and Stilling

Reflection Groups (small groups)

  • What did you use for prayer last week, and how did you find it?

  • What questions, if any, did it raise for you?

  • Feedback

Journalling and Reflective Living

  • Introduction to Journalling (Input)

  • Ideas to get started

  • An activity, using one of the suggestions below

  • Small group and plenary feedback


Journalling and Prayer

  • Introduction (Input)

  • Reviewing prayer

  • Reviewing daily life and an aid to personal growth

  • Exploring thoughts, feelings, challenges

  • Resource base for prayer and reflection

A prayer activity (See overleaf)

How was the experience? Word / phrase / short sentence!


  1. Led review of the evening (Weekly Journalling)

  2. Home-time

  3. Stilling music (repeat)

Link: Music (O God You Search Me, Bernadette Farrell)

  1. O God, you search me and you know me.
    All my thoughts lie open to your gaze.
    When I walk or lie down you are before me:
    Ever the maker and keeper of my days.
  2. You know my resting and my rising.
    You discern my purpose from afar,
    And with love everlasting you besiege me:
    In every moment of life or death, you are.
  3. Before a word is on my tongue, Lord,
    You have known its meaning through and through.
    You are with me beyond my understanding:
    God of my present, my past and future too.
  4. Although your Spirit is upon me,
    Still I search for shelter from your light.
    There is nowhere on earth I can escape you:
    Even the darkness is radiant in your sight.
  5. For you created me and shaped me,
    Gave me life within my mother’s womb.
    For the wonder of who I am I praise you:
    Safe in your hands all creation is made new.

(Bernadette Farrell)

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive

Where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown,

Remembered gate…

Is that which was

the beginning.

Ideas to get started

  • Intersections: Roads Taken or Not Taken

  • A particular chapter in your life

  • A significant conversation or experience that had a deep and lasting impact on you.

  • A recent dream

An Activity

Choose one of the ideas above to work with. Read the questions below and see which you are drawn to explore (You could perhaps continue this at home this week).

  1. During this time, were there any significant events or relationships that had an inner importance to you and influenced how your life is unfolding?

  2. Did you let go of anything? What was the impact of that?

  3. Were there any activities that became a focus for you in a way that had inner meaning for you?

  4. Were there any major changes to your life circumstances?

  5. Was this a time when unexpected events took place in your life? If so, what were these?

  6. Looking back now, what was your sense of your relationship with God at that time?

  7. During this period of your life did you come to a crossroads that affected your future?

( adapted from Ira Progoff, At a Journal Workshop, pp.96-99)

  • is for you and you alone

  • can be used to review your prayer

  • can be used to prayerfully review a session of the GPRL course

  • can be used to explore thoughts, feelings and challenges

  • can be used to gather meaningful pictures, poems and quotations, extracts from books etc. for prayer and reflection

  • Write a letter to God

  • Write a conversation between you and Jesus or between you and another biblical character

  • Write an answer to a question, e.g. “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) or “Why are you weeping?” (John 20:15)

  • Dialogue with an event or an experience.

  1. This week I was most blessed by…
  2. My favourite passage of Scripture is…
  3. The area where I need to put more trust in God is…
  4. One lesson I learned from Scripture this week is …
  5. An aspect of God’s character he recently revealed to me is…
  6. I find I feel God’s presence most when….
  7. God is leading me to make the following changes…
  8. An act of obedience God is prompting me to take is…
  9. My enthusiasm for the gospel is increased when…
  10. Sometimes I get angry with God about …
  11. I feel most distant from God when….
  12. My calling in life is …
  13. My spiritual gifts are …
  14. What brings me the most joy in life is …
  15. I’m eager for God to…
  16. Three ways I want God to transform me are …
  17. An area of my spiritual life where I need to seek God’s guidance is …
  18. Journalling has helped my spiritual formation by …
  19. The most significant area of my life that is not finding its way into my journal is …
  20. Two ways I can apply the gospel to my life are…


“People become sensitive to the elusive threads of their inner lives when they have a definite way of working with them.”

(Ira Progoff)

  1. What did I notice? (Feelings, reactions, intuitions, desires, emotions, thoughts, insights)

  2. What was the prevailing mood of my prayer? (Peace, agitation, excitement, boredom, confusion, calm).

  3. Was my prayer more about the head or the heart, or both?

  4. What word, phrase, image, or memory meant most to me during prayer?

  5. Is there some unfinished business that I think God is calling me to return to during another time of prayer?

  6. Is there something in my life that is becoming part of my prayer? Do I feel moved to do something concrete in my life?

Use the phrase:

What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

Listen to Jesus asking you the question. Sit with the question and then journal freely. Note how you feel as you write . .. and also when you read what you have written. Record these feelings when you have finished.

(To be continued at home)

Using your journal:

  1. Carry through the week with you either or both of the quotations about journaling at the top of each page. Perhaps journal about one of them.

  2. Complete any unfinished parts of the activities that we began in the session, as you are ‘drawn’ including the journaling and prayer activity.

  3. Think about how you might organise a journal for yourself while you are doing the course.

LINK: Prayer activity – Jesus and St Menas “What do you want me to do for you?” – Mark 10:51