Reflections on A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor

imageFlannery O’Connor was an American writer of the twentieth century. A writer who was mainly known for her short stories, O’Connor was a devout Roman Catholic whose personal journal titled A Prayer Journal was published posthumously two years ago. She died from lupus at the age of thirty-nine, nine years later than what the doctors expected. God gave her fourteen years to live after the initial diagnosis (I cannot help but think that like Hezekiah in the Bible, she was given more years to do the Lord’s work). During her young adult life, O’Connor penned some poignant words to God. Intimacy is what O’Connor desired most and it was evident in her writing. Knowing that apart from God, she could do nothing, she desired a closer walk with God. She said, “Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon…” O’Connor continues writing,”I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside…”image

Over two years ago I read O’Connor’s journal and her words impacted me greatly. The sincerity of her heart blew me away. As a Christian writer, O’Connor wanted her beliefs to permeate her writing. She worried about losing her faith, about “intellectual quackery” swaying her mind. She realized that the fear of Hell is no valid reason to become a Christian. Loving God, she believed, should be the primary reason for coming to Jesus. O’Connor recognized that “Prayers should be composed…of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication.” Never viewing her vocation separately from her faith in Jesus, she wanted God to help her with every aspect of her life. She could not have fathomed that more than fifty years after her death, her words would continue to reverberate throughout the world.

In the spirit of Christ exemplified by O’Connor, let’s pray. Jesus, forgive me for my recent sins. Search me and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties, and if there is any wicked may in me, lead me in the way everlasting ( Psalm 139:23).  Lord Jesus, help me to put all of my trust in you. Help me to draw near to you and recognize your greatness. Help me to lay aside every weight that keeps me from serving you. Give me the grace and mercy to carry out your will and to spend time everyday reading your word, talking to you, and listening to your instructions that are specific to my life. Help me to praise your name, and to tell others about you. Help me to be humble, and to  recognize that everything I have (my health, my intellect, my possessions, etc.) comes from you. You are the “Rock of my Salvation” and you cover me with your love. I praise you with my entire being, and I thank you for all the grace and mercy that you have bestowed upon me. For there is no other God, but you. I thank you for hearing and answering my prayers. I thank you that your spirit is drawing me closer to you and that You will have the preeminence in my life. I thank you that you will help me to not be too busy for you. I thank you that your Holy Spirit will continuously fill me and refresh me. Have your way in me. I ask all of these blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please read A Prayer Journal. You will be blessed and inspired to seek God’s face, and have Him use you in everything that you do. You might have a lasting impact on many lives to come. Take heed!

For further reflection and encouragement, read Colossians 1 and Psalm 139.

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