Part 3 in an ongoing series based on Jen's Enchanted 15 workshop.
Last October and November I had a practice I called Port Therapy. The germ of the idea started when I realized that I wasn't visiting Franciscan's perpetual adoration chapel at all because I didn't have time in my schedule for a full holy hour. So I told myself, "Fine, you don't have a 60-minute chunk. Do you have a 10-minute chunk?" It turns out I did, and 5 days a week I would spend 10 minutes of my morning in the chapel. (Adding up to almost a full holy hour per week.)
The beginning of the practice corresponded with a rather difficult period in my life. So I told God my terms: I was going to show up in the chapel and I was going to sit there for 10 minutes. I did not guarantee that I would pray. I just sat there and let my body and my thoughts do whatever they wanted. I usually ended up facedown and crying (my body is funny like that), but my thoughts went everywhere. Sometimes I did pray. Sometimes I felt something. Sometimes I just sat and fidgeted for 10 minutes and then walked away feeling nothing.
But I showed up, and it was those 10 minutes a day that kept me sane and kept me in the habit of putting myself in a place where God could speak to me if He wanted to.
So far I've been kind of lame at actually doing the Enchanted 15. Interestingly, the one time I did it I wrote for 20 minutes because once I started I didn't want to stop. Still, I've been justifying not setting that timer on the grounds that I don't feel like writing.
Well, nine months ago I didn't feel like praying, but I still showed up. Maybe that's what I need to tell myself--that if I have to I can spend 15 minutes a day sitting in front of a blank Word document. Maybe something will come, maybe it won't, but I need that habit of showing up and putting myself in a place where God can speak to me if He wants to.
You see, writing is prayer. For the last several years I've kept a prayer journal off and on (I'm more off than on lately) and it was some of the best prayer that I've ever had. I didn't always have something that I felt like writing. In fact, I didn't often have something that I felt like writing. When I didn't have any ideas of my own I would read a Psalm and write whatever came to me from that. My journal has a lot of paraphrased Psalms in it; it also has a lot of entries where a word or phrase or image would spark something and I would be off.
So, I've given myself an assignment for this week: Get out my prayer journal and my Bible. Read Psalm 1. Read it carefully. Spend as much time as I possibly can just soaking it in. Then spend 15 minutes writing.
Image credit: The photo is one of my own that I happened to have lying about (taken about a year ago to demonstrate that I hold my pencil funny), but inspired by the header of Jen's series.