Seven steps on how to grow closer to God through journaling.
  1.     Find a comfortable spot.

Especially as you begin journaling, this really matters. Find a place and time that will let you relax and dive-in, ideally free from distractions or interruptions.

  1.     Pray!

If beginning to journal is a daunting task for you, pray before you start. Ask for God’s assistance and that the Holy Spirit may reveal whatever He desires in this prayerful journaling exercise.

  1.     Determine an audience.

How are you going to write your journal? What feels best to you? Some people like to write using the first person:

“Today, I visited a different church for Mass and a painting near the door completely took me by surprise. This depiction of Jesus healing the man born blind completely struck me…I totally could see myself in the man Jesus was healing.”

Another option is to write directly to God, or one of the persons of the Trinity, as in prayer:

“Father, I thank you for the blessing of this day and the many ways you have shown up today. I don’t know why I’ve been feeling so distant from you this past week—why prayer has felt so dry. Help me to see you in the small moments, and strengthen me to be your presence in the world today.”

  1.     Don’t stress about a format.

Don’t stress about a format. What works best for you, and is most comfortable? Feel free to mix in bullet points, bible verses or spiritual writing quotes, or to write in complete paragraphs if you so desire. There are no rules!

  1.     It doesn’t have to be long.

Especially when developing the practice of journaling, do not feel the need to make a journaling session long and lengthy. Jot down your thoughts and keep your expectations achievable as you get started. 

  1.     Journaling is only for your eyes.

Don’t write as if someone may be reading what you write, especially if this puts undue pressure on you. These are your thoughts and your opportunity to process. It can be as messy as you need it to be. Journaling in the Christian spiritual life is to foster and grow your relationship with God. This is a free space to express yourself without worries of what someone else may think. It need only be as polished as makes you happy.

  1.     Use journaling prompts!

Journaling prompts are often a great way to get the writing juices flowing. There are endless prompts online, but we love our pilgrim-centric prompts here!

Pre-Pilgrimage Journaling Questions:

Why did you decide to go on pilgrimage?

Why do you think God has provided this opportunity for you at this point in your life?

What site holds a special significance in your heart and is a place you hope to encounter Christ? Why is this site important to you?

What area of your life do you hope to gain greater clarity on during this trip?

What may God be asking you to leave behind (work, busyness, stress)?

In what ways has God answered prayers or provided for you leading up to this pilgrimage?

What may God want to revive in you during this time?

When was the last time you faced adversity in your life? How did you sense God working during that time?

Are there areas in your spiritual life that you’re only doing because others have told you to, or for appearances? How may God be asking you to let go of some areas?

When have you experienced disappointment lately? How may God be asking you to renew hope in Him?

Is there an area of life you’ve been keeping from God? What would it take to surrender that to Him?

Are there any fears that have surfaced regarding the pilgrimage?

What is the state of your prayer life currently? Have you experienced periods of particular fruitfulness or dryness?

Is there a bible verse, prayer, a devotion that you have been returning to as you prepare for pilgrimage?

 

 

Listen to our Podcast, In Via: Navigating the Pilgrimage of Life, hosted by Joan Watson on Apple Music, Spotify, or on our website.

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