Periodically, I take time to reflect back on my prayer journals from previous weeks and months. I find it a worthwhile exercise that helps me stay focused in prayer and my faith.
Looking back is a natural way to stay honest and discerning. Looking back is not always easy to do as it sometime reveals sinful habits and hardness of heart. Yet, looking back is a way to see God’s action in our lives and recognize the role of the Holy Spirit in our day to day actions and happenings. Looking back offers us the opportunity to express gratitude as well as contrition. Looking back provides the occasion to reflect on where we have been and points us to where God is leading us.
During my latest reflection, I came across an entry that told of a deeply heartfelt prayer that I had been bringing to God. As I read my words, I felt again the intense plea and pain that came with that prayer. And, now recognizing that that prayer was indeed answered, although not the exact way I was asking for, I could rejoice. I also came across my writing about a difficult situation. Upon reflection, I realized that nothing had actually changed in the situation, but my heart and my attitude had. Another rereading of my prayer journal helped strengthen and bolster my excitement and joy for my vocation.
So, whether it is taking stock of blessings or sorrows, prayers answered or changes of heart it is a real blessing to spend time looking back.